Froome looks good for fifth Tour de France victory
The 2018 Tour de France route was unveiled on October 17 and it looks ideally suited for Chris Froome to win the race for the fourth year in a row.
The Team Sky rider finished 54 seconds ahead of main rival Rigoberto Uran in the 2017 edition and is priced at an industry-best 6/4 to join Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil as a record-equalling five-time winner.
Tour organisers have certainly done their best to please Froome by including lots of mountain stages and summit finishes, while time trials have been kept to a minimum.
Froome told Team Sky: "It's tough. I wouldn't expect any less from the Tour de France organisers - especially the first nine days.
"It's going to be very nervy and dangerous up in the north west of France before we hit any of the big mountain stages. The wind could be a massive factor up there and with the GC being so close we could see the race torn to pieces."
Team Sky's sporting director Nicolas Portal was less circumspect though, adding: "I think it's a great Tour for us, but also in general for the Tour de France. Whoever wins this race is going to be a complete rider. Compared to this year it looks like a less stressful Tour."
"It's going to be very nervy and dangerous up in the north west of France before we hit any of the big mountain stages" - Froome
The peloton will be reduced this year as teams will be cut from nine to eight riders to ensure the race is less controllable, but that should not deter Froome who managed without Geraint Thomas on stage nine of this year's race. Take Froome to win the Tour de France at 6/4, because that price is bound to become shorter.
For those of you who like an each-way punt, you could do a lot worse than Romain Bardet at 20/1.
The 26-year-old AG2R La Mondiale rider was runner-up in 2016 and claims the route is set up even better than this year when he made it two podiums in a row with a third-placed finish.
Short stages, tough mountain tests and hilly individual time trials should suit the Frenchman, who told Cycling News: "Almost every day you can have a problem in the first week. There are no mountain finishes in the first part of the race and there will be a lot of riders still in the mix.
"It will be really stressful for everyone, but in week two and three, there are some big mountainous stages. There is a good balance between the two aspects of the race, and I'm really looking forward to racing it."
Bardet is one of the rising stars of the sport and looks a great each-way price for another top-three finish.
Chris Froome to win the Tour de France @ 6/4
Romain Baret to win the Tour de France @ 20/1 each way 1/4 top three
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