Tour fatigue is likely to play a part in deciding the penultimate-day time trial, writes Jack Houghton, where Pogacar and Bissegger represent the best value
"The best value, then, is Stefan Bissegger at what look whopping odds of 18.0017/1..."
What's the stage like?
A relatively uncomplicated time trial - provided the winds don't blow - on wide, straight roads, over 30.8km. That's around 35 minutes of riding for the front runners on a largely flat course, that meanders around some of the world's best vineyards.
Three weeks of fatigue will play a role, but the course offers no excuses.
Who are the favourites?
Three riders head the market. Wout Van Aert (2.9015/8) stands a better chance than on Stage 5. His appendix removal prior to the Tour left doubts over his form, which was initially short of its best but has steadily improved as the race has progressed. His time trial win at Tirreno-Adriatico ahead of some of his rivals here makes him a worthy market leader, but those odds look short.
Stefan Kung (4.003/1) was impressive in the Tour de Suisse - and his national championship - just prior to the Tour de France, and has been among the best time trialists in recent years.
Of the trio, though, Tadej Pogacar looks the best value at around 4.407/2, for no other reason than he won Stage 5 by 19 seconds, on a similar course. Admittedly, he has done a fair bit of aggressive riding since then, but then his powers of recovery seem to be as remarkable as his all-round prowess, so it would be no surprise to see him repeating here, especially after the relative relaxed Stage 19 that his team orchestrated.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
A case can be made for Kasper Asgreen (18.0017/1), but he has a habit of finishing among the best riders, rather than in front of them. Expect him to do likewise here: place highly but not win. Geraint Thomas (80.0079/1) and Richie Porte (60.0059/1) will probably place higher than their odds suggest they should, but it would be a surprise to see them take the stage win.
The best value, then, is Stefan Bissegger at what look whopping odds of 18.0017/1. I'm tipping him for the same reasons as those outlined on Stage 5, but at three times the odds. He nearly crashed that day, explaining his deficient performance, but can make amends here.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
Jonas Vingegaard needs to maintain his six second advantage over Richard Carapaz to stay in second place in the General Classification, but seeing as he had over a minute in hand on Stage 5, only calamity should deny him.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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Jack Houghton's Tour de France 2021 P&L: