Tour de France Stage 1 Predictions: 12/1 Roglic to have a say in Italy?

 | Friday 28th June 2024, 7:00am

Friday 28th June 2024, 7:00am

cycling tour de france scaled

The greatest show on the road gets underway on Saturday when the 111th Tour de France begins in Florence (live on Eurosport 1 from 10:30 BST).

This will be a Tour like no other, with the final stage being a hilly time-trial in to Nice rather than the traditional procession ending in Paris due to the forthcoming Olympic Games. And the Grand Depart will feature more climbing than any opener in Tour history. That makes my Tour de France Stage 1 predictions a tough task.

Tour de France Stage 1 Betting Tips

  • Tadej Pogacar to win @ 7/4
  • Primoz Roglic each-way @ 12/1

Tour de France Betting Odds

Two-time champion Tadej Pogacar is the 7/4 favourite to win the opening stage between Florence and Rimini, with Visma-Lease a Bike’s Wout van Aert at 8/1. Former Giro d’Italia king Primoz Roglic is 12/1, with Alberto Bettiol at 14/1 and both Remco Evenepoel and Tom Pidcock showing at 16/1.

This is the first time that Le Tour has started out on the roads of Italy, and this will be one of the tougher openers due to its 3,800 metres of ascent over 206km. That beats even last year’s Grand Depart in Bilbao for climbing metres.

The profile of the opening day means that the main GC contenders ought to be front and centre from the start, so we will quickly learn a lot about the fitness or otherwise of some of the biggest names in the sport.

Jonas Vingegaard’s attempt on a third successive Tour title is expected to be massively hampered by his lack of preparation after breaking a collarbone, multiple ribs and puncturing a lung during April’s Itzulia Basque Country. Having only recently returned to the bike, Saturday’s stage will be a massive early test of his readiness.

His former Visma-Lease a Bike teammate, Primoz Roglic, also went down in that crash in Spain but showed he’s up to speed earlier in June with a win at the Criterium du Dauphine, although he was easily dropped in the final stage and suffered a couple of crashes which have had many questioning his form level heading to Florence.

Cycling Odds

Tadej Pogacar to win @ 7/4

The uncertainties over his main rivals make UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar a runaway favourite to take the yellow jersey in Nice on July 21, and knowing the Slovenian, he’s going to want to put a marker down early.

Having won the Giro d’Italia by four seconds shy of 10 minutes, he could become the first cyclist since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win the Giro-Tour double in the same season. But many are questioning whether he has had the requisite rest between the two events just five weeks on from his trophy lift in Rome.

For me, the number of GC stages in the first week give Pogacar the perfect opportunity to test out the legs and lungs of his big rivals, and he will surely seize the chance to launch multiple attacks at key moments in order to put the pressure on Vingegaard, Roglic and Soudal Quick-Step’s young pretender Remco Evenepoel.

Expect time gaps early in this stage, with the Cat 2 climb up the Col de Valico Tre Faggi around 50km in giving the first glimpse of Pogacar’s tactics. The true tests will then come in the final four climbs starting at Mercato Saraceno, an old stomping ground of the great Pantani, with plenty of chances for Pogacar to shrug off fellow GC contenders if he is as on his game as he has been at various points in 2024.

I’ve really liked the look of the 2020 and 2021 champion so far this season, with many claiming he’s in the best form of his life. Saturday might be the best example yet of his current dominance.

Tadej Pogacar to win @ 7/4

Primoz Roglic E/W @ 12/1

This might seem a risky shout to some given the rocks-and-diamonds nature of Roglic’s riding, but the Bora-Hansgrohe man kind of has to go with Pogacar on Saturday if he is to have a say in the podium positions of this year’s race.

Should Roglic keep up with his compatriot for any length of time from Tuscany to the east coast of Italy, then he will consider himself to have had a decent start to the event. But if Pogacar goes for it and Roglic gets dropped easily, then his race might well be over early.

Sure, there are other opportunities to come, but Roglic supposedly comes into Le Tour with designs on the yellow jersey, so he has to stick with Pog if that is to be anything like a reality.

To that end, I think he might give it a real go at hanging on to his countryman’s coat-tails for as long as he can and that may well be enough to see him claim a top-three finish, and the 12/1 odds suggest a 7.7% chance of him winning.

If he can take the stage, brilliant. If not, keeping the time gap between Pogacar and himself could help Bora-Hansgrohe to come up with a plan to wear down the Tour favourite over the coming weeks.

Primoz Roglic E/W @ 12/1

You can read all our latest Cycling Betting Tips here.

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