Cycling odds for the Tour de France have been rocked by the departures of Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, and current champion Chris Froome. Team Sky’s Richie Porte -who was the Cal Naughton, Jr. to Froome’s Ricky Bobby last year- now has the chance to take on a more leading role, though he’s still only second favorite behind Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Team Astana.
Odds to win 2014 Tour de France
(Name - team - country - odds)
1. Vincenzo Nibali - Astana - Italy - 1/5
2. Richie Porte - Sky - Australia - 13/2
3. Alejandro Valverde - Movistar - Spain - 18/1
4. Tejay Van Garderen - BMC - USA - 33/1
5. Thibaut Pinot - FDJ - France - 50/1
6. Romain Bardet - Ag2r-La Mondiale - France - 66/1
7. Jean-Christophe Peraud - Ag2r-La Mondiale- France - 66/1
8. Rui Costa - Lampre-Merida - Portugal - 125/1
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck - Lotto-Belisol - Belgium - 125/1
10. Bauke Mollema - Belkin Pro Cycling - Netherlands - 125/1
It is almost needless to say that cycling betting odds are affected by external factors such wind, rain, and crashes, which have forced several top contenders to withdraw from the race. This has allowed Nibaldi to take the lead in oddsmakers’ predictions as well as in the Tour standings, where he has a 00:02:23 advantage over Porte (to put the difference that a few seconds can make in perspective, consider that Alejandro Valverde is only 24 seconds behind Porte, but his odds give him only an outside chance to win). That’s not to say that Nibaldi isn’t a very skilled rider; in fact he finished 3rd in the 2012 Tour and won the 2013 Giro d’Italia. However, the upgrade has probably been very welcome.
Porte has similarly benefited from the loss of teammates Froome and Xabier Zandio, but with great power comes great responsibility. Porte now has to prove his mousy worth in mountainous domains such as the Alps and the Pyrenees, a setting that Nibaldi has lorded over so far. Despite Porte’s improved chances, the race looks to be Nibali’s to win -barring any unforeseen event, that is. Then again, this Tour has been chock full of unforeseen events.