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Thursday, 18 October, 2018

25-1 Thomas set for glory in Paris after strong time trial

Sonny Colbrelli looks big value to land final-day sprint

Geraint Thomas is 11-4 to regain his crown next year
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Stage 21
ITV & Eurosport 1, 3.20pm Sunday

Geraint Thomas is set to claim his first Tour de France crown in Paris on Sunday after another show of strength in Saturday's time trial left him one minute 51 seconds clear of the field.

The Welshman was a 25-1 shot at the outset as he was expected to play a supporting role to Team Sky leader Chris Froome but will be a worthy winner one the ceremonial ride to the Champs-Elysees is complete.

Thomas just needed to avoid disasters on the 31km ITT course but he did more than that, finishing third on the stage, just 14 seconds behind the lead.

Victory on stage 20 went to Tom Dumoulin, Thomas's closest rival on the general classification, by just one second from outgoing champion Chris Froome, who is set to join his teammate on the Paris podium in third place.

The final stage features the familiar sprint finish after nine laps of the Champ-Elysees and picking a winner is more difficult than it often is with so few of the true sprinters having survived the course.

Arnaud Demare is the warm favourite for the finale and he has claims to be the fastest rider left in the peloton. Fernando Gaviria, who looked the swiftest finisher in the pack early on, 2017 Paris winner Dylan Groenewegen, 2015 and 2016 final-stage victor Andre Greipel, Marcel Kittel (2013 and 2014) and Mark Cavendish (2009 to 2012) all made mid-race exits.

Demare was fired-up when winning stage 18 in Pau after accusations from Greipel that he had cheated by holding on to his team car the previous day.

Peter Sagan can never be written off and would love to win this landmark stage but he may still be feeling the effects of a heavy crash on stage 17 and said the mountain test two days later was the toughest day of his life.

Instead, take a chance with Italian Sonny Colbrelli at a tasty price. He was second to Sagan on stage two (beating Demare, Greipel and Kristoff) and runner-up to the Slovak star again on stage five.

Colbrelli was a little disappointing in fifth on Thursday but he's fast enough if he gets it right in an easy sprint to mis-time.

An experienced head can help, bringing Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen into the equation. They have been up there on the Champs-Elysees before but are past their peak speed-wise.

Kristoff's placings in sprints he has contested on this year's Tour are 243323 when you take out the riders who aren't in the race any more but he looks short in the betting.

Colbrelli was 12th in Paris last year, but his form looks better this time around and he was good enough to beat Gavirelli and Sagan in a sprint on this year's Tour of Switzerland.

Recommendation
S Colbrelli
1pt e-w 20-1 bet365


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Colbrelli was good enough to beat Gavirelli and Sagan in a stage of this year's Tour of Switzerland
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