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25.08.2023, 06:09
20.05.2024, 12:12

Cycling Betting Guide: Navigating the Race for Winning Bets

Velodrome vs Road Cycling: What's the Difference

Bookmakers usually offer lines on two disciplines:

  • track cycling
  • road racing.

Track Cycling

Types of track cycling events:

  • Scratch race: an individual speed sprint with standard distances of 15 km for men and 10 km for women.
  • Tempo race: a 40-lap race where points are awarded for leading each lap.
  • Elimination race: riders are eliminated at specific intervals, typically those who are last to cross the line during the intermediate sprints.
  • Points race: a mass start race covering distances up to 40 km for men and 25 km for women, with points awarded for leading at intermediate sprints.

Road Cycling

  • Road format involves long-distance races on hard-surfaced roads following various route types. Common types of road races include:
  • Criterium: an urban loop race with point accumulation, up to 50 laps and each lap ranging from 1-3 km.
  • One-day race: a route approximately 200 km long, designed for one day, featuring surfaces such as asphalt, cobbles, dirt, and gravel.
  • Stage race: competitions consisting of several one-day stages, with a winner determined at each stage.
  • Grand Tour: the most renowned and prestigious format of stage races, where athletes win prizes for best cumulative times and other achievements.

Major Cycling Tournaments

Bookmakers accept bets on Olympic cycling competitions, world track and road cycling championships, and three Grand Tours: the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, and Vuelta a España. Less frequently in the betting lines, players find mountain biking - races through hilly and mountainous terrain.

Tour de France

The most prestigious cycling tournament at the global level is the Tour de France. In July, participants cover 21 stages of the race across various regions. The organisers change the distance and route every year. Athletes ride between 3 to 4 thousand kilometres on asphalt and dirt roads through hills, lowlands, and mountainous sections.

Winners of the Tour de France in different categories receive coloured jerseys:

  • Yellow: for the athlete who ranks 1st in the overall time classification.
  • White: for the best young participant under 25 years old.
  • White with red polka dots: for the cyclist with the best performance in the mountain stages.
  • Green: for the sprinter with the highest point total.

Based on the 2022 cycling tour results, the winning team received 779,750 euros, with the total prize fund amounting to almost 2.3 million euros.

Giro d'Italia

The Tour of Italy, held annually for three weeks in May-June since 1909, is the second most important cycling race. Types of stages in the Italian race include:

  • Individual time trials,
  • Team time trials
  • Mass start stages.

A distinctive feature of the race is the challenging route, a significant part of which traverses mountainous terrain. Late spring weather in the Alps often surprises cyclists with wind, frost, and rain. Competing in this race requires endurance and foresight.

The race covers a distance of about 3,500 km across Italy and neighbouring countries. The winner is awarded a pink jersey.

The prize pool for the 2022 tournament amounted to 1.5 million euros, with the overall leader of the multi-day race receiving 265,000 euros.

Vuelta a España

"La Vuelta" or the "Tour of Spain" is an annual Spanish cycling tour held in August-September, concluding the season. It comprises 21 stages, with a significant portion of the route consisting of mountainous terrains in the Pyrenees. Regarding route difficulty, "La Vuelta" surpasses the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia.

Over the years, the colour of the leader's jersey has been changed several times. Since 2010, the winner has donned a red jersey.

In 2019, the winner of the Spanish Grand Tour received 150,000 euros, and the total payout to the winners exceeded 1 million euros.

Other Prestigious Cycling Competitions

Apart from the three major global tournaments, other popular cycling events include:

  • World Track Cycling Championship,
  • World Road Cycling Championship,
  • Tour of Flanders,
  • Tour de Suisse,
  • Tour Down Under,
  • La Primavera (also known as Milan-San Remo),
  • Six Days of Bremen.

The Mountain Bike World Championship features three disciplines: a cross-country marathon covering rough terrains spanning about 80 km, a downhill speed race with obstacle navigation, and a four-cross downhill sprint race.

The mountain biking champion is awarded a rainbow jersey.

Types of Bets on Cycling

Bookmakers include cycling in their betting lines during the season – from May to September when the three prestigious stage races and world championships occur. Bets can be placed in both pre-match and live formats.

Pre-Match Betting on Cycling

Advantages of pre-match betting:

  • A wide range of events and outcome options in the lineup.
  • Slow fluctuation of odds.
  • Ample time for research and forecasting.
  • The opportunity to find value odds and arbitrage situations ("sure bets").
  • No need to watch the races live.


Advantages of live betting on cycling:

  • Access to real-time information about the race progress, leaders, and participants' chances.
  • The opportunity to capitalise on delays in odds updates for profitable bets.
  • Timely hedging with additional bets when watching a live stream.

Features of Cycling Betting

Key Betting Dynamics:

  • Selective Events: Most bookmakers focus on primary, prestigious cycling events for their betting markets.
  • Predictive Complexity: Many factors, including weather, track conditions, and even team tactics, can influence a race's outcome.
  • Diverse Nominations: Not only is there a leader in cycling races, but awards and titles are also given across various categories, like the best young rider or mountain stage champion.

Critical Factors for Consideration:

  • Rider Potential: A high ranking sometimes equates to victory. Knowing a rider's strengths and weaknesses is essential.
  • Age Factor: As riders age, their physical capabilities might decline.
  • Race Type & Terrain: Some cyclists specialise in specific races or terrains.
  • Motivation: A rider's mental state can significantly affect performance.
  • Health Status: Injuries and illnesses can severely impact a cyclist's performance.
  • Weather Conditions can add complexity to a race stage and alter a cyclist's strategy.
  • Technical Advancements: Occasionally, teams deploy new technical strategies that can give them an edge.

Essential Resources for Bettors:

  • cqranking.com: Offers global rankings, statistics, and detailed rider information.
  • uci.org: The International Cycling Union's official website provides event calendars, results, and news.
  • worldvelosport.com: A hub for up-to-date cycling news.

In conclusion, betting on cycling requires a deep dive analysis and a keen understanding of the sport's nuances.

Types of Markets in Cycling Betting

  • Winner (or Race Winner): Betting which cyclist or team will finish first.
  • Podium Finish: Wagering on a cyclist or team to finish in the top 3 (or any other specific podium position).
  • Head-to-Head or Duel: Betting which of two selected cyclists will finish higher in the rankings.
  • Over/Under or Total: Betting on a particular race statistic, like the number of breakaways, average speed, or total time, to be over or under a given number.
  • Individual Outcomes: Specific bets tailored to a cyclist's performance, like whether a particular rider will win a mountain stage, achieve a specific time, or wear the leader's jersey by the end of a stage.

These markets offer a range of betting possibilities for cycling enthusiasts and punters to capitalise on their knowledge and insights of the sport.


Betting on the outright winner is the most popular type of cycling bet.

Predicting the winner of a one-day race or a grand prix stage is often easier than determining the overall leader of long-term competitions. The lineup of participants is known in advance, and bettors can find out about a rider's health status, injuries, and disqualifications beforehand. Typically, there are about 4-5 genuine contenders for the victory. When betting on a stage leader, fans track a cyclist's form based on the results of the previous race days.

Anticipating the outright winner of a multi-day race is challenging. There's a high element of unpredictability in cycling, especially during mountainous stages. Another complexity is the vast number of participants at the beginning of a tournament.

Seasoned bettors understand that most cyclists are domestics, serving the team leaders or captains. The absolute favourites for the victory can be found among these team captains.

"Podium Finishes"

This market involves wagering on a cyclist to finish within a set number of top positions at the end of the day, stage, or multi-day race.

Bookmakers offer bets on the top three, five, or ten finishers.


The bookmaker offers the bettor an opportunity to predict which of two cyclists will have a better finish in a race. When forecasting, assessing the preparation level and chances of just these two participants is crucial. The bet's outcome doesn't depend on an overall victory in the race or the day's results.


In the competition, participants accumulate points based on their race performance. The bookmaker offers the bettor an opportunity to place a bet on whether the cyclist will score the specified number of points or not. The bookmaker's client bets on the total points for the outcome of the entire competition or a specific stage.

Other Market Types

Betting on Individual Outcomes

At the bookmakers, you can place bets on various specific outcomes related to a cyclist's participation:

Duration of Participation

Bet how many days a cyclist will participate in the race.

Daily Classification Winners

Place a bet on the winners of daily classifications in specific categories.

Long-Term Bets

These include bets on:

  • Stage leaders.
  • Overall race leaders.
  • Best young rider in the competition.
  • Total number of yellow jerseys a cyclist will earn during the race.

Such bets often provide more variety and specificity, allowing bettors to rely on deep insights and knowledge about the race and its participants.

Effective Betting Strategies

While it's true that there's no infallible system or strategy in betting, especially in a sport as unpredictable as cycling, there are still strategies bettors employ to increase their chances of making profitable bets. Here are some common strategies used in cycling betting.

Betting on the Favorite

Players study statistics, analyse factors, and identify participants with a higher chance of winning. The downside of this strategy is that bookmakers set low odds for clear leaders.

Another option is to bet on the favourite in live betting when the athlete's victory is apparent. The challenge here is to choose the right moment to place the bet. In addition to reduced odds, bookmakers often stop accepting bets on the winner when their victory becomes evident.

Betting on Top Placements

The strategy is a variation of betting on the winner with insurance. If a supporter is confident that the cyclist will win, it's advisable to bet on the cyclist finishing in the list of prize winners. The odds are lower than for a win, but an accurate prediction increases the likelihood of the bet succeeding.


The player selects 2-3 athletes - potential winners in different races and places several bets. The bettor chooses odds so that if one bet succeeds, it covers the costs of the other bets.

Enhancing Odds on the Leader

The strategy is applied live. When the favourite falls behind, the bookmaker reacts by raising the odds. If a fan is confident that the athlete will make up for the lost ground and finish first, they can place a bet at a favourable rate.

Pros and Cons


  • A large number of markets.
  • The ability to bet during long competitions.
  • Presence of 3-4 clear favourites in each race.
  • High limits on prestigious tournaments.
  • Availability of information for analysis.
  • Live broadcasts of significant events.


  • Seasonality.
  • A limited list of competitions in the line.
  • Extensive listing only for major tournaments.
  • Unpredictability of competitions.
  • High margin.



To place a bet on cycling, players study the types of races and tournament regulations, identify strong athletes, and assess the chances of racers at each stage. Bookmakers offer a wide selection of events and outcomes during the season – from May to September.

Bets should be placed using financial strategies, as the element of chance plays a significant role in bike races.


What's the most common type of bet in cycling?

The most common type of bet in cycling is betting on the winner of a race or event. It's simpler to predict the winner of a single day or Grand Prix stage than the leader of long-term races.

Can I bet on a cyclist making it into the top rankings rather than just winning?

Yes, you can. The market allows bets on cyclists finishing in prize positions for the day, stage, or multi-day race. Bookmakers offer bets on the top three, five, or ten participants.

What does a "duel" bet mean?

A duel bet involves predicting which one out of two cyclists will perform better in a race. This type of bet focuses only on the results of the two chosen participants, regardless of their actual position at the end of the race.

Can I bet based on points earned by cyclists during a race?

Absolutely. Some bets revolve around the total points a cyclist accumulates during a race or stage. You can place a bet on whether a cyclist will score a specified number of points or not.

Are there long-term betting options available?

Yes. You can place bets on various long-term outcomes like the number of days a cyclist participates in a race, daily winners in different categories, the best young cyclist, and more.

How can I enhance my chances of winning a bet?

Bettors often study statistics, analyse factors, and calculate participants' chances to win. One popular strategy is to bet live when the apparent leader's odds increase due to temporary setbacks, anticipating their eventual recovery and win.

Are there any drawbacks to betting on cycling?

Like all sports, cycling betting has its challenges. The unpredictability of races, limited events on offer, high margins, and seasonal events can challenge bettors.


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