Tour de France enters final week with Thomas ahead

Martin Green

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 5:04 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2018 5:04 PM UTC

It is advantage Geraint Thomas as we head into the final week of the Tour de France and he is the outright favourite to secure victory.

<p>Geraint Thomas has become the odds-on favourite to win the Tour de France after maintaining a 1 minute and 39 seconds lead over teammate Chris Froome. There are now just six stages remaining, with the race finishing in Paris on Sunday, and Thomas is very much in the driving seat. Most fans expected defending champion Froome to assert his authority at some point, with Thomas tipped to eventually take on a supporting role. But Team Sky stuck to their guns, continued using dual leaders and watched on as Thomas and Froome locked down first and second place.</p><p>France’s Tom Dumoulin could still gatecrash the party, as he is 11 seconds behind Froome in third. He may capitalise if Team Sky’s strategy backfires and both Froome and Thomas struggle from a lack of support. But right now it looks like a two-horsed race between the two Team Sky men. Yet Froome, who has won this race for the last three years in a row, refuses to be drawn into talk of a rivalry between the pair of them. “Everyone is so keen to try and talk up this rivalry between myself and 'G', but it just doesn't exist,” he said.</p><p>There was a rivalry between Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins when they competed alongside one another at Team Sky, but Froome insists he and Thomas are singing from the same hymn sheet. “We’ve been team-mates and mates for years, our careers have followed each other, so this is an absolute dream scenario,” he said. “We’re not looking at each other as rivals, we’re looking at the other guys in third, fourth, fifth – they are the ones who could put us under pressure. It’s about keeping those guys behind us, not riding against each other and letting somebody else win. That would be the biggest hiccup in, well I don’t know about Tour history, but it would be pretty bad.”</p><p><a href=";a=e605009c-af6d-4596-a06f-dbd28d37b12f&amp;f=2">Bet365</a> has now installed Thomas as the 4/5 favourite, with Froome out at 6/4. World time trial champion Dumoulin is 6/1, while Primoz Roglic – who is currently fourth in the general classification, 2 minutes and 38 seconds behind Thomas – is 22/1. Fifth placed Mikel Landa is 66/1. The betting has been pretty evenly spread between Thomas, Froome and Dumoulin in the past couple of days. It all depends on who has the legs after a gruelling two weeks spent racing under the French sun. Both Froome and Dumoulin could be planning attacks, and it will be fascinating to see how it unfolds.</p><p>Dumoulin is a time trial specialist, and he would not usually be considered much of a threat at this stage of the Tour. This is where the expert climbers typically come to the fore, and everyone else fades away. Dumoulin has never won a stage on a traditional mountain route at a grand tour, so some punters might write him off. But he is strong and steady enough to follow Froome, and then he could launch a calculated, dynamic attack and surge into the lead.</p><p>There are four stages until the next time trial, and Team Sky’s riders have to maintain their advantage before then. This is unchartered territory for Thomas, and if he cracks under the pressure it could lead to Froome and Dumoulin battling it out in a desperate race to Paris. Dumoulin could then seize control. He might make an interesting each way bet (<a href=";a=e605009c-af6d-4596-a06f-dbd28d37b12f&amp;f=2">Bet365</a> pays a third of the odds on the top two places) as one of Thomas or Froome might drop off. But right now it does look like a battle between Froome and Thomas, and Froome’s experience could be crucial, but Thomas has answered every question asked of him so far and many will fancy him to hold his nerve at 4/5.</p>
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