Tour de France Stage 12 Tips: Cavendish supreme

Mark Cavendish at Tour de France
Mark Cavendish has a strong team that can guide him through this

Mark Cavendish has firmly established himself as the dominant sprinter in the race, writes Jack Houghton, and only poor luck or poor judgement should deny him

"Of note are the four 90-degree turns that come inside the last 3km: crashes are a possibility..."

What's the stage like?

Another short sprint stage at only 159km, with one categorised climb early on.

Wind might be a factor again - as it was on Stage 10 - but sprint teams who are alert to its dangers and have the firepower to ride on the front should be able to position their fast man for a bunch finish. How strong the wind blows will determine how thinned out that bunch is.

The 400m straight finish is slightly downhill, so will be incredibly fast, but of more note might be the four 90-degree turns that come inside the last 3km: crashes are a possibility.

Who are the favourites?

For all the same reasons that he was the rightful favourite on Stage 10, Mark Cavendish tops the market again here at around 2.506/4. Those odds look justified, because whilst this stage looks a little trickier, he is the dominant sprinter in the Tour and has looked unbeatable when he has a clear run.

Ordinarily, his biggest rival here would have been Wout Van Aert (6.6011/2), who was second on Stage 10, but it's hard to see how a rider can win on a double ascent of Mont Ventoux on Stage 11 and then recover in time to contest a sprint the next day. His versatility is remarkable, though, and he has obviously ridden himself into form after a recent appendix removal.

Who are the most likely outsiders?

Jasper Philipsen (10.009/1) and Nacer Bouhanni (14.0013/1) remain the most consistent sprinters left in the Tour aside from Cavendish and, of the two, Philipsen looks to have the edge. If Cavendish finds trouble, Philipsen is the most likely to capitalise.

Peter Sagan (16.0015/1), Cees Bol (22.0021/1), and Mads Pedersen (26.0025/1) are all capable of a win, but none of them have yet shown they are in possession of a plan that can make that happen. If the winds blow, then Sagan should be feared. He showed at the Giro that, when conditions are difficult, he is happy to put his team on the front and split the peloton.

What effect will it have on the overall markets?

It's another day to focus on the Points Classification, where Cavendish is looking increasingly secure, provided he can continue to survive the mountain days.

As for the General Classification, it would usually be a day to survive. Should the winds blow, though, expect Ineos Grenadiers to get on the front as they try and secure a podium spot for Richard Carapaz.

*Odds correct at the time of writing

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