- The odds for the 2019 Tour de France are out at Bovada.
- Sky teammates Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas lead the pack.
- Can Tom Dumoulin break Sky’s deathgrip on the Yellow Jersey?
Geraint Thomas shocked the cycling world in 2018 when he captured his first Tour de France General Classification, besting teammate and three-time defending champion Chris Froome (3rd), who was undertaking the gruelling Giro D’Italia/Tour de France double.
The early odds for the 2019 Tour (July 6 – July 28) have the Sky teammates first and second, with Froome slightly favored to take back his place atop the TDF mountain.
The other major contender is last year’s runner-up, Tom Dumoulin. The Belgian big-man finished 1:51 behind Thomas last year. He also finished runner-up to Froome at the 2018 Giro, a race he won in 2017 for his first Grand Tour title.
2019 Tour de France Favorites & Odds
|RIDER (TEAM)||ODDS AT BOVADA||BEST PREVIOUS FINISH|
|Chris Froome (Sky)||+200||1st (2013, 2015-17)|
|Geraint Thomas (Sky)||+275||1st (2018)|
|Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)||+300||2nd (2018)|
|Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo)||+600||4th (2018)|
|Richie Porte (BMC)||+750||5th (2016)|
|Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)||+1600||7th (2017)|
|Egan Bernal (Sky)||+2000||15th (2018)|
|Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)||+2000||1st (2014)|
|Nairo Quintana (Movistar)||+2500||2nd (2013, 2015)|
|Romain Bardet (AG2R)||+3300||2nd (2016)|
Froome is the Best Bet
Team Sky has won four straight Tours and six of the last seven. Winning cycling’s biggest race is always their main goal for the season. Betting on a non-Sky rider to win the Yellow Jersey means betting on a changing of the guard, and that’s not a smart bet at the prices listed above.
So is Froome or Thomas the better option?
The main reason Froome isn’t a prohibitive favorite is because Sky has yet to announce the team’s specific plans for the 2019 edition. Will Geraint Thomas try to defend his title or will getting Froome his record-tying fifth Yellow Jersey be the focus?
Froome did admirable work for Thomas at last year’s race. The most likely approach for Sky next year is that Froome goes back to team leader while Thomas is his top lieutenant/the team’s fall-back plan should Froome crash. Even in the 2018 race, Froome was Sky’s favored son until it became wholly, abundantly clear that Thomas was their best chance to win the race. A recent story on Thomas by The Guardian’s Donald McRae sheds light on Sky’s dynamics.
“Thomas recalls how, before the team time trial, he was told he would be left by the other riders if he endured a puncture or a crash. Only Froome, trailing Thomas by 52 seconds after two stages, would be protected.” — Donald McRae, The Guardian
At this time last year, Froome was shorter than even money to win the 2018 TDF. He remains the best Grand Tour rider in the world. If he hadn’t crushed his body by riding the 2018 Giro ahead of the 2018 Tour, he’d likely already have his fifth Yellow Jersey on the wall. This is the most value there has been on Froome in years.
The Route Won’t Be an Issue for Sky
The route for 2019 only includes 27 km of individual time trialing. That’s helpful for riders like Yates, Bardet, and Quintana, who always drop time to the Froomes and Dumoulins of the world on ITTs. But the route still has plenty of arduous climbs, as always, and given how strong Sky are in the mountains, the route is still favorable to the British behemoth.
The lack of time trialing is actually somewhat helpful for Sky. The best chance Dumoulin, the 2017 Time Trial World Champion, will have to gain time on Froome and Thomas will be in the ITT. While he proved last year that he can hang with the climbers on the steepest pitches, riding away from them is something else entirely.