Arnaud Demare is looking hard to beat, writes Jack Houghton, but at short odds, the value is to trust in Viviani
"There hasn’t been a stage as easy as this one yet, which has meant that several of the other fastmen on previous stages have been ridden out of contention before it has come to the bunch sprint. This stage is their chance..."
What's the stage like?
Dropping over 300m in altitude across its 143km, this short, fast stage is almost featureless. There are a few sharp turns as the stage reaches Brindisi, but the last 1.2km is on a long, flat and straight avenue, and it's hard to envisage a scenario where the sprint teams won't dominate.
Who are the favourites?
Given that Arnaud Demare managed to win on Stage 6, when the route was not in his favour, it's no surprise that he is around 2.3811/8 to win again here. He has been the best sprinter post-lockdown, and looks to be in sparkling form. He is the most likely winner, but whether those odds represent value or not is questionable.
There hasn't been a stage as easy as this one yet, which has meant that several of the other fastmen on previous stages have been ridden out of contention before it has come to the bunch sprint. This stage is their chance.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
Fernando Gaviria (4.003/1) is the most obvious counter-choice. His form hasn't been far off Demare's in recent weeks, and whilst he's spent all of this Giro languishing at its rear, and spent some time on the deck too, he will recognise today as his best chance of taking a stage.
Peter Sagan (9.008/1) will no doubt be towards the front, but will probably find a few that bit quick, including the likes of Elia Viviani (11.0010/1), who had a dismal Tour de France, but who seems - if his 5th place on Stage 4 is anything to go by - to be coming into form.
Alvaro Hodeg (14.0013/1), an up-and-coming young rider who has yet to show much outside of more minor races, is nonetheless interesting. Whether he quite has the muscle to take on and beat these sprinters, though, is doubtful, but he looks to have the talent to spring a surprise someday.
Arnaud Demare will be hard to beat, but Elia Viviani is the value choice.
What effect will it have on the overall market?
Unless some calamity befalls the General Classification guys, this is all about the Points Classification and the ongoing battle between Peter Sagan and Arnaud Demare.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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Back Elia Viviani @ 11.0010/1