The Tour Down Under may not be the most prestigious stage race in cycling, but it’s a great way to kick off the season. Riders leave the cold European winter for the sweltering Australian heat to compete in the first Union Cycliste Internationale World Tour of the year.
The week-long race spans six stages, starting January 17th and ending on the 22nd. It’s a great way to gauge early-season fitness and most teams use the event to iron out the kinks before the bigger races later in the year.
However, one group that takes this race very seriously are the Australians. And the tour favorites are littered with Aussie riders because of it. Here are the odds!
Odds To Win The 2017 Tour Down Under:
Richie Porte: 7/4
The Australian spent a good portion of his career riding in the shadow of Chris Froome at Team Sky. But in 2016, he decided to make the leap to Team BMC in order to ride for himself. The season didn’t go according to plan but he did manage to place second overall in the 2016 Tour Down Under.
He’s back this year and looking to start the season on a high note.
Sergio Henao: 4/1
Henao has the backing of Team Sky at this year’s Tour Down Under. That alone already makes him a hot contender. As someone more accustomed to riding in support of his teammates at Team Sky, it would be a huge win for him.
The Colombian finished third in 2016 and is a favorite to win this year.
Esteban Chaves: 8/1
Esteban Chaves co-heads the Australian team Orica-Scott this year at the Tour Down Under. The young Colombian had a breakout year in 2016, finishing second at the Giro d’Italia and third at the Vuelta a Espana. This tour means a great deal to Orica-Scott and they’ve picked Chaves to lead the team along with Simon Gerrans.
Simon Gerrans: 8/1
Simon Gerrans is the defending champion and four-time Tour Down Under winner. He’s won it more times than anyone else and will be looking for the first back-to-back victory in the tour’s history.
But Gerrans is currently making way for the younger crop of riders at Orica-Scott and may eventually have to take a backseat to Chaves.
Peter Sagan: 20/1
The current world champion is kicking off the season with his new team, Bora-Hansgrohe. And anytime Sagan is involved, he’s got a real shot at winning it. But first he will need to get used to riding with a new set of teammates. Also, the hilly terrain may prove difficult for the young Slovenian sprinter.
Photo credit: “Esteban Chaves” by Wessel Blokzijl, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.