Full betting odds for the 2011 Tour de France General Classification can be found on our dedicated GC page. It’s looking certain that the defending champion Alberto Contador will return to defend his title and the shootout will once again be between Contador and Andy Schleck. Here we provide a very brief preview of each rider, read, assess and then head to our latest Tour de France GC betting odds page to place your bet.
2011 Tour de France General Classification Contenders
Alberto Contador – the bookmakers have Contador as the odds-on favourite and there is certainly little value in backing the rider with a small stake. Barring an accident it is likely that Contador will ride away with another Grand Tour so if you do like to back a banker then Contador is your man. Any doubts about Contador’s condition come from his participation in the Giro d’Italia which he won with such convincing style in May that at times he was simply toying with the rest of the field.
Andy Schleck – seen as the only rider to challenge Contador. A fairly unspectacular season from Schleck so far and his critics are lining up to emphasise the point that he lacks the killer touch to finish off his rivals. Last year’s ‘Chaingate’ hurt Schleck and it’s unlikely he’ll be quite so unforgiving this year. In his favour Schleck didn’t take part in the Tour of Italy and his time-trialling has improved considerably. If he can forget that he has a brother for three weeks in July he might just get very close to Contador.
Ivan Basso – skipped the Tour of Italy this year but has looked hopelessly out of form in races prior to the Giro and since. An accident while training on Mount Etna caused Basso to miss nearly a week of training but write him off at your peril. Basso can climb with the best but his time-trial skills have somewhat diminished since his return. He knows how to suffer and will be aiming for a podium spot.
Cadel Evans – they guy most people want to see win a Tour de France, if only because he looks like he suffers like the rest of us when riding up hill. Evans has it all, except for that final 5% which would put him up there on the top spot of the podium. If the Tour de France was won on bravery, Evans would be a triple winner of the race. The safest bet to join Contador and Schleck on the podium.
Robert Gesink – a pure climber, lightweight, Dutch and knows how to go uphill quickly. Highly likely to lose a whole bunch of minutes on one of the early high mountain stages and then storm to victory on a big Alpine day to send the Dutch supporters on the roadside into meltdown. Time-trialling is Gesink’s weak spot but we think we’re still 3 or 4 years from seeing him challenge for that top spot.
Samuel Sanchez – another ride who has shown little form this season suggesting he might crack that podium spot in the biggest Tour of them all. The simple fact is that you can’t win a Grand Tour by riding down a very big hill fast. Another good bet for a podium spot but always seems to have a bad day and that bad day generally involves riding a time-trial bike.
Bradley Wiggins – in 2010 Wiggins said his 2009 performance was a fluke and he may just be right. Wiggins can suffer but if the French summer reaches boiling point expect Wiggins to slide gently away from the main group in the high mountains. He’ll recover a heap of time over his rivals in the time-trial but not enough to step onto the podium. Safe bet for a top 10 if it’s not hot and nice bet for top 6.
Frank Schleck – seems lost when he isn’t following his brother’s wheel. Another rider who has been out of form this season but is a safe bet for a top 10 finish providing he doesn’t fall off. Perhaps Frank and Andy would do better individually if they were on different teams. This new team desperately needs a good result from both Schleck’s in the year’s Tour de France
Jurgen Van Den Broeck – at 6 foot 1 inches VDB should simply not be able to climb with the likes of Contador and Evans but, along with Gesink, they consistently put in good performances when the road goes up. VDB would be our outside bet for a podium spot. VDB proved in the recent Tour de Suisse that if there is an opportunity to move up in GC he will take it instead of following wheels.
Janez Brajkovic – a top 20 GC rider at best, flattered himself when winning the Criterium de Dauphine last year and hasn’t really backed up that win with a performance of note since. Likely to play a team role for Radioshack who are more likely to have success with Kloden or Leiphemier.
Andreas Kloden – sometimes you can’t quite believe a rider like this is still going, he seems like he is from another era, we’re often looking for Jan Ullrich to be following his wheel in the Grand Tours. Kloden has spent the past 3 years trying to convince team managers that he is the best GC rider on his team and apart from his spell at Astana when Contador was present, he has every right to believe he should have had more backing. Radioshack’s best hope for a top 10 finish.
Full betting odds for the 2011 Tour de France General Classification can be found on our dedicated GC page.