Bookmakers are offering free bets to new customers for the 2010 Tour De France which resumes with Stage 9 on Tuesday after Monday’s rest day.
The next two weeks will effectively be a lap of honour for Lance Armstrong after the realisation yesterday evening that the game was finally up.
The seven-time champion suffered a nightmare on the roads leading to Morzine-Avoriaz, crashing three times in the stage and eventually losing contact with his rivals for the title on the Col de la Ramaz.
The Tour is still in something of a state of shock. Although the early signs from week one were that Armstrong might struggle to beat Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, there was no reason to suppose he wouldn’t contest a top five place with his usual tenacity.
After finally limping home, the American said: “I am quite banged up but I am going to try and hang in there and enjoy the rest of my tour. Congratulations to Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans, great rides from both from what I hear.”
Armstrong’s only hope of glory in his final Tour now rest with the possibilty of a Stage win, a view echoed by Tour organiser Christian Prudhomme who said: “We also know he struggles in heat. Maybe Armstrong will dig in and try to win a stage, but he’ll be on the margins of the battle for the classement general.”
Stage 8 winner Andy Schleck is now 2/1 second favourite to win Le Tour. Favourite Alberto Contador is best priced 8/11 with Boylesports after finishing fifth in the stage.
Cadel Evans took the yellow Jersey to lead Le Tour when finishing the stage behind Contador in sixth, Paddy Power and Sporting Bet are offering odds of 10/1 that Evans can cross the line in Paris as le Tour winner.