Bookies aren’t looking past Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck ahead of the Tour de France, which gets under way on Saturday. The former, champion in 2009 and 2010, is just 8/11 with Coral to make three-in-a-row although he can expect a strong challenge from Schleck (11/5, ) whose bid a year ago was badly hampered in controversial circumstances as Contador capitalised on the Leopard Trek rider’s slipped chain during Stage 15.
In the betting without the Spaniard, Schleck is 8/13 courtesy of Paddy Power but he’ll be desperate for revenge after last year’s incident and won’t be content with another second place. The Luxembourgish second favourite’s main hopes are that his rival is either distracted by his ongoing Clenbuterol case or fatigued after his impressive Giro d’Italia success but the form is with Contador in what is considered by many to be a two-horse race given that Cadel Evans is next in the betting at a chunky 25/1 (Stan James).
Elsewhere, bet365 quote Contador at 3/1 to be the ‘King of the Mountains’ but he doesn’t tend to win many stages and a better bet in that department is Betfred’s 33/1 shot John Gadret. As low as 14s in places, the Frenchman will fancy his chances after his fourth in the Giro.
Meanwhile, in the betting without the ‘big two’, Dutchman Robert Gesink is an enticing 11/2 at Paddy Power but there’s some value in a flutter on Chris Horner. The American finished tenth in 2010 but has been in good form this year, winning the Tour of California and the talented climber has a strong team around him. He’s worth an each-way punt at 28/1 with 888Sport, who offer two places in that market or, as a slightly more attractive alternative, three places are available at Boylesports, albeit at a slightly reduced 20/1.
Alberto Contador to win the Tour de France – 8/11 (Coral)
John Gadret to be ‘King of the Mountains’ – 33/1 (Betfred)
Chris Horner e/w (3 places, ¼ odds) in the betting without the ‘big two’ – 20/1 (Boylesports)