Cycling might not be the most popular sport in the world but that doesn't mean that the action can't be exciting. Competitive cycling comes in many forms and throughout this betting guide, we will look into some of the specific events within the sport as well as look at some of the ways we can make money while betting on cycling.
Cycling Betting Explained
Cycling is a sport where the quickest person on the day of the race will end up being victorious. This doesn't have to be in a straight-out race though. Competitions can also be arranged in the form of time trials. Overall though the principal of all the variations of this sport will remain the same although the nature of them will vary considerably. Some cycling events take part over the course of several days or weeks where endurance plays a massive part. While other events are sprints in which some races can last under one minute.
For the most part, betting on cycling is one of the easiest markets to understand. You will either be betting on who you believe will win the race or championship or what time you believe the race will be cycled in. It is very possible to be entertained with one form of this sport and be left cold by the other. What we are interested in though is how the markets are for us, sports bettors. There will be opportunities everywhere although some markets are much more attractive than others. Read on to find out which ones we believe are.
Tour Cycling Betting
One of the most famous aspects of professional cycling is the tour which peaks with the holy grail of cycling, The tour de France. If you are a casual cycling fan, the chances are is that you have probably heard of this event where the eventual winner receives the famous yellow jersey. These events last over several days so the best riders in the world make sure they schedule their calendar to be at peak condition for all the main events on the tour. This is why numerous UK and US online gambling real money sites have sports betting markets for these cyclists' events.
The best tour cycling events to bet on with the most prestige are:
There are other events on the tour with prestige also but some of the better-known cyclists do not compete in such events as they are no longer deemed career defining enough for them. And due to the nature of bike races, it is not like other sports where you can use events to warm up, because each tour is particularly grueling.
Most of the sports we cover have events that occur on a weekly basis. Cycling, on the other hand, does not which makes cycling betting a very different beast than tennis or golf which also have tour-like competitions.
Track Cycling Betting
Track cycling racing is a sport that involves cyclists speeding around banked tracks known as "velodromes" which are oval-shaped. Track races are extremely fast by nature, and a lot briefer compared to traditional road racing. Track cycling consists of a total of ten events, which are divided into groups such as Endurance, Sprint, and Combined. While all events take place at the World Championships, the Team Sprint, Keirin Cycling, Omnium, and Team Pursuit also take place at the Olympics.
Regardless of the type of cycling a bettor follows, the betting is usually the same. Bettors place their bets on the cyclists/teams they root for. That can either be a team, an individual contestant, or the country they are representing.
Track cycling in terms of betting is a form of cycling race that is most commonly affiliated with teams participating as countries since track cycling tournaments take place at the international level. A majority of these races are focused on which team will cross the finish line first. The wagers placed by bettors on track cycling races are usually ones rooting for specific nations.
Time Trial Cycling
Time trial cycling involves cyclists racing on a track by themselves in an attempt to record the fastest time. Team trial events are also held where the team attempts to obtain the fastest time they can. This can be thrilling as there is usually very little time between the runners and seeing cyclists cross the line with a fraction of a second within the time needed can lead to great drama.
The Omnium is a race that involves multiple events that can transpire over several days. It is equal to a heptathlon. Cyclists compete in several disciplines like scratch race, time trial, flying lap, individual pursuit, and points race. The rider that earns the most points throughout the competition wins. It is extremely difficult to specialize in all of these facets so the best riders from other disciplines rarely compete in this form of the sport.
Sprint cycling involves two, or sometimes even four cyclists starting next to each other. The goal is to beat the competing rider or riders to the finishing lines, but different tactics are involved. Another thing to note is that the contestants have to time their attacks as well as their works of defense.
Team Sprint Cycling
Team Sprint cycling involves two participating teams comprising three cyclists that begin at opposite sides of the track. One cyclist from each team is required to lead a lap and then takes off until there is one rider remaining from each team to sprint for victory. These races can be very dramatic and the winners will usually only be determined by a fraction of a second.
Keirin cycling is a type of race, originated in Japan, in which riders pursue a motorbike for a certain portion of the race. The cyclists are required to follow behind the motorbike, which progressively increases its speed. At one point, the motorbike will disappear, prompting the cyclists to sprint for the finish line. This type of race is meant to evaluate a cyclist's sprint capacity and endurance.
The main types of wagers for Keirin cycling are:
- Which cyclists secure first and second place, in order;
- First and second place in no particular order;
- First, second, and third places (random and specified order).
Mountain Biking Betting
Mountain bike racing is similar to traditional road racing except that it involves cyclists navigating off-road courses and complicated terrains. The racing events for mountain biking include:
- dirt jumping,
- free ride,
- trail riding, and
This sport has been included in the Olympics ever since 1996. The most popular events for mountain biking betting are the Enduro World Series, the UCI World Cup Series, and the UCI MTB World Championships.
BMX, which stands for "bicycle motocross," involves cyclists competing against each other on dirt tracks that consist of obstacles such as jumps. Although unexpected, BMX became a highly popular sport among numerous fans after being introduced in the 1960s/ This sport has been included in the Summer Olympics since 2008. Competitive BMX riding is a crucial part of the Olympics.
It involves eight riders racing around a one-lap track after lining up at a gate and being released from it. During larger events, the competition is further divided into three stages, i.e., the time trials, followed by the qualifiers, and lastly, the finals. The sport has also, since 1993, become part of the World Championships and the Union Cyclists Internationale, held every year. BMX sports come in different variations, such as:
- BMX Flatland,
- BMX Dirt,
- BMX Racing,
- BMX Street, and
- BMX Flatland.
Types of Cycling Bets
In cycling, there are a few betting markets you can bet on. Some of these markets will appear obvious to you while others will certainly be less so. Below are the major markets that you can expect to see at the bookmakers.
Individual Race Winner
The individual race winner is the most straightforward of cycling bets. Simply put you will be betting on who you believe will win the race. If they do so you will end up being victorious. Some of these events will be one-off races where the winner will be determined in one day while there are individual races that contribute to an overall event.
Example - Tadej Pogačar to win the Tour de France
Team Race Winner
Teams can compete in cycling events. Most fans at heart are mostly interested in which individual wins the race but who they compete for can go a long way to deciding how competitive they will be. For some events, there will be a separate competition where the teams can win by achieving the best results overall. This works in a similar way to the formula one model.
Example - Team sky to win the team championship
In some cycling events, the races are spread out over several days or weeks. Therefore it can be possible to place bets on who will be leading at several stages throughout the day. e.g. yellow jersey bets for the tour de France
Example - Who will hold the Jersey after Day 1?
Best Young Rider
Some events such as the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia have a best young rider classification. As the name suggests this award will go to a rider who has performed the best and are aged under 25. This is often looked upon as fans are interested to know
Example - Miguel Ángel López to be classified as the best young rider
Parts of tour cycling involve riding amongst and up mountains. This type of cycling requires a huge level of fitness and is said to be one of the most demanding aspects of professional cycling i.e. , King of the Mountain
Example - Who will be the King of the Mountain?
Once again during cycling events, there will be several disciplines that are both individuals while representing the overall championship. For example, there is a sprint section to the Tour de France where the best sprint riders in the world compete for this title.
Example - Mark Cavendish to be the sprint winner in the Tour de France
Cycling Competitions To Bet On
There are various cycling competitions available to bet on. All of these events vary in terms of status and this should have a massive effect on how you should bet. Down below are the most major cycling competitions in the world.
Tour De France
The Tour De France is the holy grail of cycling betting. The world's best cyclists compete over 23 days to see who comes out on top. Lance Armstrong helped bring the sport to the mainstream winning 7 of these events before he was disgraced after being forced to admit that he took performance-enhancing drugs.
The Giro d'Italia is a race that is held over three weeks. The Giro d'Italia has a vast variety of different classifications for all kinds of cyclists to compete in and try to win. The Giro D'Italia involves 21 different stages (which can occasionally be 20 stages) that form one entire route that stretches throughout Italy. The race also involves a trial (below 5 miles), with 2-3 rest days for the cyclists to recover.
The different types of bets for the Giro d'Italia consist of ones for the top ten, the outright winner, the top three, the cyclist's nationality, and the points winner.
Vuelta a España
The Vuelta a España is an annually held bicycle race that mainly takes place in Spain, but also occasionally makes passes through its neighboring countries. The event normally consists of 21 stages which include an extra 2 days for rest and runs for three weeks in total. 22 teams usually participate in the race, out of which 19 are entitled to take part.
The different types of bets for the Vuelta a España consist of ones for the outright winner, the cyclist's nationality, the top three, the stage winner, the top ten, and the points winner.
Cycling at the Summer Olympics
For most cycling events the peak of their sport comes every four years at the Olympics. The velodrome events are one of the highlights of the Olympics and the success of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy has helped make them legends in the UK. Because of the status of the Olympics, these athletes target such events for over 4 years so this should be factored in when you make such decisions.
Cycling Betting Strategy
If you wish to make money betting on cycling races you need to have some form of strategy. Most of these strategies below will focus on the things you will need to consider before placing any bet on the sport.
Use data on riders and teams
We don't dismiss the concept of using your instinct when placing a bet but one thing you cannot ignore is the power of using data to make top-quality decisions. If your instinct is not based on long-term success then you will ultimately fail. Using data will help give you some indication of how successful you can expect to be in the long run.
Specialise in a single type of cycling
All forms of cycling share the same principle, to be quicker than anybody else. However, the nature of all the variations of bets makes the different types of cycling events very different in nature. The skills it takes to win a gold at the velodrome compared to what it takes to win the Tour de France is almost incomparable, apart from some obvious similarities. Therefore using knowledge of one discipline to help you out with another one is unlikely to be very helpful.
Bet mostly during the three main tours
Betting on very obscure sports can bring with it some troubles. If you find a gem of a bet on one of these events go ahead and place it of course but finding such a bet might prove to be difficult. We prefer to bet on more major events because the markets have more liquidity and the bookmakers place more attention on such events. For this reason, you are much more likely to find good selections if you stick to betting on these markets.
Don't stake too much in exotic bets
Exotic bets are by their very nature unusual and not something you can build a consistent strategy on. From time to time you can place a bet on one of these bets but in the long run, you should avoid staking too much money on them.
Never use parlays and accumulators in cycling
Winning a cycling event requires a lot of things to go in the cyclist's favor. The odds are always appealing for this very reason. Therefore if you place parlay wagers and accumulator bets the chances of you being successful are probably more unlikely than the odds you will be receiving. Also, the races can be spread across several days so you will need to wait to learn if your bet is successful.
Focus on best climber and sprinter bets
These areas of cycling are very specific, therefore it can be easier to know what conditions will lead to a certain result. If you have knowledge of the sport you will be able to pick people who are seen as dark horses and you will also have an idea of who is in form and looking to focus on these specific areas of the sport.
Place bigger bets than on other sports
In cycling, there are simply fewer events to bet on every year. Therefore if you don't want to make a dent in your profits, you will have to bet more during the few events happening each year. This can in turn make cycling maybe one of the riskiest sports to bet on. This doesn't mean however that you should abandon your bankroll management strategies so please bear in this mind.
Betting On Cycling: FAQ
Answers to the most common questions about betting on cycling.
Can you make money betting on cycling?
You can certainly make money while betting on cycling but your overall success will be largely determined by several factors. Firstly your overall discipline and sense of bankroll management will be crucial to your success but they would also in turn be nothing without making good quality decisions.
Is the Tour de France good for betting?
The Tour de France is held over 23 days and this means it can take a long time for your bet to come off. There is no reason why you can't bet on it though but since it won't build a quick return it might not be ideal for any betting strategies that you plan on implementing.
What is the best cycling betting strategy to win money?
We would never recommend one specific betting strategy as there will always be some factors that will make the type of bet relative to your style or not. Overall though the best strategies will revolve around minimum risk.
Should you bet on teams or individual riders in cycling?
You can bet on both. You could make the argument that when you are betting on teams it is slightly easier as not everyone in the team needs to perform well but for more attractive odds it will always be best to bet on individual racing.
Betting on competitive cycling can prove to be very profitable but the same principles of betting will always remain. First of all, you need to make good selections and hopefully, this guide will help you think about what you will need to consider before placing any bet.