Mark Cavendish may have earned his first stage victory of the 2011 Tour de France on Wednesday, but it might not be wise to back him for two-in-a-row.
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This column won its first stage of the 2011 Tour in Cap Frehel yesterday. And so did Mark Cavendish. The HTC rider's price to win the green jersey has been adjusted inwards as a result. Now is the time to oppose him in the Points Classification market. He is 3.0 to win a competition he has never won before - stage wins bring big points, but they have not previously been enough to bring him the green jersey.
Cavendish needs extra points from intermediate sprints - of which there is one every day - and has competed in a few of them, but only won one (from which he was later disqualified). His heart is not in them and that's why you should either lay him or back the current leader, Philippe Gilbert (4.4), whose Belgian heart is very much set on wearing green in Paris.
Thomas Voeckler, who we backed at 130.0 and was matched even higher by a lucky few, was involved in the final breakaway of the day, giving a big opportunity to lay him inside 40.0. His fellow escapee, Jeremy Roy, has shot off the front of the peloton on three stages already this year and now joins him on the list of punchy Frenchmen in pursuit of personal glory and national pride on non-mountain stages.
Stage six is the longest of the Tour. It rolls out of Brittany and into Normandy towards a finish in Lisieux. Just 1.5km from the end there is a sharp climb that might allow someone to break through the sprinters' teams at the front of the peloton. Gilbert can climb and sprint and do both at the same time, so he is the favourite - and his brilliant 2011 form makes him hard to oppose - but we are now involved with him in the points competition.
Alberto Contador has nothing to lose attacking up that final slope. The climb's probably not hard enough for him to actually regain time on Andy Schleck or Cadel Evans, but back him now at 110.0 and any show of intent towards the end of the stage will bring an opportunity to lay him for profit.
Fabian Cancellara is today's final name. Denied his usual prologue win by the unconventional start to this year's Tour, Spartacus has the motivation and the thunderous thighs to challenge anyone - except perhaps Gilbert - in Lisieux.
Best Bet: Back Philippe Gilbert @ 4.4 to win Points Classification
Recommended Bet: Back Alberto Contador @ 110.0 & Fabian Cancellara @ 140.0 to win Stage Six