Tour de France Stage 11 Tips: Sagan and Viviani can topple top duo

Elia Viviani at Tour de France
Elia Viviani is showing improved form and can cause a minor shock on Stage 11

Sam Bennett and Caleb Ewan are rightful favourites, writes Jack Houghton, but the value is likely elsewhere.

What's the stage like?

With all teams surviving the rest-day Covid-19 test - just - the Tour continues with the most benign day of the race.

Another short stage, at just 167km, it's flat, with just one Category 4 climb at the midpoint of no consequence. The route is sheltered, so there is little chance of the crosswinds which have enlivened previous stages either.

In short, it's almost inevitable that this will end in a bunch sprint; however, the finish is trickier than that on Stage 10. Whilst it's similarly flat, there are three sharp turns in the last 5km that are likely to see some high profile sprinters shuffled back and out of contention.

Who are the favourites?

Sam Bennett (3.259/4) and Caleb Ewan (3.40) are the most likely to fight out this finish, much like they did on Stage 10, where Bennett - ably assisted by his stronger team - claimed his maiden Tour de France stage win.

It's hard to split the pair, and the odds look about right. Given the more complicated finish here, it might be that Bennett is advantaged again by that stronger team, but then Ewan skilfully surfed the wheels on Stage 10 and had every chance of winning. It's a toss-up, but neither represent value.

Who are the most likely outsiders?

It seems inevitable that Cees Bol (7.4013/2) will pick up a stage at some point, but then Stage 11 is the last certainty for a bunch finish until Paris, so that seeming inevitability perhaps suggests that he's a rider that needs things all-too-perfect to win a stage: something he won't get at the Tour.

Mads Pedersen (18.0017/1) was prominent again on Stage 10, but he looks short of the very best in the race and would need others to meet bad luck or to underperform to claim a stage.

Of more interest are Peter Sagan (16.0015/1) and Elia Viviani (34.0033/1). Sagan looked better on Stage 10 than he has all Tour, and is the most capable rider among the contenders here of muscling his way through impediments that the turning course might present in the final stages. Likewise Viviani, who looks to be coming into form at big odds and would no doubt relish stealing a win from his previous teammate, Bennett.

What effect will the stage have on the overall markets?

More points on offer in the race for the Green Jersey. If Bennett were to claim another stage victory Sagan will be under pressure on the stages that remain.

It should be a virtual rest day for the Yellow Jersey crew, but then that's never guaranteed on the Tour.

*Odds correct at the time of writing

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