Tour de France Betting

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Every year distance cyclists brave mountains, hills and fast-paced flats to be crowned the champion of Le Tour de France. But with 20 teams competing, 21 grueling stages to navigate, and plenty of twists and turns, there's plenty for punters to capitalise on along the way.

As with all cycling stage racing betting, gambling on Le Tour de France begins with an assessment of whether the top contenders merit their low odds in the general classification winner market.

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Low-Priced Favourites

Like most individual sports, cycling is prone to low-priced favourites: and if you judge that they are likely to triumph, you'll only be in for returns in the region of evens. Before the 2013 race started, eventual winner Chris Froome was available at just 4/5 at Betfair Sports; while closest rival Alberto Contador was 3/1, with the rest of the pack trailing at over 30/1.

What to Consider

To judge whether such odds are worth a punt, or whether to turn to unfancied underdogs, it's important to think about:

  • Form | the favourites' performances in recent stage races like the Tour of Oman, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné; as well as Grand Tours the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España
  • Times | as well as tracking victories, the times riders clock up in stages and time trials are vital to work out whether their stock is rising or falling. Bradley Wiggins' victory in the tour was presaged by years of impressive time improvements at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, for example
  • Injuries | a season disrupted by injury could jeopardise a riders' chances, and should push odds out. Luxembourgish rider and former general classification winner Andy Schleck is evidence of the damage an injury can do
  • Team | riders need a supportive team. Wiggins' 2012 victory may not have been possible without the work put in by Froome, so check the reputation and performances of potential winners' teammates

If the spread in the Tour de France winner market looks daunting or unrewarding, there are several other cycling betting markets that represent good value.

Riders in Yellow Market

Betfair Sports offer odds on the number of riders who will wear the Yellow Jersey, awarded to any rider who leads the general individual time classification at the end of a stage to wear for the next stage. Odds on over/under markets are generally around evens, and should be assessed by the strength of the top riders in the stages.

As the race approaches, punters can also bet on individuals to win a stage, with odds fluctuating as the race progresses. This is a great way to capitalise on in-depth knowledge of individuals' speed and stamina over specific terrain.

Team Classification

Traditionally far more competitive and unpredictable than the general classification winner, the team classification is awarded to fastest team performance.

Before the 2014 race, seven teams had odds of between 3/1 and 4/1 at Betfair Sports, and deciding between them is a complex matter of judging the quality, pace and stamina of each member of a team: but it's worth it to land potentially big wins.

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