Where is Cycling the Most Popular Sport?

Bicycle racing is an Olympic sport and quite the popular one in fact. It has widespread popularity in Europe, especially in countries like Belgium, Denmark, France, and Spain.

Belgium

Cycling is incredibly popular in Belgium where a number of important cycling races are held. The sport is governed by the Royal Belgian Cycling League. The best Belgian cyclist of all time is Eddy Merckx and he has won the Tour de France five times along with Giro d’Italia five times, and one Vualeta a Espana. The “Cannibal”, has a huge list of accolades and it would take a while just to name them all. But being the best Belgian says a lot because the Belgians have been one of the most successful nations to compete in the sports since its inception. Likewise they host one of the oldest races from Liege-Bastogne-Liege, first held in 1892.

Denmark

Cycling is extremely popular in Denmark and it is considered to be one of the best cyclist-friendly countries due the infrastructure in place and the flat land. The sport of cycling has received some bad press in recent years due to doping scandals. Although, there has been negative press the sport has not lost its popularity in the slightest in the country. One of the most successful Danes to ride the bike has been Thorvald Ellegaard who won six sprint titles, three European titles, and twenty-four Danish titles.

France

Every July, lasting three weeks, France hosts the Tour de France. It is one of three of the most prestigious grand tours. Attracting over twelve million people and is therefore one of the most popular cycling events around. France has won their own event thirty-six times in the history of the event. The gruelling 3,500 kilometre race varies its course from year to year but almost always ends at the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The very first winner of the French event was French himself by the name of Maurice Garin. Sharing the place for five Tour de France wins are between Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain. Both Jacques and Bernard are French competitors.  

Spain

Around 20% of Spanish people list cycling as their main mode of transportation and the country does have some cycling infrastructure put in place to make it easier and safer for cyclists to move about. The Tour of Spain is one of the most important cycling events in the world. Miguel Indurain is Spain’s most gifted cyclist winning the Tour de France five times. Miguel’s physique earned him his nickname “Miguelon” or “Big Michael” because he was 1.88m and weighed 80kg. His hour record, achieved in 1994, was a whopping 53.040km.

How Do VR Casinos Work?

VR Casinos are an emerging industry based on the latest developments in VR technology. Until recently, gamblers had only two options: online casinos and land-based casinos. Online casinos offer the convenience of playing from home, whereas land-based casinos simply have the added touch of glamour that makes for a richer casino experience.

VR Casino games combine the comfort of your home with the feeling of being in a real casino, to produce an immersive, interactive, multiplayer, 3D experience for players. Is it already incredibly life-like and soon it will be even more, as the technology leaps forward and the old gaming technology slowly becomes obsolete. With the VR tech becoming more affordable, analysts predict that the total amount of bets made via VR casinos will reach almost $520 billion by 2021.

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So far, the VR Casino industry has produced several great games, with much more expected to be released in the future, due to an increasing number of VR compatible iGambling platforms being rapidly developed.

Social Club VR: Casino Nights, developed by Perilous Orbit, and released on 22 June 2018, is a fine example of the latest developments in the industry. The game supports Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. It lets you play Blackjack, Texas Hold’em Poker and Roulette, as well as Chess and Backgammon, and three different shooting games! You can play privately with your friends, online with other players around the world, or against the AI in the single-player mode. The game looks simply stunning, and it lets you customize your avatar, the music (you can set up your own YouTube playlist) and the surroundings. The more you play the more (virtual) chips you earn. These can be used to further personalize the game or treat your friends with a little something.

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Frankie Detorri and Calyx Dominate Royal Ascot

The most elite competition in the UK and one of the most valuable races in the world is currently taking place in Ascot, Berkshire. Royal Ascot is also a high-society event of the year, its tradition stretching back to 1711, when Queen Anne announced that the field is to become a place for races. Today, it is an opportunity for ladies and gentlemen to wear some very fancy hats and enjoy the said races.

This year, the five-day event started on Tuesday 19 June, and will last until Saturday 23 June.

The opening day of Royal Ascot saw the 47-year-old jockey Frankie Detorri win three races: in the Coventry Stakes on Calyx, in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Without Parole, and in the Wolferton Stakes on Monarchs Glen. The second victory made him third-most successful Royal Ascot jockey of all time, preceded only by Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery.

On Day 2 we had Expert Eye winning the Jersey Stakes and Settle For Bay winning the Royal Hunt Cup. Most shockingly, everyone’s favourite Cracksman was outrun by Poet’s Word in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, making Sir Michael Stoute the winning-most trainer in the history of Royal Ascot, with 76 triumphs. Stoute commented: “It’s a relief because we were stuck on it [75 winners] last year. It [Royal Ascot] is special to every trainer. We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of nice horses over the years.”

Another notable victory was accomplished by Aljazzi, who finished first in Duke of Cambridge Stakes, under Buick.

The Ladies Day saw Stradivarius, an offspring of 2009 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Sea The Stars, take the Gold Cup under Frankie Detorri. Vazerabad and Torcedor finished second and third, respectively. This is Detorri’s sixth Gold Cup and after the race he said for the BBC: “”He was a lion, he fought everything off. The crowd lifted him. I just wanted to time it right. I come alive here, I love it. To win the Gold Cup again, which is the showcase race of the week, is just amazing.”

Friday’s schedule (source: BBC)

14:30: The Albany Stakes (Group 3) 6f

15:05: The King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1m 4f

15:40: Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) 6f

16:20: Coronation Stakes (Group 1) Old mile

17:00: Sandringham Stakes (Listed) (Handicap) 1m

17:35: Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) 1m 4f

Tour de France 2018 Favourites and Underdogs

Tour de France 2018 is the 105th edition of the prestigious cycling event and will take place 7-29 July. The route will start at Noirmoutier-en-l’Île and finish at Paris Champs-Élysées. The race will consist of 21 stages, for a total distance of 3,351 km. The route is meant to test cyclists’ ability to adapt to all terrains. There will be 8 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 6 mountain stages, 1 individual and 1 team time trial and 2 resting days. Out of total 26 climbs, 12 will be in the Alps, 4 in the Massif central and 10 in the Pyrenees. 22 teams will take part in the race and each will have 8 members, for a total of 176 riders.

There will be 9 new cities that have never been on the map of Tour de France before. Finally, the biggest innovation in rules is the 3, 2, and 1 bonus seconds that will be awarded to the first three riders who reach a specific mark, from the Grand Départ till the 9th stage.

According to the bookmakers, Chris Froome has the best chance of winning the competition. Froome is a thirty-three-year-old British cyclist, and the four-time winner of Tour de France. He is also the current champion of Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. He won Tour de France race last year and the year before and there is no reason to suppose that the Yellow Jersey won’t be his once more. You can bet on him at odds 2/1.

You can also bet on the winner without Froome, to make things a bit more interesting. Other two favourites are Australian Richie Porte at odds 4/1 and Colombian Nairo Quintana at odds 8/1. Porte’s biggest achievements so far are a two-time victory at Paris-Nice and recent victory in the Tour de Suisse, where he outperformed Quintana. The new Tour de France route suits him, as he is a good climber and time trialist.

Quintana, aged twenty-eight, known as “the condor from the Andes”, is famous for being an excellent climber with incredible stamina, something that he will definitely need at Tour de France. He finished second in Tour de France in 2013 and 2015, and is expected to be at least among the first three to finish.

Even riskier bets are Mikel Landa, Tom Dumoulin and Vinzenco Nibali at odds around 10/1. If you like rooting for the real underdogs who might surprise you, consider Geraint Thomas, Jakob Fuglsang or Romain Bardet. Bookmakers are giving them odds 16/1.

Bookmakers favour Dylan Groenewegen as the most likely winner of stage 1 at odds 5/2. In 2018, Groenewegen already won Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne event, Stages 1, 3 & 4 in Tour of Norway, Stages 1 & 4 in Volta ao Algarve, Stage 2 in Paris–Nice, Stage 1 in Dubai Tour and Stage 2 in Tour of Slovenia.

If you want to bet on the green jersey winner, the favourite is Peter Sagan at odds 1/2. The Slovak cyclist is the winner of a number of prestigious competitions and the Tour de France points classification five times in a row, from 2012 to 2016. Sagan is just one win behind Erik Zabel’s record of six and it is almost inevitable that this year he will claim the record.

The most important cycling competitions and tips on how to bet on them

When the first bicycle race took place in 1868 in Paris, France, nobody dreamt of cycling becoming a popular sport, and definitely nobody suspected it would turn out to be an Olympic discipline! However, it rose in popularity fairly quickly, gathering large groups of people to watch exciting one day races or staged races that last a couple of days.

If you are only getting into the world of cycling competitions, you might need some help on which races you must watch. The answer is fairly simple – all the races belonging to the Grand Tours are a must! If you are also looking how to bet on them, we’ll help on that as well!

Giro d’Italia

Giro is one of the most well-known races in the cycling world, more than a hundred years old! It features three different types of stages over the course of three weeks of merciless racing! The cyclists only get two days of rest – other 21 days they cycle either in mass-start stages, individual or team time stages, which is how they are compared and given certain amounts of points. This spectacular race is held during the end of May and goes into mid-June. The race is famous for the pink jersey that is worn by the leader of the race of the general classification.

Vuelta a España

The second giant of the Grand Tours is Vuelta, the big race of Spain! It attracts more than a million viewers every year, which is an enviable number. It has the same length as Giro d’Italia, in the normal format of 21 racing and 2 rest days. Vuelta is adored by more and more people in the UK and the US especially because there are great betting opportunities for these races. Vuelta is not as old as Giro, with barely 70 years under its belt, but it offers great entertainment nonetheless. In contrast to Giro, the leader in Vuelta gets the red jersey, which is color often associated with Spain and passion – definitely symbolic! It is interesting to know that most winners in Vuelta actually came from Spain – thirty-two of them! Vuelta is usually run during August and September, so make sure to catch it!

Tour de France

Maybe it seems logical that the most famous and the most viewed event is left for the last mention – it is of course Tour de France! The famous French race for cyclist is the oldest of the three Grand Tours, with its one hundred and fourteen years of existence. Every July, the whole world turns to France and its roads to watch the best cyclist ride around the beautiful country and compete for the prestigious title. One of the best things about Tour de France is that the audience gets to see them go through both the Alps and the Pyrenees. Amazing landscape is only topped by breathtaking turns and twists in the races. The most titles have gone to the French, but lately the UK’s Chris Froome has been winning pretty comfortably.

Betting on these events

Betting on these events might be tricky – you should follow all the races before the Grand Tours and keep a record of cyclists’ performance. Looking at odds will not help you unless they match the data of previous races, and even then, there are always dark horses who might take away the trophy! Make sure to follow insider sites with information on the form and stamina of cyclist, as well as day to day coverage of the event. And remember, you don’t have to bet on the final outcome, you can also bet on individual stages!