Cycling is an immensely popular sport, whether recreational or professional, across the world, with millions of fans tuning in to watch the biggest names in the sport compete in the tours across France, Spain, and Italy. With so much action to enjoy, it’s no surprise that cycling betting is an ever-growing market, and this guide aims to bring you everything you need to know to join in on the betting action.
Cycling betting is a niche market but one that you can reap rewards from if you know how. Cycling is hugely popular as a pastime in Canada but is classed as a minority sport in terms of active participants in competitive sport. However, those who are involved in sports cycling, either by competing or watching, are an extremely loyal group who fully immerse themselves within the sport.
Canada’s Lori-Ann Muenzer secured gold in the women’s sprint back in Athens 2004, whilst the aptly named Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian to win one of the major three tours as he secured the Giro d’Italia title in 2012. Two Canadians have worn the famous Tour de France yellow jersey: Alex Stieda led the race in 1986 and Steve Bauer won the opening stage of the 1988 Tour.
Cycling encompasses a whole range of different types of events. We’re going to now examine the three main different disciplines of cycling and what each of them entails.
There are three main tour races on the cycling calendar that run every year. The Giro d’Italia is a four-week tour of the mountainous and grueling country roads across Italy. A couple of weeks later, the elite cyclists take on the Tour de France, the most renowned cycling event in the world and the one deemed to be the toughest of them all. This sees cyclists tackle the similarly exhausting landscape of France in the heat of July. The last of the three major tour events is the Vuelta a Espana which sees riders suffer under the intense Spanish sun.
Betting on tour cycling isn’t easy. There are so many competitors across the tour, and each has strengths and weaknesses. There are also many variables including injury and crashes that can deeply impact the overall standings after a particular stage.
In tour cycling you can bet on the stage winner, the overall race winner, and the overall team winner. The race winner then earns the right to wear the famous Yellow Jersey for the next stage. Betting on stage winners can be exciting as there are sprints down the mountains that some cyclists specialize in. The sprint section decides who will be declared King of the Mountain, which is another betting market to utilize.
Tour betting can be quite reactionary in nature, as you react to the day's events before choosing what to bet the following day. There’s also a lot to take on board in terms of variables to look out for and different route elements.
Whilst tour cycling focuses on endurance and hill climbs, track cycling is the polar opposite end to the spectrum, which is much more focussed on power, raw speed and navigating a circular track. There is a wide range of track events which take place during the World Championships and the Olympics in which cyclists can specialize in, so we will delve into them here.
Two cyclists start at the opposite ends of the velodrome track and race one another without ever coming into contact. There will be a set number of laps to complete and the winner is the one who crosses their own finish line before their competitor. The winner will then progress into the next round and this continues until the final. As well as the individual pursuit, there is also a team pursuit which follows the same format but instead it involves teams of four riders.
The time trial is a straight race against the clock. A cyclist will set out to complete a specified number of laps and record a time. All the other competitors will then take their turn to record their fastest time and the quickest is declared the champion. The team time trial follows a similar format with the time being recorded after the last member of the team has crossed the finish line.
The omnium is a multi-race event which is held over several days. In track and field, it would be deemed similar to a heptathlon. Cyclists will compete in several different events such as a scratch race, individual pursuit, time trial, elimination race, a flying lap, and a points race. The rider who generates the most points across all the disciplines will be declared the overall winner.
This is a similar event to the individual pursuit but two - or occasionally four - riders start in tow. The aim is to finish ahead of your competitors but the key to the sprint is about timing. It’s a tactical battle that requires timing your sprint at the perfect point to ensure you can either attack or fend off your rival.
The Keirin is a peculiar event that confuses newcomers to the sport. You may have seen cyclists following a motorised scooter around a track before and been confused. Riders have to stay behind the pacer bike, as it gradually increases its speed, until the point it pulls off the track and it then becomes a flat-out sprint for the finish line. It’s designed to test both the endurance and raw sprint speed of each cyclist.
Across track cycling events, the betting markets typically are aimed towards outright winners. So, that can vary from whether that is the outright winner of a particular race, to the outright winner of the actual event, for example, the gold medal winner. You can usually also bet on ‘places’, for example, a rider to pick up a medal, whether it be bronze, silver or gold. Cycling is also a great sport for in-play betting, but some of the shorter events may be too quick, however, the longer and more tactical disciplines can prove profitable as the race unfolds.
Betting on cycling is becoming increasingly popular. Sites like 888 Sport and many others are now providing weekly analysis, updates, and statistics through the summer months for you to digest and use to your advantage in your strategy. As cycling betting is in its relative infancy, there is also the opportunity to win big, as sports bookmakers have not put the necessary time and research into providing the most accurate odds that truly reflect the ability of each rider.
Let’s now look at some of the key things to look out for when placing your bets on cycling.
When betting on cycling, it is absolutely paramount that you do your research. In each of the tours, riders are all part of a team, who work together to assist their lead rider by using tactics that counter their opponent’s strategy and look to launch their own attacks. They also position themselves cleverly to ensure their lead rider isn’t bogged down in a group of other cyclists and to then allow them to slipstream to save valuable energy. So, when you are looking at who you fancy to win a tour, it’s worth doing your research to ensure that a) you are betting on the team’s lead rider and b) that the team either has a history of success or has newly recruited individuals who have been part of precious successes.
Due to the nature of cycling, there are a huge number of variables that can affect the outcome of a race. This can make cycling gambling somewhat of a lottery, although you can use this lottery in your favor. We’ve previously touched on the fact that cycling is less watched by bookmakers, meaning that there may well be a number of riders that provide exceptional value that the bookmaker has overlooked. Most cycling events involve a large number of competitors so there are always favorable odds in markets like ‘stage winner’. Winning a particular stage becomes a tactical battle as teams tussle to ensure their lead sprinter is in the best position to capitalize and make a break for the finish line.
Whether you are betting on track cycling or tour cycling, looking into recent form and any recent injuries can be crucial to ensuring you make good predictions. It may be a star performer from years ago who has had a torrid couple of years due to lack of confidence or recurring injuries and they are no longer the force you once recognized them as. Taking the time to analyze their recent results and see how they have been performing of late can you give a great insight into upcoming events
Ensuring you choose the right bookmaker is essential to every sports betting strategy and none more so than a niche sport like cycling. In the next section we will look at some of the more respected cycling betting sites, but always ensure that you shop around for the best odds and use a respected, regulated, and official online betting company.
When betting on cycling, allocate yourselves a set budget and always make sure you never exceed it. Be patient with your bets, if you lose your first one or two, don’t go chasing a winner, remain calm and stay to your strategy. Quite often the best strategies are the most patient strategies.
Choosing the right bookmaker for your cycling betting strategy cannot be underestimated. There are a wide range of bookmakers out there to choose from, but choosing a safe, secure betting partner who offers value for money isn’t always straightforward. In this next section we will look at some of the best companies to use when betting on cycling.
10Bet are sports betting specialists, offering a huge range of markets on cycling for both the tour season and the track events. 10Bet also provides in-play betting and live streaming of some of the biggest events so you can keep pace with all the action. With welcome bonuses and money back promotions, you will find great value for money with 10Bet as well as a huge range of deposit methods.
Whether it's the tour or track, there are few other bookmakers who offer as versatile a range of markets as Betway. With a huge selection to choose from and great value odds, you’d be hard placed to find a better cycling betting website. They offer first-class 24/7 customer service over the phone, email or via live chat, and they also provide a huge range of promotions and bonuses to new and existing customers.
LeoVegas provides a seamless experience for mobile, tablet and desktop users. Its intuitive, fluid design ensures you can find the markets you want in a matter of seconds. As well as a huge range of offers and promotions, LeoVegas delivers great value odds across a range of cycling markets. They are a well-known, trusted online bookmaker that provides a safe and secure betting experience to all of its customers.
Within the small print of the website there should be information regarding the company’s regulator and governing body. There is also information online in terms of reviews of all leading bookmakers. If in any doubt, only use the companies listed within this betting guide.
This will all depend on the bookmaker you choose, but most leading bookmakers pledge to have money back into your account within 72 hours. Check the small print for each individual company policy.
Some online bookmakers will provide live streaming of events, but it’s also worth checking the television schedule as most leading events are covered across the globe on most of the major TV channels.