In Review

Tour de France odds: Can Chris Froome win another yellow jersey?

Britain's Team Sky rider is favourite to win a third title, but his rivals are just as determined

The Tour de France begins on Saturday, with Chris Froome hoping to join an elite band of riders who have won the race three times.

This year's event involves nine flat stages, one hill, nine mountain stages - including four summit finishes - and two individual time trials, says the BBC, to finish, as ever, on the streets of Paris on 24 July.

So who are the favourites for the yellow jersey in this year's race?

Chris Froome: Odds 6-4.

The Team Sky rider is aiming to be the first man to win back-to-back tours since Miguel Indurain in 1995. "The Kenya-born Briton starts the race with what is, conceivably, the strongest Tour de France team ever assembled," says the Daily Telegraph.

With Geraint Thomas as his deputy, Froome has a great chance, says The Guardian: "After a slow start to 2016, Froome's recent victory at the Criterium du Dauphine suggests he is still the man to beat."

Nairo Quintana: Odds 7-4

Colombian Quintana is a narrow second favourite to Froome and will have excellent support from his Movistar team. "There are nine climbing days in this year's Tour, which is a big plus for the Colombian. And while there are also two time trials, the fact they are both uphill should mean that Quintana stays competitive in both," says the Guardian. 

He may be best suited to life in the mountains, but Quintana will be on the charge from the beginning this year, says the Daily Mirror. "The 26-year-old started slowly last year and ultimately it cost him. He finished second overall but will be hoping to go one better this year with a course that suits his strengths."

Alberto Contador: Odds 9-2

"The multiple grand tour winner arrives at this year's race much fresher than 12 months ago having skipped the Giro d'Italia," says the Telegraph. "Although his rival Chris Froome will start with a stronger all-round team, the Spaniard has proved time and again that he has the race craft and guts to beat anybody."

However, the Guardian suggests his Tinkoff team may have half an eye on winning the green jersey with Peter Sagan. At 33, Contador's age is also against him and he was fifth behind Froome in Criterium du Dauphine earlier in the season.

Fabio Aru: Odds 16-1

The Astana rider "is young and improving fast", says the Guardian. and will enjoy the mountains. But will the Italian, who has a fairly combustible temperament, be able to handle Le Tour? The Daily Mirror is not sure. "This year has been one to forget for Aru and he will need a huge improvement to challenge Froome and co," it says.

The influence of his number two in the Astana team, Vincenzo Nibali, will be critical.

Richie Porte: Odds 18-1

The former Team Sky rider has joined BMC racing and "now has the opportunity to test himself against friend and former team-mate Chris Froome on the biggest stage of them all", says the Telegraph. "The Aussie, though, has a tendency to always have at least one bad day – or un jour sans as they say en France – and that could cost him dearly."

And Froome's old domestique could once again be forced to sacrifice his ambitions if he starts badly. "The former Team Sky rider is technically joint BMC leader with Tejay van Garderen and may end up supporting the American," says the Mirror.

Thibaut Pinot: Odds 20-1

"He can time trial, he can climb and now, after exorcising his demons, can descend too, but can Thibaut Pinot make the podium at this year's Tour de France?" Asks the Daily Telegraph. "Possibly not, but France will enjoy cheering him along the journey."

The lack of quality in his team may also be a hindrance. "FDJ are not at the level of Sky or Astana, and you certainly won’t see them putting five riders at the front of the peloton before the first mountain-top finish," says the Guardian. "If Pinot does get into yellow he will struggle to control the race compared with the other GC contenders."

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