Bookmakers are offering free bets to new customers as Stage 12 of Le Tour reverts to steep climbing on the 210.5km route from Bourg-de-Peage to Mende.
Controversy raged after Le Tour’s technical commissioner Jean-Franchois Pescheux despatched swift and harsh justice on Mark Renshaw following his head butting of Julian Dean in the closing yards of yesterday’s stage.
It took the gloss from Mark Cavendish’s third stage victory of this Tour and his thirteenth all time Tour de France stage win.
Cavendish earned another 35 points when finishing ahead of Alessandro Petacchi and Tyler Farrar to inch closer to the top of the points classification.
Thor Hushovd finished back in seventh and gave up the green jersey to Pettacchi, who now leads the overall points standing on 161 points with Cavendish now up to fourth with 132 points.
Petacchi is evens favourite with William Hill to win the points classification. Cavendish can be backed at 7/1 with Bet365, but his team now need to produce a lead man of Renshaw’s credentials to keep up his hopes.
Today’s stage sees the return to a more traditional Alpine route and the climbers will battle it out on one of the toughest stages of the tour.
Race favourite Alberto Contador has been unable to take any time back from the yellow jersey of Andy Schleck since reaching the mountains, but the Spaniard gets the chance to really test his young rival’s resolve today.
The stage features a series of steep climbs and will suit Contador who has the ability to deliver the sudden boosts required to race up slopes of up to 10% in the summer heat.
Schleck is odds of 9/5 with bet365 to win Le Tour, if he can out climb Contador today expect those odds to tumble.