Tour de France: Stage 17: Berne – Finhaut-Emosson

The second rest day of the Tour will immediately be followed by the field’s first foray into the Alps.

Can Nairo Quintana claw back a bit of time on Chris Froome in the Swiss Alps or will the Kenyan-born hard man open up the gap between himself and the Columbian climber? Let’s take a look below!

To Win Stage
Chris Froome 25/10 | Nairo Quintana 7/1 | Richie Porte 8/1 | Rafal Majka 11/1 | Bauke Mollema 12/1

The Contenders

Chirs Froome
Froome has been a different class during the Tour this year. He's been spectacular on just about every stage in the race - barring the farce on the slopes on Mont Vontoux. He's heavy favourite to win here, and should have little trouble claiming victory here.

Nairo Quintana
Quintana is running out of time in the 2016 edition of the Tour. The Colombian has been a bit off the boil and was dropped by Froome and Richie Porte on the climb up Mont Ventoux last Friday. This stage should suit him, and if the legs are feeling good, he could well go on to claim victory here. 

Rafal Majka
The current King of the Mountains will be looking for a big points hall on Stage 17, and he has the legs to do just that. The Tinkoff man could fancy himself in the breakaway today, and being over an hour behind the race leaders, not many teams will be too bothered with chasing him down.

The Route
The first day in the Alps will see the riders travel south from Berne in north-western Switzerland to the idyllic town of Finhaut. While the scenery along the route is something to behold, the peloton, however, will be battling their way through one of the toughest stages that the 2016 edition of the Tour will throw their way.

This is definitely not a day for the anyone who isn’t a pure climber. While most of the field should handle the two category three climbs well enough, the category one climb, as well as the beyond category climb to the finish will undoubtedly unhinge even some of the toughest domestiques. We could perhaps expect a breakaway here, similar to the one that got away on the Mont Ventoux stage.

The two category three climbs are nothing to write home about – both around 6.5 kilometres-long at around 5%. Things will start getting interesting at the 166.5-kilometre mark as the riders reach the Col de la Forclaz – the 13.1-kilometre climb features a back-breaking gradient of 7.9%. From the summit, there will be a brief descent until we reach the foot of the final climb – a 10.4 kilometre battle against an 8.4% gradient. We can expect a very, very elite group in among the peloton for this stage of the race, we may even see an attack or two from the guys competing in the GC. 

The intermediate sprint will arrive at the foot of the Col de la Forclaz, although I don’t see it making much of a difference who gets past first – Peter Sagan has pretty much claimed the Green Jersey as his own already. The Slovak national definitely won't be in the running come the end of the stage but will likely position himself near the front of the peloton before the two final climbs of the day.

Verdict: Chris Froome 25/10
The man is unstoppable at the moment. If the breakaway does get reeled back in today, you can probably expect the Team Sky man to power ahead of the Peloton on the last few kilometres up to Finhaut-Emosson.

Value Bet: Fabio Aru 22/1
The Italian has looked better and better as the Tour has progressed. He's only five minutes behind the overall leader at the moment and could see today's stage as the ideal way to get himself back into podium contention. 

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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