Tour de France Stage 19 Tips: Ewan remains the best sprinter in the race

Thomas De Gendt at Tour de France
If Thomas De Gendt plans to have his day in this year's Tour, then this is his last chance

A possible day for the breakaway against a tired peloton, writes Jack Houghton, but a sprinter is the most likely winner

"In the official previews the stage has been promoted as one for a bunch sprint, but there is enough here to encourage a breakaway..."

What's the stage like?

167km with one small, categorised climb. It's gently rolling throughout, meandering through the vineyards around the Jura mountains. It's got the feel of an unofficial rest day for the General Classification guys, rewarded for their recent exertions in the mountains and knowing that they have a punishing time trial to come.

In the official previews it's been promoted as a stage for a bunch sprint, but there is enough here to encourage a breakaway, who can often be successful in these latter stages of three-week tours as the energy levels of the peloton wane.

If it does end in a sprint, there are some nasty looking turns inside the last 2km, which is gently rising. It's nothing difficult enough to eliminate any of the main sprinters, but anyone hitting the front too soon may struggle.

Who are the favourites?

Sam Bennett (5/16.00) and Wout Van Aert (5/16.00) are joint favourites in most lists. With three stages between them in this year's Tour, they are perhaps the rightful favourites, but of the two, Van Aert looks the more reliable proposition. He should get a day off from domestique duties, and is more likely to be able to deal with any attacks that aim to disrupt the smooth procession of the sprint kings.

Who are the most likely outsiders?

Thomas De Gendt (49/150.00) has been promising a starring role in a breakaway all Tour, but we've seen little so far. If he is to launch his customary annual bid for stage glory, then this is his last chance. It's probably wise to focus on sprinters as the most likely winners here, but a saver on De Gendt might be advised.

Mads Pedersen (19/120.00) and Cees Bol (21/122.00) have promised much in sprints on this Tour, but have failed to deliver. They might eventually come good here, although it's not the ideal stage for Bol.

Which leaves Peter Sagan (8/19.00) and Caleb Ewan (8/19.00). It's possible that, in a last-ditch effort for the Green Jersey, Sagan attempts some audacious long-range attack, or he might just console himself with targeting a stage win.

Ewan, meanwhile, seems like the sprinter the market has forgotten. Although his wins haven't been as frequent this year, he still feels, on balance, like the best out-and-out speedster in the race. If his team can manage him through the stage, he looks value.

What effect will the stage have on the overall markets?

Probably none. The Mountains Jersey is still theoretically up for grabs. If Tadej Pogacar takes the remaining two points on this stage and the final day, then he would tie Richard Carapaz, but win on countback. Whether pursuing that will interest Pogacar is unclear, though, and the market is probably best avoided.

The Green Jersey now looks increasingly out of reach for Peter Sagan, but expect him to be aggressive on this stage. It's possible that he could claw back some of the gap.

*Odds correct at the time of writing

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