A french winner on Bastille day brought home a healthy 14/1 profit, Warren Barguil finally taking his well deserved stage win. There were tales of mutiny and heroism throughout the day as Mikel Landa forged ahead with Alberto Contador to put even more time into Chris Froome.
Today finally sees the typical breakaway stage finally grace our TV screens. So far in this Tour de France, the largest winning margin at the finish line has only been 1:39, Simon Yates bringing home the pack on yesterday's stage.
The route to Rodez screams large breakaway that should come to the finish line with close to ten minutes gap on the peloton behind. After two tortuous days through the mountains, the GC contenders will be happy to sit back today and let the opportunists squabble over the breakaway.
Flat roads out of the starting town of Blagnac will make joining the day's breakaway a difficult task. A rider will need to have strength in abundance and also come to the stage start fresh, for this is going to be one long day in the saddle...
Only two Cat 3 climbs on today's stage will give little incentive for the climbers to join today's move and we should rather see the classics stars, such as Gilbert, Van Avermaet and Naesen, to the fore.
A seemingly innocuous lump just 15km from the finish could prove to be the most pivotal bit of road today; the climb is uncategorised but it could prove to be the launchpad for a few probing attacks. The breakaway group will need to cooperate well to chase down these attacks, possibly even forming professional partnerships between different trade teams.
The final climb is an exact replica of the finishing climb used in 2015 into Rodez, a 570m slog at an average of 9.6%. It's too steep for the purest sprinters but also not long enough for the diminutive climbers, this is a finish for the puncheurs of the peloton, those with a fierce uphill acceleration.
After losing Richie Porte to an awful crash on stage 9, BMC have been left with very limited options in this race. Luckily, they brought their Olympic talisman, Greg Van Avermaet, to hunt stage wins throughout the second and third weeks.
The Belgian won on this finish back in 2015 and also took a stage last year, spurring him on to claim a third in just as many years. He's one of the strongest puncheurs in the peloton and arguably the best tactician in the sport. He will need some team support however to help him chase down attacks and will likely draw on the talents of young Stefan Kung.
Van Avermaet can be found at 18/5 with BetStars for the stage win and is certainly worth an E/W punt. If BMC decide to try a two pronged attack and send Kung off up the road, he's another likely stage winner and can be found at 80/1 with SkyBet.
Other classics stars to head the list of favourites for today's stage include Van Avermaet's best friend and training partner, Oliver Naesen. The Belgian champion has been riding in support of Bardet all Tour but should be given some freedom today. He doesn't have the sprint of Van Avermaet and would much prefer a late attack; he can be found at 33/1 with SkyBet for the win.
Naesen's teammate, Jan Bakelants, will also be spurred on to join today's move. He finished third here in 2015 and knows the finishing climb well. He's a wily attacker and will provide the perfect partnership for Naesen, the two likely launching probing attacks in the final few kilometres. Bakelants can be found at 40/1 with Coral for the win.
Whilst this isn't necessarily a climb for sprinters, riders like Michael Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli could certainly compete on it's ramps. They both have the talents to mix it with riders like Marcel Kittel, but also with riders like Van Avermaet on these testing uphill finishes.
Matthews has been desperate to claim green jersey points all week and certainly won't pass up on today's break. He can be found at 4/1 with SkyBet for the win. Colbrelli is on the hunt for a stage win, purely to rescue his team's disastrous performance so far, he can be found at 28/1 with 32Red for the win.
Today's break will likely be the largest we've seen so far in this race and should be saturated with top name riders, all vying for an opportunity to grab a stage win. Philippe Gilbert and Zdenek Stybar will head Quickstep's charge in today's stage and can be found at 8/1 and 25/1 respectively, both with SkyBet.
Dimension Data should also be animated, after losing Mark Cavendish early in the race they've had their main win condition stripped away. They'll be relying on the wily Brit, Stephen Cummings, and Norwegian, Edvald Boasson Hagen for today's stage. Cummings will be eager to attack on the run in and Boasson Hagen will try his hand in the sprint.
Cummings can be found at 40/1 and Boasson Hagen at 20/1, both with Betfred.
Other riders vying for today's escape and dangerous on an uphill finish include, Tony Gallopin (66/1 Betfred), Diego Ulissi (50/1 SportingBet), Tony Martin (80/1 PaddyPower) and John Degenkolb (25/1 BetStars).
This is a surefire breakaway day and I doubt that Quickstep will waste energy trying to pull back the break for Marcel Kittel to falter on the final hill. The escape will soon take out an unassailable lead and then attacks will come thick and fast. The lump 15km from the line will prove pivotal and I'll be on Oliver Naesen (33/1) and Stefan Kung (80/1) to attack over the top and contend the stage win.
In the case that the break reach the final climb together, Greg Van Avermaet (18/5) is a no brainer for the win with Michael Matthews (4/1) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (20/1) worthy of small E/W bets.
For the thrill of cheering on a pure outsider and solo attacker to the finish line, I'll also be on Carlos Betancur at 125/1 with Paddy Power for the win.
Interesting H2H bets worthy of some small punts are (All with Paddy Power):
Dan Martin (Win) vs Chris Froome - 4/9
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Win) vs John Degenkolb - 5/6