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Cycling has been in the headlines for a lot of the wrong reasons over the past month but it can be a great bet for the smart punter. While it can be very difficult to pick winners at reasonable odds and you may have to stick at for longer periods if you want success, it can be very satisfying when you pick a winner at good odds.
There are several types of races, all of which must be treated differently for cycling betting. The four main types are sprint stage, mountain stage, one-day race and time trial cycling betting. Different cyclists are suited to different types of stage. Here, we shall focus on the time trial stages.
In the time trial, it is important to look at the profile of the stage, the length of the time trial, and also the weather, often in relation to the start list. Particularly on the shorter courses, a change in the weather conditions can have a real impact on the results, but this is often not taken into account in the odds.
The ideal situation for time trial cycling betting is when the majority of the favourites are low down on the start list, starting later in the afternoon. If it starts raining around midday or early afternoon, it can become very slippery once the later riders set off, allowing a good cyclist who set his time earlier in the morning to win or place.
The perfect example of this came in the Paris-Nice time trial of March 2012. The likes of Tony Martin, Bradley Wiggins and Levi Leipheimer were expected to win the stage. However, after the morning riders had ridden, the Swede, Gustav Larsson, topped the leaderboard, having started at odds of 150/1. After lunch, the rain caused the big favourites to struggle, and Larsson ended up winning by one second from Bradley Wiggins, with the world time trial champion, Tony Martin, back in 28th place.
The shorter the time trial, the more of an impact this can have. The Paris-Nice time trial was only 9.4km, with a winning time of just 11 minutes and 19 seconds. The shorter the race, the more one single mistake can cost you. Similarly, taking one or two corners slightly more slowly to combat the slippery surface can lose you a couple of seconds, which might prove the difference in a short race.
The other major thing to look at when time trial cycling betting is the profile and course of the contest. Some time trials will be flat and almost perfectly straight, some may have multiple tight corners, while others will have hills to climb. Each of these different profiles will impact on which riders will likely set the fastest times.
As with any sport, it is really a matter of getting to know the styles of each rider and the type of course that fits their skill-set. The bookmakers generally go up with virtually identical prices regardless of the course or conditions, so there is often the chance to spot some value, which over the long-run, will lead to solid profits for your cycling betting. If you're looking to get involved in cycling betting be sure to check out our guide on how to claim some free bets!
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