This always looked like a breakaway stage, writes Jack Houghton, but now he's not so sure, reckoning the sprint teams will guarantee a bunch finish
"As far as a bunch finish can ever look effortless, it did for Groenewegen in the finish to Chalon-sur-Saône…"
What's the stage like?
When the route for this Tour was announced last October, Stage 10 immediately looked like a breakaway day. Coming before the first rest day, it looked likely that the GC contenders would be happy to have an easy day in the saddle, with all the chasing then left to the sprint teams, who might struggle to deliver their man to the bunch finish given the lumps and bumps along the way.
The problem with that theory is that the main contenders decided Stage 9 was going to be their day to sit-up and take things easy, so it's less likely they'll do the same here.
Expect this 217.5km from Saint-Flour to Albi to be ridden at a more purposeful pace, then, with the sprint teams keeping the breakaway close enough to the main peloton so that they can be swept up inside the final 10km. Not that the task will be easy for the big sprinters: four categorised climbs and an undulating route that spends a long time at around 1,000m elevation will be tough on the legs.
Who are the favourites?
Dylan Groenewegen showed on Stage 7 that, now over the effects of his crash earlier in the Tour, he is the sprinter to beat. As far as a bunch finish can ever look effortless, it did for him in the finish to Chalon-sur-Saône and, even though there is a slight climb up to the line in the last few hundred metres after riders cross the town-centre bridge on this stage, he is the most likely winner at around [3.25].
Who are the most likely outsiders?
There is the possibility of a breakaway win, in which case it's anyone's guess, but assuming the sprinters all reach the end, the slightly more difficult finish than that seen on Stage 7 gives the likes of Caleb Ewan ([4.0]), Peter Sagan ([6.0]), Sonny Colbrelli ([20.00]), and Giacomo Nizzolo ([30.00]) a chance to challenge Groenewegen.
It's the Dutch rider who is the call, though. His team has been ruthlessly strong on the Tour so far and will do all they can to deliver Groenewegen to the stage end ready for him to deliver.
What effect will the stage have on the overall markets?
It's another day of waiting in the competition for the Yellow Jersey. We learnt on La Planche des Belles Filles that Julian Alaphilippe, Thibaut Pinot and Geraint Thomas look like the strongest riders so far, but there are a few other riders whose quietness to this point is ominous. In the Green Jersey, Peter Sagan, already a [1.10] shot to keep it all the way to Paris, will look to extend his lead further before the race enters the mountains proper.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
Back Dylan Groenewegen @ 3.25