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Tour de France betting odds boom
When Bradley Wiggins won the 2012 Tour de France it was a unique piece of history and the pinnacle for British cycling. It created a new wave of enthusiasm for the sport within the UK and saw cycling betting turnovers sore.
No British man had ever managed to lift the title since team road race cycling started in 1903 with the initial Tour de France. Since then, three Grand Tours have been established in the annual cycling calendar. Besides the Tour de France there is the Giro D’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. All three of these take place in the European summer in the months of July, May and August respectively.
This trio of events are the only multi-stage races that each last in excess of 14 days. All are a true test of a professional cyclist, and their team spirit as in the Tour de France, for instance, sees the cyclists cover over 3500km in 20 stages. Many other countries worldwide have their own Tour, but they are not given the same recognition as the big three with the Tour de France viewed as the highlight of the world cycling agenda.
Grand Tours typically last three weeks and they are a mix of stages that include time-trials, mountain stages, flat stages and team time-trials, they also tend to have two rest days.
Cycling is an individual sport but in multi-stage road races the team strategies and support are essential. Each team is made up of a culmination of sprinters, climbers, time-trialists, all-rounders and a team leader. Each event has a variety of prizes available throughout the race, and all the riders are not concerned with solely being the fastest. It gives many different betting sub-markets for the bookies to bet on, not merely who will be the outright winner.
The role of the team is to try to make sure that their captain is given the best chance to win the general classification competition, which is for the fastest rider overall. There are also competitions for the best sprinter, climber, young rider and team, with each being recognised with a different coloured cycling jersey.
The Tour de France is by far the biggest and most well-known cycling event in the world, but in recent years it has had its image tarnished by multiple doping scandals. Since its creation in 1903, the Tour de France has been dominated by five cycling greats: Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and most recently Lance Armstrong.
Each of this quintet has won the Tour over four times, with Armstrong having won on an astonishing seven occasions. American Lance Armstrong dominated in winning seven consecutive titles between 1999 and 2005, but has since been under the cloud of doping conspiracies.
Despite the emphasis on teams in the Grand Tours, the World Championships and the Olympics are very much individual prizes, but countries tend to work as a unit to give their sprinter the best chance of victory. In both championships, there is a road race and a time-trial.
The success of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France encouraged a rebirth of the sport in the United Kingdom and the cycling betting interest has followed this upward curve.