The world’s most important cycling event concludes this week as the riders race towards the Champs-Elysees. Defending champion Geraint Thomas has lost time over the past week and Julian Alaphilippe is now in the driving seat. If he can hold onto the lead, he will become the first Frenchman to win the iconic race since 1985. He was not among the favourites to win the race, as he is a Classics specialist and was never expected to challenge for the general classification. Yet he continues to hold the lead and he is now one minute and 26 seconds ahead of the Welshman as we head into the final week. Alaphilippe is now the 6/5 favourite with Bet365 to win the race, while Betfred has 11/2 on Thomas. But it might be worth a punt on Thomas, as Alaphilippe could well fade on the longer climbs.
This is England’s only warm-up Test before the Ashes begins on August 1 and it will give the selectors a good opportunity to assess their strengths and weaknesses. World Cup hero Jason Roy has been drafted into the first-class squad and he is expected to open with Rory Burns. Jofra Archer has also fought his way into contention with his devastating bowling. It will be the first Test match between these two countries, and England are 1/10 favourites to win it, but you can find value on markets like top batsman and top bowler.
Champion mare Enable is the 4/6 favourite with Bet365 to extend her long winning streak at Ascot this weekend. The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a Group 1 contest with a massive prize pool, so it attracts many of the leading lights from across Britain and further afield. Crystal Ocean, runner up in this race last year and now officially the world’s quickest horse in the Longines rankings, will provide stern competition, as will Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck. But Enbable has won the last two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe renewals, she went to America and won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and she has been invincible for years, so she looks a worthy favourite and she should soar to another victory following her fine win in the Eclipse earlier this month.
Just four teams are left standing in the Challenge Cup, and the big two have been kept apart in the semi-final draw. Super League leaders St Helens take on Halifax on Saturday and that should turn into a mauling. Warrington Wolves, second in the standings and just about clinging on to Saints’ coattails, face third placed Hull FC in what looks to be a far tighter game. St Helens are just 1/100 to beat Halifax and you need to give them a 40-point handicap to find odds of 10/11. Hull beat Warrington 19-12 on their last meeting, but the previous match resulted in a 63-12 win for Warrington. Wolves are good in semi-finals, they just struggle in finals, so they should win this one. Warrington to win half-time / full-time looks good at even money with William Hill.
Lewis Hamilton will have another opportunity to assert his dominance over the Formula 1 scene at the Nürburgring this weekend. The Brit has won the last two races here, and Ferrari have dominated in recent years, so he should be able to extend his championship lead with another victory. Hamilton has now win five of the last six Grands Prix, and he was brilliant at Silverstone last weekend, so the 4/6 available on him winning this race at Boyle Sports looks attractive. It could make a nice double with Enable in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.