2019 le Tour de France: When, how to watch, odds & predictions

It’s that time of year again, Tour de France is back and Oddschecker have you primed on all the background info you need for one of sport’s most gruelling and celebrated event.

James Baxter
 | 
Mon, 1 Jul, 12:00 AM

What is Tour de France?

Cycling’s signature tour – now in its 106th edition, le Tour de France (TDF) is a legendary test of endurance, willpower, teamwork, strategy – and flat out luck across 21 stages and 3460km. This year’s Tour commences in Belgium to commemorate arguably the sport’s greatest rider Eddy Merckx’s 50th anniversary of the first of his five TDF titles.

When is Tour de France?

The Tour commences Saturday July 6 from 8pm AEST and finishes in the early hours of Monday July 29.

How can I watch Tour de France?

SBS hold broadcast rights and will telecast every stage. For the most complete coverage you can follow TDF online via SBS On Demand streaming or downloading the Skoda Tour Tracker app.

What are the biggest storylines for this year’s Tour de France?

Pre-Tour carnage has unfolded. Four time TDF winner Chris Froome cheated death in a horrific crash earlier this month during a time trial preparation, suffering a fractured neck and all but ruled out for the rest of 2019.

Froome was very nearly joined by defending winner Geraint Thomas, who himself had a heavy fall in the Tour de Suisse but fortunately escaped serious injuries and will be fit to defend his title. A prime contender will be Jakob Fuglsang who won the Critérium du Dauphiné – perhaps the most prestigious TDF preparation race – but a veteran who is yet to win TDF.

A fascinating subplot sees prodigy Egan Bernal as a genuine contender with the 22 year old Colombian winning Tour de Suisse – yet he is also a teammate at Team Ineos of Thomas. Bernal has claimed he’ll have no problem sacrificing his own charge for Thomas – if the veteran Brit is better than him.

The biggest factor for this year’s competitors might be the mountain climbs scheduled. TDF organisers have claimed this year’s event will be the highest in history with five mountain summit finishes.

Who is the top Aussie in the Tour de France?

Richie Porte is a Tour de France veteran who enjoyed success with a team time trial stage win last year – the Tasmanian has however changed teams this year from BMC Racing Team to Trek-Segafredo where he’ll be relied upon for his experience and stamina.

Porte looked primed for an assault at overall glory when he finished 5th in 2016 but two straight non-finishes means he’ll be looking to catch up on lost opportunity. Keep an eye out for Caleb Ewan too – the Lotto Soudal youngster is every chance of a stage win in his first TDF with his sprinting ability.

What’s our pre-race prediction for Tour de France?

Geraint Thomas ($3.50* - Unibet) was the comfortable favourite but despite avoiding major physical injuries in his crash, the Brit’s preparations have been severely hampered and brings the defending winner back to the field. Egan Bernal ($4.70* - Betfair) is a major threat whose time will surely come but with Thomas eyeing off another victory, he may face a battle to consolidate himself as his team’s best shot. Jakob Fuglsang ($7.60* - Betfair) meanwhile is perhaps the most in-form cyclist and the man to beat if he can maintain his hot streak.

*odds subject to change