After three days of cycling through England, the Tour de France hits French shores on Tuesday and we should be in for an intriguing fourth stage.
Monday’s stage was won by Germany’s Marcel Kittel, his second victory in three days, while stage two winner Vicenzo Nibali leads the overall standings with a time of 13 hours 31 minutes and 13 seconds.
The first stage completed on French soil signals a crucial part of the tour and the 198 riders will all be hoping for a strong performance on day four.
Can Chris Frome Retain The Yellow Jacket
After three stages, Britain’s Chris Frome is sitting fifth in the overall standings and is trailing Italy’s Nibali by just 2 seconds. A strong start from last year’s winner means he is still well on course to keep the yellow jacket for another year and the Team Sky rider should be amongst the leaders come July 27.
The Team Sky skipper is joined by: Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Bernhard Eisel, Vasil Kiryienka, David López, Danny Pate and Xabier Zandio in the nine-man squad and remains the favourite to win the overall tour.
However, the news isn’t so good for fellow Brit Mark Cavendish. The sprint specialist sustained an injured shoulder during the finish of Saturday’s opener and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the tour. The 29-year-old will additionally miss out on the Commonwealth games later this year.
It has been a difficult few days in England with particularly testing weather conditions causing some real problems, notably for Cavendish. Those riders in the leading pack will be particularly pleased to have survived the first three stages and the competition should really start to intensify over the coming days.
Riders Set For Another Testing Day In France
Stage 4 is another flat surface sprint and sees the riders travel across 102 miles of French ground, starting in Le Torquet-Paris-Plague and finishing in the Villeneuve-d’Ascq part of the Lille metropolitain area.
The combination of narrow roads and high winds could create another difficult ride for the 198 competitors and we could see a number of minor crashes en route to Lille. While Frome fights to stay in touch with the overall leader, fellow Brit Geraint Thomas will be doing all he can to ensure his teammate retains the best chance of success. This is a real group effort and Team Sky’s cohesion could be all the difference over the long-haul.
Day 4 should be another exciting day of this year’s Tour and fans can expect plenty of thrills and spills. This 2,276 mile race has only just got going, expect the competition to really heat up on French tarmac.
Tour de France: Stage 4 Betting
The betting odds for stage 4 point towards only one winner as Bet365 fully expect a third win in four days for German Marcel Kittel. The Giant-Shinamo rider has taken full advantage of Cavendish’s absence and at ½ is widely tipped to transfer his fine form from England onto French shores.
We cannot argue with the thinking behind it but wouldn’t be confident in backing the German at those odds. There are so many variables to consider and for that reason alone we’re laying the Giant-Shinamo captain.
The Field (anyone other than Kittel) to win Stage 4 is 13/8 with Bet365
Looking ahead to future stages, we’re quite interested in the ‘King of the Mountains’ market. It’s still a few days away but we’re liking the look of Spaniard Alberto Contador. The Team Tinkoff-Saxo rider is a climbing specialist and should stand a great chance in the mountains.
Alberto Contador to be King of the Mountains is 4/1 with Ladbrokes
Back to Tuesday’s 102-mile race and we’re also looking at the match-up bets and are putting together a head-to-head treble:
Andre Greipel to beat Arnoud Demare; Michael Rogers to beat Jakob Fugslang; and Rui Costa to beat Jean C-Peraud pays 5.06/1 with Bet365