by Anton Johan
On Saturday July 3, for the first time since 1996, the world's most famous bicycle race, the 2010 Tour de France
, started from the Netherlands, in Rotterdam, but after just two stages, the race has resembled more of a 'war zone.'
Having to contend with rainy and thus slippery conditions, stage 2 of the 2010 Tour de France - a 139 mile course between Rotterdam and Brussels, Belgium - was the scene of many spills and crashes, including a gruesome pile-up near the finish.
Worse than that is that many 2010 Tour de France betting
favourites were caught up in the horror crash, which saw the race come to a virtual standstill not far from the finish, when the route was blocked by bloodied riders and bent bikes.
Favourites caught up in the 'carnival of carnage' included Andy Schleck (7/1) and his brother Frank (33/1) of Luxembourg, both of whom resembled extras in a gory B Hollywood movie. However, both made it to the finish, injuries and all.
And it wasn't just the Schlecks who fell victim to the slippery roads. Even controversial 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong (5/1) was not immune, and suffered a spill that left him with some nasty 'road rash', but still in the race.
Said a visibly shaken Armstrong after the slippery stage, 'I've never seen anything like that. As I got up and got going again it was all a bit surreal. You got to the bottom [of the hill] to take stock of the situation and you didn't know what to do.'
Not so lucky was another big Tour de France betting favourite and fellow American, Christian Vande, leader of Garmin-Transitions. After their spill, Vande and two of his teammates had to be hospitalised, signaling the end of their race.
But accidents aside, there has to be a winner of every stage. As such, stage 1 was won by Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara, stage 2 was won by Italy's Alessandro Petacchi and yesterday's stage 3 was won by France's Sylvain Chavanel.
So as stage 4 gets underway today (Tuesday, July 6) between Brussels and Spa, here are the current Top 10 2010 Tour de France betting odds for the overall winner of the race, as laid by respected online sports betting site, William Hill:
4/7 Alberto Contador
5/1 Lance Armstrong
7/1 Andy Schleck
16/1 Bradley Wiggins
20/1 Ivan Basso
33/1 Robert Gesink
33/1 Levi Leipheimer
33/1 Denis Menchov
33/1 Cadel Evans
33/1 Andreas Kloden
33/1 Frank Schleck