Getting your head around the various date changes of major sporting events isn’t that easy at the moment, but, as it stands, the dates for the 2021 Tour de France look set to run from 26th June to 18th July, giving just enough time for the cycling world to recatch its breath before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo (23rd July to 8th August). Of course, that’s the schedule we are working with at the moment, and it’s certainly subject to change.
As expected, though, Primoz Roglic is right on the shoulder of Pogacar in the betting markets, with the world number one given odds of 7/4. Ironically, that price is slightly lower than the one he received in the 2020 event when he went off as the favourite.
Evenepoel recovering well
The sportsbooks really consider either of the Slovenian pair as by far most likely to grab the Yellow Jersey as there is a relatively large gap between them and the 3rd favourite, Remco Evenepoel (5/1). The 20-year-old Belgian is also tipped to have a big future in road cycling, but he did not compete in this year’s Tour De France after a big crash in Italy in August. His recovery seems to be going well, though, and the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider will have plenty of backers.
Next up, after another significant drop in the odds, comes Egan Bernal at 9/1. The reigning champion decided to call it quits before Stage 17 last month, claiming his body had told him “enough”. We will have to see whether that performance was an outlier. But, in truth, Bernal’s cycling performances of 2020 have failed to get anywhere near the heights of his stellar 2019 campaign.
Tom Dumoulin is next on the list at 10/1. The Dutchman put in a very good shift when finishing 7th in the general classification last month, especially when you consider the injury issues he has suffered over the last year. In fact, Dumoulin flirted with retirement in the lead up to the Tour de France, but he seems to have got his passion back for the sport, even if he retired early from the 2020 Vuelta a Espana to focus on full recovery for next season.
Thomas out of Giro
The last man on this list is Geraint Thomas, who comes in at 12/1. He decided not to compete in the 2020 Tour de France, focusing instead on the Giro d’Italia (still ongoing at the time of writing). Nevertheless, Thomas pulled out of the Giro after suffering a fractured pelvis during the neutral start of Stage 3. Thomas will be 35 in May, and he will be almost pushing Firmon Limbot’s 99-year record as the oldest winner of the Tour de France (Limbot was 36). But it feels like the Welshman still has a lot to give cycling, and few would rule him out.
We mentioned in the title that this was a “way-too-early” look at the odds, and they certainly will shift over the coming months. However, that’s how bookmakers see it right now, and it suggests a major power shift towards the two Slovenian cyclists, Pogacar and Roglic. Injuries, focus on the Olympics and a whole host of other factors could change that, though. Moreover, don’t be surprised to see bounce-back years from the likes of Bernal, Evenepoel and Thomas.