Geraint Thomas shocked the world when he won the 2018 Tour de France and became the first Welshman to do so. Although Thomas is one of the favorites to win again in 2019, his 22-year old teammate Egan Bernal from Colombia might be the rider to beat this summer as the two will share co-leadership for Ineos (formerly Team Sky).

Geraint Thomas Tour de France
Champion Geraint Thomas celebrates with teammates while riding the final stage in the streets of Paris during the 2018 Tour de France. (Image: AFP/Getty)

The 2019 Tour de France begins on July 6 in Brussels, Belgium and the 21-stage race concludes on July 28 in Paris after six grueling mountain stages in the Pyrenees and Alps.

This year’s Grand Race is sort of wide open after four-time champion Chris Broome’s horrific crash last month at the Criterium du Dauphine. Broome fractured his neck and lost a significant amount of blood in Dauphine. He will take at least six months to recover.

Overall, three out of the top four riders from last year will be absent including some of the premier sprinters in the world. Tom Dumoulin, the 2018 runner-up, injured his knee during the Giro d’Italia in May. Doumoulin’s recovery has been delayed due to the removal of gravel in his knee. Chris Froome struggled last year and took third place. Primox Roglic finished in fourth but will not race this year.

Egan Bernal (Ineos) 2/1
Geraint Thomas (Ineos) 3/1
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) 9/2
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 12/1
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) 18/1
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 18/1
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 18/1
** Odds by William Hill

William Hill currently lists Egan Bernal as favorite at 2/1 odds. Thomas is listed at 3/1 odds to repeat as champion.

A British cyclist won the Tour de France in six of the last seven years with Chris Broome winning four times including three in a row between 2015 and 2017. Only Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali broke the Brit’s streak with a win in 2014.

This year’s tour begins in Belgium. The mountain stages begin with Stage 12-15 in the Pyrenees before the race resumes in the Alps for Stage 17-20.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the yellow jersey.

Ineos Mates, Fuglsang Shot

Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky last year) lost the legendary Froome, but they still boast two of the top cyclists in the race with Bernal and Thomas. They will be sharing co-leadership for this installment of the Grand Race even though Bernal said he would ride for Thomas. While Thomas did not finish the Tour de Suiss, his teammate Bernal won it while dominating in the mountains. Bernal also won the Paris-Nice race in March. The 22-year old Colombian is trying to become the third youngest champion in Tour de France history.

Geraint Thomas is considered a stellar all-around rider, but he still came out of nowhere to win last year. Previously, he never finished better than 14th place. Perhaps it was a fluke? He has not won a race in 2019 and is coming into this year’s Tour de France on shaky ground after a crash at the Tour de Suiss.

Jakob Fuglsang offers up the best value on the board even though he’s never finished higher than seventh place. The Danish rider is having a stellar season coming into the Tour de France with a victory at the Dauphine. He also took down the Liege-Bastonge-Liege race.

24-Year Drought for France, Richie Porte Finish, and Mountain King

Richie Porte, a 34-year old Australian and former Sky racer is riding with Trek-Segafredo. Porte is 18/1 to win this season. The Aussie is due for a big race after a couple of disappointing and frustrating accidents. He’s crashed out of the Tour de France in the last two years. After winning Stage 3 last year, he crashed in Stage 9 and broke his collarbone.

A Frenchman has not won the Tour de France since Bernard Hinault’s victory in 1985. This year will mark the 24th year in a row that a French cyclist is not cruising down the Champs-Elysees without a yellow jersey. Thibaut Pinot is France’s best shot as a yellow jersey this year. His best finish was third place in 2014. William Hill lists Pinot at 18/1 to win.

TOUR de FRANCE CHAMPS (Since 2012):
2018 Geraint Thomas (UK)
2015-2017 Chris Froome (UK)
2014 Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)
2013 Chris Froome (UK)
2012 Bradley Wiggins (UK)

Last year, Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe won the polka dot jersey twice for supremacy in the mountain stages. He is the defending King of the Mountains and this year’s course might offer him an added advantage. He was 2/1 odds to win the King of the Mountains in 2019, but his odds recently dropped to 7/4 as the race approaches.