A pair of Slovenian riders come into the 2021 Tour de France as the favorites to win Le Tour and secure the maillot jaune. Tadej Pogacar is seeking back-to-back victories and comes into this year’s race as the Tour de France betting favorite at +140 odds. Primoz Roglic choked on the penultimate stage of last year’s race, but he’s on a mission to finally reach the top step on the podium and snatch the yellow jersey by the time the Tour de France concludes in Paris.
So, with Roglic and Pogacar slugging it out, does anyone in the rest of the peloton have a legitimate chance to win the yellow jersey?
Ineos Grenadiers are stacked once again with a super team of riders that might be the strongest overall team in a decade. Ineos won all of the major races in 2021, including the Giro D’Italia and Tour de Swiss.
|2021 Tour de France Odds|
|Miguel Angel Lopez||+4000|
|Tao Geoghegan Hart||+5000|
Ineos includes 2018 champion Geraint Thomas, Richard Carpaz, Richie Port, and Tao Geoghegan Hart. Thomas is third on the futures board at +450 odds to win the 2021 Tour de France, followed by teammates Carapaz (+800), and Richie Porte (+2200).
Rough start in Bretagne
The 2021 Tour de France course is more than 3,414 kilometers long. It starts with four rough days in the rugged terrain of Bretagne, where riders will be challenged by wind and rain on lumpy and narrow roads. Stage 1 begins in Brest, which gets the Grand Depart in Le Tour for the fourth time in history.
The first two stages will favor the climbers with a dozen Category 4 climbs with poor weather in the forecast. Stage 2, Perros-Guirec > Mur-de-Bretagne Guerledan, features an uphill finish after 183 km of hilly racing. Perhaps Julian Alaphilippe can get off to a hot start and snag the yellow jersey early in the race?
It’s been several decades since a French rider won Le Tour and cruised down the Champs-Elysees in the yellow jersey. Alaphilippe comes in as the highest Frenchman on the board at +2500 odds, but his team isn’t strong enough to propel him to the top of the podium. The high-flying and fearless Alaphilippe will definitely put on a good show with a stage win. Keep an eye out for Alaphilippe in Stage 7 Vierzon > Le Creusot during the first true potential breakaway stage.
The mountains: Alps > Pyrenees
There will be six mountain stages on the route this year with three summit finishes. There are also two individual time trials, eight flat stages for sprinters, and five hilly stages.
Le Tour heads to the Alps in Stage 8, Oyonnax > Le Grand-Bornand, and Stage 9, Cluses > Tignes, before the race gets its first rest day before dipping into Provence. Stage 8 will be the longest stage in 20 years with a route that clocks in at 254 km.
There are a pair of stages near the Mediterranean in Stage 12, Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux > Nîmes, and Stage 13, Nimes > Carcassonne. The route heads to the Pyrenees in Stage 14, where the real race begins in the second batch of mountain stages.
Stage 15, Ceret > Andorre-la-Vieille, is a 191 km ride and gets a start in Ceret for the first time as the course includes Category 1 ascents up Montee de Mont-Louis, Port D’Envalira, and Col de Beixalis.
The craziest day on le Tour is probably Stage 17. The route from Muret > Saint-Lary-Soulan Col du Portet has three Cateogry 1 and one Categoty H climbs to the top of Peyresourde and Val Louron-Azet, plus climbs topping out at a 9% gradient ascending the punishing Col du Portet.
Stage 18, Pau > Luz Ardiden, features the legendary Tourmalet, which is a Category H climb, before another treacherous ascent and summit finish at Luz Ardiden.