What's the stage like?
186km with, officially, four categorised climbs. In reality, though, riders climb up to and traverse a single plateau between France and Switzerland, before dropping down for the finish in Lausanne.
At that finish, a category three climb awaits them, with 5km at an average gradient of 4.6%. The climb is more complicated than it sounds, though, with significantly varying gradients and several sharp turns to navigate on route.
A breakaway may triumph here, but with the race moving into the high mountains on Stage 9, it's likely the puncheurs will want to keep this opportunity to themselves and keep any breakaway on a tight leash.
Who are the favourites?
Wout Van Aert (5.04/1) is the obvious favourite and is the most likely winner here. His versatility as a rider is phenomenal, so it's easy to forget that it is these types of punchy finishes that are his real strength.
Van Aert should have the better of Tadej Pogacar (13.012/1) and Mathieu van der Poel (19.018/1). Pogacar surely now must opt for a quieter day in the saddle if he is to sustain himself all the way to Paris, and van der Poel looks to be struggling after his stellar form earlier in the season at the Giro d'Italia.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
Michael Matthews (17.016/1) has obvious claims, but is more likely to finish placed than on the winner's podium, so a better value outsider is Peter Sagan (60.059/1), who is not only returning to some form - evidenced by his win at the Tour de Suisse and his close-up finishes in the sprints at this Tour - but seems to dislike Van Aert with a passion, meaning he will be motivated to deny him here.
Sagan is preferred - on the basis of the odds - to Tom Piddock (30.029/1), who will remain a risky betting proposition throughout the Tour given he has babysitting duties that may take his focus away from stage wins.
A speculative interest in Alexis Vuillermoz (60.059/1) is also warranted, though. He won a not dissimilar stage in the 2015 Tour de France that a prescient and handsome tipster on this site recommended him for at 50.049/1. Much like that tipster, Vuillermoz has returned to form of late.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
There are unlikely to be big time gaps, but General Classification contenders will need to be alert on the finishing climb. The most interesting subplot to the stage may well be Pogacar's effort management. He's burning a lot of matches early in this year's Tour and pre-race recommendations Jonas Vingegaard and Geraint Thomas still have a valid chance.
*Odds correct at the time of writing