Geraint Thomas is the new favourite for the Tour de France after Chris Froome suffered a horrific crash while training at the Criterium du Dauphine.
Froome is intensive care after crashing at 54km/h while blowing his nose on a descent. It is thought a gust of wind blew him into a wall while he was riding with one hand off the bars. Dave Brailsford of Team Sky told Radio 5 that Froome had multiple injuries, including a fractured right femur, a broken hip, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs. The team principal said: "He's not in great shape. There are crashes and bad crashes and this was a bad crash."
Thomas is now the 5/2 favourite on Betfair, followed by his Team Ineos teammate Egan Bernal. The young Colombia is on offer at 6/1 and his position as second favourite is based on his victory in Paris-Nice when he beat Nairo Quintana. The Movistar rider is 13/1 fifth favourite for the Tour.
Reigning champion Thomas must now be in a strong position for the Tour with the backing of easily the strongest team and not having to fight Froome for team leadership. In some ways, Froome's crash has solved a lot of problems for Brailsford, although it seems unlikely he will be thinking that at the moment.
It seems unlikely that Bernal will be asked to lead Team Ineos, even though he would have led them at the Giro d'Italia had he not been injured in a crash that left him with a broken collarbone. He is now training in Andorra but has not raced since the end of March and it would be a brave team that gave him the lead role over a rider who won the race last year.
Tom Dumoulin is currently third favourite for the Tour de France at 13/2 with Sportingbet, but he has had a poor season so far by his own high standards and it is difficult to think that he is much value at the price.
Jakob Fuglsang is fourth favourite at 11/1 with Betway and he arguably had the best One Day Classic season of any rider. He was consistently in the top three in the key races and the Swiss-born Dane will lead Astana's efforts in the race. The question of whether he can be as strong over three weeks and also whether he has enough support from his team leaves some doubts over whether he is good value for his position towards the head of the betting.
Adam Yates took the lead in the Dauphine yesterday and has the support of a very strong Mitchelton Scott team who have had a superb start to the 2019 season. At a best price of 14/1 with Bet Victor he looks the main danger to Team Ineos at this stage.
The only other rider who is considered to have more than a 5% chance of winning is Richie Porte, who can be backed at 18/1 with Sportingbet. Porte has regularly flattered to deceive in the Tour de France but always seems to get found out when the mountains really kick in. It would be a surprise to see him turn it around in this year's race.