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Tour de France Stage 8 Betting Preview

Cannondale rode Stage 7 to absolute perfection, dropping the likes of Cavendish and Greipel, then delivering Peter Sagan to the ideal position to take his first stage win of the race. In the process, it gave us a fourth stage winner in seven stages.

However, Stage 8 is where the Tour really starts to pick up as the riders head into the Pyrenees for the first of the mountain stages. For the first 130km, the peloton meanders from Castres over a small category four climb before the first true test of the Tour – the Col de Pailheres at 2,001m. After this ascent, they descend down to 768m before the final climb to Ax 3 Domaines finishing at 1,375m.

Tour de France Stage 8

Before we start looking at the contenders for the stage, we need to look at the climbs in a little more detail. From the start of the first climb at Axat, the riders ascend 1,575m along 35km. The start is a very gentle section and it doesn’t really start to kick up until just after Usson Les Bains where it goes up to around 9.5%. There is a short section at 11.1% around half way up, but the final section is the real killer with around 1.5km at 10% and 0.5km at 12%. The second climb to Ax 3 Domaines is only around 10km, but it has a nasty 10.5% section in the middle.

This will likely be a stage where Team Sky will dominate. We have seen so many times over the past year or so how they set an unrelenting pace on the front of the group and simply shed all their rivals. Rather than expending energy chasing any attacks off the front, they just keep the pace up and reel them back in. It will also shed any riders that cannot sustain such a relentless pace leaving a pretty select group come the end of the stage.

If they stick with their usual tactics, we should see Boasson Hagen, Kiryienka and Lopez setting the pace into the early section of the climb, followed by Peter Kennaugh, then Richie Porte, eventually leaving Chris Froome to do his thing at the end of the final climb. It may not be exciting viewing, but it is awesomely effective.

Saxo-Tinkoff will also be at the front in force one would imagine for Alberto Contador. In Roche, Rogers and Kreuziger, he has plenty of strong teammates now the race has entered the mountains and it would be a surprise were they to struggle in this stage.

Garmin have plenty of options, but they potentially have quite a dilemma. Ryder Hesjedal is riding with a broken rib, so if he struggles in this stage, they must decide whether to use domestiques to help him or whether they concentrate on either Andrew Talansky or Dan Martin. Especially given that they have already lost Christian Vande Velde through injury, they cannot afford to make the wrong decision.

Movistar have Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana, but a lot will depend on how Quintana is feeling having gone down three times in the last two stages. If he is feeling well, it would be a surprise to see him dropped, but I would not be surprised were Valverde to disappear before the end.

Stage 8 should be a battle between Chris Froome and Alberto Contador

Joaquim Rodriguez has been quiet so far, but has kept himself out of trouble and he should have no real issues with this climb, while BMC will be hoping that they can keep at least one of either Cadel Evans or Tejay van Garderen in the leading group for as long as possible.

One interesting name to keep an eye on will be Andy Schleck. If he is anywhere close to his peak, he should not be dropped here, but it will be very interesting to see where he finishes.

So, I would expect to see a very elite group come the end of the stage. The likely names include Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and probably some of Cadel Evans, Tejay van Garderen, Nairo Quintana, Dan Martin and Richie Porte. Unlikely, but not surprising, names that could find themselves involved are the likes of Bauke Mollema and Jakob Fulgsang, plus possible the two Euskaltel riders, Igor Anton and Mikel Nieve.

It would be no surprise should one or two other riders attack on the first climb in a bid to collect the mountain classification points, but I would be very surprised if they were able to stay away. Obvious contenders here are the likes of Pierre Rolland, Thomas Voeckler, Thomas de Gendt, Thibaut Pinot, Simon Clarke and Rein Taaramae.

So, my prediction is that Chris Froome will win this. The only thing to bear in mind though is whether Sky will want their man in yellow this early in the Tour. However, they have shown before that they can defend it over a long period, so I suspect they may want to strike the early blow.


1. Froome
2. Contador
3. Rodriguez
4. Martin
5. Evans

Recommended Bets

1pt Chris Froome @ 11/4 (Sky Bet)
0.25pt Mikel Nieve @ 40/1 (Sky Bet)
0.25pt Rein Taaramae @ 200/1 (Bet Victor)

Recommended Match Bets

5pt Alberto Contador to beat Alejandro Valverde @ Evens (Paddy Power)
3pt Joaquim Rodriguez to beat Alejandro Valverde @ 2.11 (Pinnacle)

1 comment:

  1. Taaramae in awful form .... waste of 0.25 pts.


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