Bookmakers are offering free bets to new customers as Le Tour resumes with Stage 9 from Morzine-Avoriaz to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne after yesterday’s rest day.
Riders had plenty to think about while resting yesterday in readiness for the main Alpine stage.
Race favourite Alberto Contador will be expecting to claw back a few seconds on each mountain stage by attacking the summits to open gaps between himself and rivals Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans.
Today a different strategy will be in order as Le Tour organizers decided to diversify the Alpine stages and reduce the number of summit finishes.
Today’s stage ends with an 18.5km descent from 2000m Col de la Madelaine to 552m finish outside Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
An early summit battle would risk riders being left alone and exposed on the flat sections and following the final ascent those who are not good downhill riders could see their Le Tour hopes vanish in the finish to this stage.
Contador who is lying 61 seconds behind Cadel Evans in the Yellow jersey after Sunday’s stage said: “Things are looking good overall. I made a mistake and tried to follow everybody’s attacks on the final climb on Sunday, but I realise that I will have to be more cautious."
Andy Schleck won the stage on Sunday and in so doing extended his lead over Contador by another10 seconds to 41 seconds. It’s the first time since 2007 that Contador has given ground to a main rival in the mountains of Le Tour.
Schleck is going great and bet365 are offering odds of 21/20 for him to continue his early dominance over Contador and go on to win Le Tour.