Before you start betting on Stage 9 of the Tour de France, check our extensive preview of what is considered the longest time trial. How can we place our sports picks?
A pivotal day potentially - the longest time trial and the last time trial of the race, could we see Tejay Van Garderen take over the yellow jersey thanks to his world champions team-mates? A stage similar to the TTT in the Critérium du Dauphiné which saw BMC lay down a marker ahead of the Tour.
A 28km Team Trial which will test every team - it's not the longest TTT in the world, but at 28kms, it will certainly cause some sizeable time gaps. And it's not flat, that's for sure, although they only climb to a max height of 153m at the finish, it is up and down for quite a lot of the 28kms.
This is going to be a really tough stage, especially given how late in the Tour it has come - there are a lot of very tired, sore and wounded. And of course, there are some teams who have been decimated by crashes, the worst of course being Orica Greenedge who have only 6 riders left.
The riders will have a tailwind for most of the day as they head north-east from Vannes to Plumelec. As they leave Vannes they have some twisty, tight roads to negotiate first before it opens up to a nice straight road until the 7.5km mark on pretty flat roads. They then take a sharp left and head north-west for about 1.5kms and then turn right on a roundabout at Saint-Avé where it starts to climb after 9kms. The stronger guys on the team will be able to put the hammer down up to here, saving their climber types for later in the stage.
The final climb is just 2kms, but it's a real climbers climb and the non-climbers are really going to suffer. With the time being taken on the 5th man across the line, the strong GC men will be pushing it all the way up the final climb, but they will need to make sure that their 5th man hasn't got detached as they will have to wait for him. The gradient of the final climb is 6.2% average, but it starts at 6.6%, drops to 5.8%, then 7.2% before the last 100m or so is just 2,2%.
BMC - evens favourites, odds on in places, but 11/8 on Betfair
I have been waiting for this TTT to back BMC and I was annoyed I didn't take the early 9/4 that PP offered earlier in the week before Tony Martin crashed out. To show how important he is to the EQS team, they were 5/4 favourites with them earlier in the week and they are now as big as 25/1! On the other hand, BMC have gone from 9/4 to 10/11. BMC should win this TTT I think, they have all nine riders still going, and going very strong from what I can see. They have been making their presence felt at the front at all the right times and Tejay is in a great position right now.
The world champions have an opportunity to put their man on the podium and extend his lead over the likes of Quintana, Nibali and Contador ahead of the Pyrenées. Tejay has looked, calm, cool, collected and strong - another comfortable finish for him today, just behind Froome. I think they will repeat their win in the Dauphiné TTT, which was similar, and may even do it by a larger margin than the 4" they beat Astana by back in June. They have TVG, Dennis, Oss, Schar, Sanchez and Quinziato from that TTT and have Caruso and Wyss, two good guys for later in the stage. The odds-on is short, but the 11/8 or so that's available on Betfair actually looks like a great bet still to me. As second last team to go off they will know what time Movistar will have set on all the splits and will be able to gauge their efforts accordingly.
Movistar - 5/1
Movistar have a seriously powerful squad for a TTT like this, with a great combination of strong, powerful time triallists for on the flatter earlier parts and their strong climbers for the latter parts. Dowsett, Castroviejo, Malori and Izagirre will power along for them on the flatter parts, Quintana, Valverde, Anacona and Herrada will power up the climbs.Quintana will be looking to pull some time back on his rivals ahead of the mountains and I think they could be the biggest danger to BMC. If they can get it right on the latter parts after a good early part they might just steal it from them. It's worth remembering though that Dowsett and Anacona have crashed earlier in the race and they would have been key members of their effort. They are the 7th last team to go off though and don't really have any of the big teams times to aim for, they all go off after them.
Team Sky - 5/1 best, as low as 3/1
These guys are going to be interesting to watch - will they repeat the awful performances as favourites in the Dauphiné and the Giro or will they step it up now in their biggest TTT in a long time? In the Dauphiné TTT over a similar course they had lost Ian Stannard after just 3kms, then Luke Rowe suffered a mechanical and for the last 10kms Nico Roche was an anchor around their necks as he was swinging off the back, barely able to hang on.
Froome leads the race and will want to extend his lead. But at the same time, giving up the jersey to Van Garderen may be something that he won't mind doing, he'll probably get it back again soon. Stannard has looked poor so far in this race, as has Richie Porte, two guys that should be key elements of this effort, but Froome, Nico Roche, Thomas, Poels and Konig will need to go full gas to get them in contention I feel.
Astana - 8/1
Astana will have a job on their hands to stop Nibali losing even more time I feel, he lost more time today, slipping off the back of the Froome group just as Froome pushed it at the front and Vuillermoz jumped. They have a lot of strong men in Boom, Westra, Taaramae, Fuglsang, Kangert and Grusdev, they'll probably use up some of the bigger men like Grusdev, Grivko and Boom on the earlier parts, but they at least have all nine men like BMC and Sky. They came to within 4" of BMC at the Dauphiné, not sure they'll be this close this time, they haven't looked their usual strong selves collectively so far and Nibali looks to be below par at the moment too.
Etixx-Quick Step - 25/1 biggest price
They had a chance with Tony Martin in the team, but they were in no way a 5/4 shot as PP had them when they opened first, I'd have been laying that all day. Without Tony I think they have no chance - Kwiatkowski is off form and not looking very strong to me and Golas wasted a lot of energy today in the break. They will be lucky to be in the top 6 I think.
Tinkoff-Saxo - 25/1 best price, as low as 10/1!
TinkoffSaxo could be a very strong runner in this test too, they are packed full of strong men like Kreuziger, Rogers, Valgren, Bennati and Contador, and most of them are pretty decent time triallists also. They did an excellent TTT in the Giro to finish 2nd, but since then some of their time trials have been pretty awful. They could be hit or miss again tomorrow, but with Sagan probably tired after a hard week and with another couple of weak links in Basso and Majka they might be just off the pace. If they do an incredible time though, Sagan could go in to yellow and Oleg Tinkoff was predicting they would tonight, but we all know he's as mad as a box of frogs. I can't see it happening.
IAM Cycling - 66/1, as short as 25/1
This is a squad packed with decent time triallists too - riders like Brandle, Chavanel, Elmiger, Coppel and Clement. They may lack a little in the climbing department for the last climb, but they could well put in a big ride tomorrow at a big price of 66/1.
So it looks like it's the World Champions who will be taking the prize tomorrow as far as I am concerned, and if they can find just 13" on Froome, Van Garderen will go in to yellow. I think it's very possible and I'd love to see it as he should shorten up even more and will take a very healthy lead over some key rivals in to the crucial first set of mountain stages in the Pyrenées. Movistar should be good enough to chase them home and it's between Sky and Astana for third place I think. But watch out for IAM Cycling at a big price who could put in a big ride.
4pts win on BMC at 5/4 on Betfair
2pts on Movistar to finish in the Top 3 at evens with PaddyPower
IAM Cycling - 1pt to finish in the top 3 at 8/1 with PaddyPower