The Wolfpack are off and running in this year’s Tour after Kittels big win overnight. Quick-Step almost managed to lose the stage for him with their uncharacteristically poor lead out but the German proved his form with an incredible sprint, launching off the back of Colbrelli’s wheel with around 150m to go to win by a wheel from Demare & Greipel. The result also bodes well for Kittel to challenge for Green as he now has a decent advantage over Sagan at this early stage and his price has shortened to $2.50.  Kittel now moves up to 3rd in the overall standings and it’ll be interesting to see whether he fancies challenging for the win on Stage 3 and a day or 2 in the yellow jersey! For the GC men, it was a quiet day, sheltering from the rain, until they hit a roundabout with around 30km to when carnage ensued.  Most of the main players went down in a big crash, including Porte, Froome & Bardet.  Thankfully there were no serious injuries but it goes to show how nervous the race is in the first week.

Stage 3

The Wolf cannot hide his excitement at what might unfold on Stage 3 as the riders face a long day on a rolling course that looks more like an early season classics race than a stage in the Tour de France.  The riders face a long day, 212.5km in fact, on a route that takes in 3 countries (Belgium, Luxembourg and finally into French territory) and includes plenty of KOM points up for grabs.  We should see an early breakaway forming in the hope of grabbing the KOM points & maybe even the stage win, however most of the peloton will also be pushing for the stage win so it’ll be unlikely that the breakaway succeeds. The rolling course is punctuating by categorised climbs along the route but it will be the final tough climb to Longwy that will really hurt the legs and put pay to any of the sprinters going for the stage win. Instead, we should see puncheurs and the top GC contenders at the front of the peloton on the final climb in what should be a thrilling final 2km.

Peter Sagan – $3.60
10th on Stage 2, the World Champion will have eyed off this stage ever since the route was announced due to it’s finale. He is riding better than ever but The Wolf has doubts about him on this stage.  As has happened in numerous races in the past, riders will look to Sagan to make the first move, sit on his wheel conserving energy and jump over the top of him for the stage win and this stage looks like that could happen again. The climb, whilst not long, looks to be towards the red zone of Sagan’s limit and there are a number of stronger puncheurs that might just have the edge over him here.

Michael Matthews – $6.50
If ‘Bling’ has one main strength it is his ability to sprint uphill and he will love the finish here. If you cast your mind back to the Amstel Gold race, Matthews was the only one that had the legs to follow Gilbert and the finish here is very similar. Whilst he isn’t faster than Sagan on the flat, he can definitely climb better and his win over the Slovak in Bern on the Tour du Suisse is an indication that he could fancy his chances of taking a famous victory.

Philippe Gilbert – $9.00
What a season the Belgian is having. Superb in the early season classics with victories in the Amstel Gold Race & Ronde Van Vlaanderen, the Belgian has a raft of support riders to call on if needed in Stybar, Brambilla & Trentin.  He’ll be looking to make it back-to-back wins for Quick-Step and you cannot discount him given his form in 2017.

Greg Van Avermaet – $8.00
Another Belgian that is flying in 2017, GVA has been a revelation this year and his Paris-Roubaix win will live long in the memory.  A fantastic ‘classic’s rider, the final climb might be on his limit but if he is protected within a smallish group, he might stand a chance of a late attack. The only downside is that the route prior to the final is fairly easygoing. GVA relishes long, hard days in the saddle that offer the opportunity to split the peloton, making the finale very selective. Unfortunately for him, this doesn’t look to be the case here.  He may still win but he doesn’t represent value at $8.

Diego Ulissi – $26.00
A bit of an outside pick, the Italian is on debut here and is pursuing stage wins. He possesses an outstanding uphill sprint and comes into the race off the back of a good performance in the Italian National Championships. He can be ultra explosive on his day and he might just be able to burst off the front and hold off the big guys until the finish line at big odds.

Recommended Bets

Best: Michael Matthews – $6.50
Value: Diego Ulissi – $26.00
Roughie: Thibaut Pinot – $301.00

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