Thomas Secure on Top with Bunch Sprint Likely in Finale

Saturday, July 28, 2018 6:21 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 28, 2018 6:21 PM UTC

Geraint Thomas has all but clinched the Tour de France's yellow jersey entering the final day. Let's check out what happened Saturday and what to expect Sunday.

<p>It was an unbelievable end to the time trial Saturday, when our man Tom Dumoulin seemed to have finished 2nd as he crossed the line, only to be awarded the stage win by less than a second. A stunning final section from Dumoulin won it for him, as he was 12” down on Geraint Thomas at the second intermediate time check. Chris Froome rode brilliantly to almost win the stage, denied by less than a second, after it looked like Sky had tried to engineer a win for him with Thomas slowing down so much in the last third of the course.</p><p><img alt src="" style="width:763px;height:291px" /></p><p> </p><h2>The Route</h2><p>The usual procession in to Paris, a short run of just 116 kilometres -- 55kms of which are doing the laps around the Champs. After 54kms they enter Paris, and pass the finish line for the first time after 61kms before proceeding to do nine laps of the 6.5kms circuit, before the final charge up the cobbles of the most famous finishing straight in cycling.</p><p><img alt src="" style="width:773px;height:437px" /></p><p> </p><h2>Analysis and Picks</h2><p>The final stage -- and most likely a final sprint, unless a late attack can spoil the day. But that’s probably only about a 5% chance of happening, so let’s pick from the sprinters.</p><p><a href="" title="Sports Betting Odds">Arnaud Demare is the +$110 favorite</a>, and considering how powerful his team was in the last sprint, and just how much faster he was than everyone else, he surely wins this. Peter Sagan would normally be his biggest rival, but he is crocked. I’ve no interest in even backing him to place; he might be outside the top 3 again.</p><p>Alexander Kristoff has finished 5th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd and 6th in the last five sprints on the Champs Elysees, and has finished 3rd, 2nd, 4th, 7th 5th and 4th in the sprints in this Tour; he is remarkably consistent. With only Demare to beat really, you’d think he probably will never get a better chance of a win on the Champs than this. He will need to get ahead of Demare coming out of the final bend and hope that when he kicks he has a few bike lengths on him and can hold him off.</p><p>Christophe Laporte came very close to beating Demare on the last sprint, and tried to claim he was pushed sideways by a drifting Demare, but really, he woudln’t have beaten Demare anyway, Demare won easing down. I’m not sure he will reverse places with him on Sunday; I don’t think he has the brute power to win on this finish.</p><p>John Degenkolb just hasn’t been fast enough in this race so far in the pure sprints, and unless Jasper Stuyven can do a monster turn coming out of the final bend and pull him to the last 200m with a few lengths on the others, then he may not be fast enough to beat the others. He hasn’t had a great record on the Champs in the past, though. He has finished closer to last than first most times.</p><p>Edvald Boasson Hagen finished 3rd in this stage last year, but he was riding far stronger then than he is now, and I can’t see him repeating that win. Magnus Cort was way out of every sprint we’ve had in this race, and I can’t see him popping up to surprise in Stage 21.</p><p>Max Richeze has been given his chance for QSF now that they have no sprinter, but he was well out of it in the last sprint (he’s no Fernando Gaviria). Sonny Colbrelli won’t like this finish and he hasn’t been fast enough either.</p><p>And it’s really hard to see anyone else get involved really, maybe Nik Arndt as he did well Saturday, or possibly someone like Sep Vanmarcke, Nils Politt or Stefan Kung might try to win it from a late break.</p><p><a href="" title="Free Sports Picks">Demare should win</a>. Kristoff is no price really for an e/w bet, but he should be top 3, and none of the others really appeal to me at all.</p><p> </p><h2>Selections</h2><p>3pts win on Arnaud Demare at +$1100</p><p> </p><h2>Matchbets</h2><p>Pasqualon to beat De Buyst and Boasson Hagen to beat Richeze – 2pts at +$150</p>
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