The 2013 Tour de France began yesterday with drama, controversy and excitement,a trend sure to continue over the remaining twenty stages over June across France. There are a variety of betting markets on offer, but which offer some value?

Recommendations

Richie Porte, Winner 22/1 each way (1,4 1,2,3) with Bet365

Peter Sagan, Points Classifcation 10/11 with Ladbrokes

Garmin Sharp, Team Classification 7/1 with SkyBet

Last year Team Sky conquered all before them with victory for Sir Bradley Wiggins ahead of Chris Froome. This year there is no Wiggins, but Froome is a strong favourite to go one better than last year at 4/6. His big rival is former winner Alberto Contador. Contador, 4/1 is decent value if you can get it. Has looked below his best mostly, but always seems to be at 100% come the big races.

Contador’s comments in the pre-Tour press conference were interesting

“It’s difficult to say where I am right now. That will become clearer when the race gets under way. I would say that I am at about 90 per cent right, which is just about where I want to be given the difficulty of the race this year.”

On tactics: “The route this year provides a lot of opportunities. There are some short mountain stages where you can take a risk and make attacks from a long way out if things have got complicated in the overall standings. But if things go to plan I won’t be thinking about tactics until after the second time trial. At that point, my tactics might need to become more aggressive or perhaps more conservative. In any case, one thing that’s for certain is that there will be more action on this route than in recent years.”

Rather than backing an odds on shot over a race as fraught with risks as Le Tour, instead I look to Froome’s Team Sky Team Mate Richie Porte. He’s good mates with Froome, they often train together in Nice & closely match each other. Froome the better climber & Porte a stronger time trialist.

If the Sky team are working particularly well & dominating the race in the mountains they can engineer a one-two. Also, if Froome were to crash out, the Team would swing behind Porte in the General classification and he’s a standout podium spot at 22/1 Bet365 each way 1/4 1,2,3. In other words over 5/1 to hit the podium.

In the points Classification the market has Peter Sagan just ahead of Mark Cavendish in what is essentially a two horse race, no one else will be close. Essentially Sagan has more scoring opportunities (a better all rounder) over the three weeks. Cavendish’s price is based a lot on the Giro D’Italia performance & British money. Sagan has targeted the points/green jersey & I’d have him odds on & Caevendish above even money. Note of caution though, I’m expecting the sprints to crazy & frantic affairs this year (they nearly always are!), with some fast & organised sprint trains. Crashes are likely.

In the Team Classification Garmin Sharp have an exciting & talented squad. They could be a surprise package in the mix with an unconventional & aggressive approach with no team leader, but using the options of Hesjedal, Talansky & Martin for a high overall finish. SkyBet are 6/1 in the team classification, which is well worth a look. The top three teams in the market are actually closer than betting suggests

Recommendations

Richie Porte, Winner 22/1 each way (1,4 1,2,3) with Bet365

Peter Sagan, Points Classifcation 10/11 with Ladbrokes

Garmin Sharp, Team Classification 6/1 with SkyBet