At the end of August, Jonas Vingegaard – who took his second Tour de France title in July – will attempt to become only the fourth rider in history to win the Vuelta a Espana and Tour de France in the same year.
The Danish hero surprised fans and the cycling media when announcing his attention to tackle the 3,153-kilometer Spanish marathon on the penultimate day of the Tour de France. Vingegaard has only contested the Vuelta a Espana once before. He finished 46th in 2020.
Following his heroics in France, it was presumed Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma team would give Slovenia’s Primož Roglič the team lead in the Spanish Grand Tour. The former professional ski jumper won the Vuelta a Espana in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
A crash in the race – while in general classification contention – 12 months ago thwarted his attempt at a record-breaking four-timer. He returned in March of this year to win the Tirreno–Adriatico, the Volta a Catalunya, and then the Giro d’Italia.
Strength and Depth Underlined by the Odds
Online sports betting sites appear ill-at-ease about the prospect of these two brilliant riders from the same team facing off in Spain. Their odds vary significantly, although Vingegaard, available on 5/4, is the clear favorite. Roglič can be backed on odds of 10/3.
Last year’s Vuelta winner, Remco Evenepoel, is third in the betting. The Unibet sports betting site has the former R.S.C. Anderlecht and PSV Eindhoven youth player priced on 4/1. Juan Ayuso, aged just 20 but third to Evenepoel 12 months ago, follows on 13/2.
The second and third-placed finishers in this year’s Giro d’Italia, Joao Almeida and former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, are 25/1 and 16/1, respectively. Their presence underlines the strength and depth in the 21-stage race that will start with a team time trial in Barcelona on August 26 and finish in Madrid on September 17.
Cycling Is Hot on Netflix
Following some gloomy years, the sport of cycling appears to be enjoying a renaissance. Fan/team interaction is reportedly at an all-time high, and betting sites offer more betting opportunities on bike racing than ever.
Part of the apparent increase in the sport’s popularity must be attributed to Netflix’s ‘Tour de France: Unchained’ documentary. It launched on the streaming platform in early June, and while Netflix is notoriously reserved on declaring the popularity and success of any show it streams, negative reports from television critics and viewers are difficult to find.
Can the Cav Story Really End Here?
This week Netflix delivered another Tour de France-related documentary. In ‘Mark Cavendish: Never Enough’, the star rider tells of his battle with the Epstein-Barr virus, and it explains how a diagnosis of clinical depression left doctors worried about the prospect of him self-harming.
Mark Cavendish: Never Enough charts the rise, fall and seemingly impossible resurrection of a genuine sporting great.
Now streaming, only on Netflix. pic.twitter.com/yAcwHVep8Z
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) August 2, 2023
The fairytale ending to the feature never came, as a stage-8 crash and resultant broken collarbone ended his dreams of winning a record-breaking 35th Tour de France stage. However, the 90-minute movie does tell a heartwarming story of a supremely talented and loveable sportsman with a complex personality.
Mark Cavendish announced his intention to retire at the end of 2023 during the spring’s Giro d’Italia. His announcement was followed by success in the final stage of the Italian Grand Tour. He was unlucky not to score in France when a mechanical issue, just meters from the line, prevented him from rewriting the record books.
His Astana-Qazaqstan team is reportedly trying to convince Cavendish to return in 2024 and it has guaranteed him a place in their Tour de France squad if he delays his retirement. And so, the door for a ‘Mark Cavendish: Never Enough’ sequel is currently ajar.
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