Roy the Boy takes an early look at the market for one of his favourite yearly sporting events, the Tour de France, and believes the Movistar team duo merit support.
Last year you may recall I was all over Alejandro Valverde to finish on the podium in the Tour de France. My bets were looking so sweet until the final time-trial, essentially the final day, when the Spaniard managed to forfeit the third position he had held throughout and drop into fourth.
I swear, betting on the Tour can sometimes be the most excruciating exercise. A race that lasts three weeks for a rider to get chinned for the money in the final thirty seconds of it ... can you imagine? Unfortunately I don't need to.
Valverde was previously banned for two years for blood doping – Google ‘Operación Puerto doping’ for the full interesting story – and you can only wonder about him now as his recent results have been amazing. During the past month the 35-year-old has won two of sports biggest classics: La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège plus he finished runner-up in the Amstel Gold Race and took third in the Strade Bianche earlier in the year. As the three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond once famously said of Lance Armstrong’s achievements, “it’s unbelievable”.
Valverde is available at 100/1 for this year’s Tour and despite last year’s fourth placed effort in a race where the two principals were forced to retire, I just know I’m going to have to throw away the price of a round of drinks on him once more.
His team, Movistar, is particularly strong which means their 2014 Giro d’Italia winner, and 2013 Tour de France runner-up, Nairo Quintana fully deserves his mantle of 5/2 favourite. In fact I’m starting to think it is outstanding value as his chief opponent, Chris Froome, has not had a straightforward start to the season and has taken some bone crunching falls of late.
At 25, Quintana is the perfect age for the Tour and, whilst loathed to back favourites in any such contest let alone this 3,344 kilometre three week marathon, he’s value at 5/2 and he’s my bet.
The 2015 Tour, made up of 21 stages, starts on July 4th.