Dominant Froome looks certain for Tour de France win
Miles Crosby | July 25, 2015
At the end of the second week of the Tour de France, Britain’s Chris Froome has underlined his billing as the race favourite by crushing his opposition to lead the race by a huge margin. He finds himself so far in the lead that it would take a disaster to stop the 1/12 favourite from winning a second yellow jersey.
Having finished the first week over a minute ahead over his nearest rival, Froome stamped his authority on the very first mountaintop finish of this year’s race. Attacking 6.4km from the finish on stage 10, Froome roared away from his fellow contenders to finish a minute ahead of Colombian Nairo Quintana and almost three minutes ahead of Spaniard Alberto Contador. The biggest looser was incumbent Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, however, finishing four and a half minutes behind and later admitting that he was far from the man he had been in the 2014 race.
In one fell swoop, Froome had gapped Quintana in the overall standing by three minutes and Contador by four; Nibali was now out of contention. Despite another two days in the high mountains, Froome did not press his advantage further; however, this should not be taken as a sign of weakness. Rather he is likely to be saving himself for a major attack on stage 17, 19, or most likely up the famous climb of Alpe d’Huez on stage 20. His only viable challenger at this point is Quintana, at 6/1 to win, although Froome would probably need to crash out to loose the yellow jersey at this point.
Elsewhere in the Tour, the points classification looks to be similarly wrapped up. Despite not yet winning a stage, Peter Sagan’s consistency (he has finished in the top five in nine out of 15 stages, six times in the top three) means he has more or less wrapped up the green jersey. This is despite German Andre Griepel claiming three stages in a competition that has been redesigned to favour stage winners. Griepel, nicknamed The Gorilla, will still be looking for glory on the only remaining sprint stage of the Tour, the final day on the Champs-Elysees, but his green jersey campaign is essentially over.
The competition most up for grabs at this point is the King of Mountains jersey. With four mountain stages remaining, there will be plenty of points on offer for hopefuls over the next few days. Froome is the favourite here as well, at 5/4, which is unsurprising given his dominant form so far. With plenty of opportunities to attack in the next few days he could rack up enough points on his way to the yellow jersey.
If Froome only goes for one big attack like he has done in the last week, however, another rider might well win the king of the mountains. Quintana is 9/1 to win, but Froome and Team Sky will likely continue to mark him just in case and this may hurt his chances. Instead, Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez, winner of stage 12, sits second in the mountains classification and is a strong position to win. At 9/4 in the odds, if Rodriguez can get away in a small breakaway on one or two days then he stands a good chance of ending the Tour in the polka dot jersey.