When you think of sports that are extremely popular at certain times of the year but not at others, cycling is probably one of the first to come to mind. During Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, cycling is quite popular with huge races taking place seemingly every week. In the Winter, however, there are fewer events and cycling seems to fade from popularity. Regardless of how true this may seem, the fact of the matter is that there are cycling events - and cycling betting - happening all the time, all over the world.
History of Cycling
When we talk about the history of cycling, we are really talking about the history of competitive cycling. By most accounts, competitive cycling is something that has been alive and well since the 1800s. Despite the bikes back then looking very different from the bikes we see being raced today, the sport still existed in much the same way. For a time, the most commonly raced bikes were known as velocipedes.
Though you may not know them by name, they are the type of bike that feature a front wheel which is significantly larger than the back wheel. As you might expect, they are a bit more difficult to control and, as such, the sport of cycling back then was a good bit more dangerous than it is today.
After some time, the style of the bike was modernized and the wheels were made to be of similar size. This led to less crashes and allowed riders to have more control over their bikes. By the early 1900’s, bicycle racing in velodromes became incredibly popular in places like the United States and Europe. For those who may not know, velodromes are oval tracks that feature banked turns. Cycles roll around velodromes at high speeds similar to how racecars move around a bankred Nascar track.
Though velodrome racing was popular in the US and Europe, in Europe it quickly became apparent that road races were the most popular. Long-distance races that often saw the race start in one city and conclude in another were all the rage throughout the 1900s. Nowadays, it seems as though road races are king of the hill. Though velodrome racing is an Olympic sport just like road racing is, it is the road races that catch all the attention outside of Summer Olympic years.
Top Cycling Events to Bet On
If you are new to the world of cycling, it would behoove you to familiarize yourself with some of the most popular types of cycling events. Below we will briefly introduce you to some of the world’s most prominent biking events.
UCI Road World Championships
The UCI Road World Championship is an annual event held in different parts of the world each year. The event takes place over the course of a week (7 days) and features a number of different road racing events. Simply put, the types of events featured at the world championships consist of those involving teams and/ or individuals. There are a few time trial rounds before the championship rounds play out.
The races are of varying length and can range from anywhere from less than 10 miles to races that are more than 100 miles in length. The type of course racers are subjected to really depends upon the host city of the year’s world championships. For example, races might not have to face as many vertical obstacles in a desert location as they might in a race that was taking place in the mountains.
The Giro d’Italia is a race that has been put on for what is soon to be more than 100 years. It is a multi-stage event that sees teams of racers complete a course that is more than 2,100 miles in length. Because of the different stages, races take place over the course of almost a whole month. The race is typically held from the first week of May to the last week of May. Because of Italy’s varying geography, this is one of the toughest races in the world. There are steep mountain climbs as well as plenty of flatland racing too.
Despite the race being named for and mostly held in Italy, riders may grace other sovereign lands as well. For example, the 2023 Giro began in the Netherlands and saw certain latter stages touch parts of France. With all that being said, this is, by far, one of the most popular cycling events of the year.
Tour de France
Founded in 1903, the Tour de France is not only one of the oldest road races in the world, it is also one of the most popular. The race takes place every July and does well to visit most every part of France. There is so much we can talk about with regard to the Tour, but the fact of the matter is that it is extremely popular amongst bettors. What’s more, it is one of the most grueling races in the world. There are long climbs, massive descents, and a host of other obstacles making the race extremely exciting as well as historic.
Types of Cycling Wagers
When it comes to the type of wagers that can be placed on a cycling event, there are really not that many different types. If we are talking about road races, you can bet on a number of different items. Most of these types of races take place in multiple stages, so you can wager on the outcomes of each and every individual stage. Or, you can bet on an overall winner after all of the stages have been completed.
In addition to betting on the out and out winning team of a road race event, you can also wager on the time in which a section of the race was finished. Added to that, you can also bet on whether a team will finish in any of a number of spots. For example, you could place a wager on whether Team A will finish in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. In this wager, the team in question can fnish in any of the three aforementioned positions and still come out on top.
Another example of a wager that can be placed before or during a road cycling event is with regard to the performance of just one racer. Though events like the Tour de France feature teams of multiple riders, you might want to wager solely on the results and outcomes of a single person. Lance Armstrong became a celebrity of sorts when he was dominating the Tour, and at that point in time there were a lot of people who were betting on his individual performances across different stages of the race.
If you have some insight as to what riders perform well in what circumstances, your options for wagering just opened up even further. For example, if you know that a rider does extremely well on long ascents, you might want to place some sort of wager on him before a particularly vertical stage of a given road race.