Another incredible day for Geraint Thomas, as he held on comfortably on a brutal day of climbing in the Pyrenees.
<h2>The Route</h2><p>The start and finish are only 12kms apart but the riders go out on a zig-zag route north-east of Saint Pée Sur Nivelle. The road starts climbing almost from the flag drop, with the first 4kms averaging 3.2%, but there is a section of 800m right near the bottom that is over 6% average.</p><p>The next hill drags on for about 6kms, passing through the first time check at Ustaritz after 13kms, and that hill peaks out after around 16.5kms.</p><p>4kms of a descent and they come to the bottom of the toughest part of the course, they'll have to have kept some power in reserve for when they hit this one. The hill itself isn't very long, just over a kilometre, with the official distance on the map given as 900m at 10.2%, but the opening 100m or so isn't too steep, then it kicks up hard, hitting a max of 21%. The top is just 3kms from the finish, most of which is downhill, but as they enter Espelette the road rises again for the last 500m at around 3% average.</p><p>The weather is something to keep an eye on for this one though, rain is forecast overnight and all morning up until early afternoon. With the last GC riders scheduled to finish around 5.15pm French time, it might well be that the top 10 riders will ride on dryer roads than those who started earlier, with the rain forecast to ease off from about 4pm.</p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5b5b8b58aa35fe00adec3df2/original-tour-de-france-stage-20" style="width:997px;height:563px" /></p><h2>Analysis and Picks</h2><p>There are still places in the top 10 up for grabs though, with only 19" between Roglic and Dumoulin for 2nd place, 13" between Roglic and Froome for 3rd and 3" between Kruijswijk and Landa for 5th. There's also only 35" between Landa and Bardet for 6th, two notoriously bad time triallists!</p><p>Tom Dumoulin was probably strong favourite for this stage in everyone's minds pre-race, and even a day or two ago.. If he repeats anything close to his victory in the hilly World's TT last year then he will win. That was over an identical distance to this one, on a rolling course too that ended with the 3.4km climb up Mount Floyen (9% average). He beat Primoz Roglic by a whopping 57", and Chris</p><p>Froome by 1'21" - and this course probably suits him even better than that one, the climbing part is just 900m long.</p><p>He has to win this I think to salvage pride and satisfaction from the race, and a big ride should at least cement his 2nd place in the GC, he'll be pleased I think to finish ahead of Froome after what happened to him in the Giro.</p><p>His biggest danger might well be Primoz Roglic, and in fact, Bet365 have made him their evens favourite to win the stage. He is pushing Dumoulin for 2nd place and is also looking to hold off Froome for 3rd place. The World's ITT saw him beat Froome by 24", a pretty impressive result, although he was almost a minute behind Dumoulin. Will he be able to pull a minute back on Dumoulin over the same distance? He has been riding brilliantly, but mostly Dumoulin has been able to match him, so I'm not sure he can swing it by that much.</p><p>Geraint Thomas is the third favourite, and the way he has been riding you wouldn't put it past him to pull out the ride of his life and take the victory here too. He covered every move against him in this race with such ease, he has been just gliding uphill, following and attacking, sprinting to wins, and winning sprints for 2nd like today. British TT champion, winner of the TT in the Volta ao Algarve earlier in the year over 21kms, he might well go very well on this course too, but can he beat the top two?</p><p>Michal Kwiatkowski has been a dogsbody for Thomas and Froome in this race, he has not had a chance to express himself or have any sort of fun for himself in this race at all. He has ridden himself in to the ground for his leaders though, I think he might well be pretty tired after all the work he has done, but then again he did that in the Tour last year and still came within 1" of winning the final TT.</p><p>Chris Froome is next, and he is looking very tired to me. He was coughing a lot today as well on the climb, he doesn't look in great shape. But he blitzed the TT course this time last year to take 3rd, it would be just like Froome to pull it out of the bag tomorrow and win the stage..</p><p>Then we are in to outsiders, with Stefan Kung a good shout if you want an outsider at a decent price to maybe get on the podium, the Swiss TT champ won the 34km TT in the Tour de Suisse just three weeks ago, and was 19" behind Thomas in the Algarve TT earlier this year. Soren Kragh Anderson could be another dark horse at a big price of +$6600, he has been TTing very well, including finishing 2nd to Kung in the TDS TT.</p><p>Maciej Bodnar won this TT last year with a brilliant ride, denying his compatriot Michal Kwiatkowski by just 1".. Can he pull off a repeat performance this year? He should come close, he might lead for a long while as he's one of the first off, but being one of the first off means he will be riding through the wetter conditions and it might work against him to deny him a top 3 finish.</p><p>Jonathan Castroviejo, Bob Jungels and Ion Izagirre are probably the only others that could come close to a top 3 here, it's a pretty limited list of runners really for the win.</p><p>At the prices, Dumoulin has to be the bet, he will be trying to defend his second place, and in doing so he should be good enough to win this. Stefan Kung is too tempting at 25/1 <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4716&book=Ladbrokes" title="top rated sportsbook">with Ladbrokes</a> though, he's just 14/1 <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4702&book=Bet365" title="top rated sportsbook">with Bet365</a>. He might come close to a podium spot.</p><h2><strong>Selections:</strong></h2><p><strong>2pts win on Tom Dumoulin at +$150 with Bet365</strong></p><p><strong>0.5pts e/w on Stefan Kung at +$2500 with Ladbrokes</strong></p>