Bookmakers are offering free bets to new customers as Le Tour begins the climb from Tournus to Station des Rousses today.
Mark Cavendish powered to his second stage win of 2010 Le Tour in Guegnon yesterday to cut the gap in the points classification standings.
He outsprinted Tyler Farrar and Alessandro Petacchi to take his points tally to 85 points after collecting 70 points for his two victories in two days.
Now in fifth place, he has a given himself a good chance to pull back Thor Hushovd who leads with 118 points and Alessandro Pettachi, second with 114.
With four sprint stages to come, Coral are best price for Cavendish to win the classification at 4/1 with Hushovd remaining favourite at 8/11 with 888 Sport.
But now the focus of Le Tour changes as the mountains approach and today’s stage runs from Tournus for 165.5km to the medium altitude of Station des Rousses.
This will be a strategic stage with riders concentrating on avoiding the initial cull, content to ride with the main pack.
Le Tour big guns, Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong will probably keep their powder dry until the high altitude Alpine stages.
Bookmakers are thinking along the same lines, William Hill are offering odds of 20/1 for Contador and 50/1 for Armstrong to win the stage.
Last year’s runner up for King of the Mountains Egoi Martinez is favourite at 7/1 with Ladbrokes and William Hill.
Jerome Pinneau, current leader of the mountain classification, willing be pushing for the front and is 50/1 with bet365 to win today’s stage.
He said yesterday: “I will try to slip into the escape tomorrow, “it is the only way for me to keep this jersey”.
Cadel Evans is riding well in third place on the overall standings; he is 66/1 with Ladbrokes for the stage that is generally suited to form riders.