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.

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!

Top 5 professional racing bikes in 2018

Riding a bike brings great benefits to your health and stamina, but if you are interested in doing it professionally and not just for fun, then you need to pick the right bike for you very carefully. There are many things you should think about, so here is a simplified list that can make it easier with several suggestions from us.

Trek Emonda

This bike is less than a year old, but it will prove difficult to beat for a long time. This Trek Emonda is special because of its carefully measured weight. Every cyclist knows it is one of the most important things to pay attention to, but here it is even more impressive because of the Trek-Segafredo’s added mechanics. This bike will definitely be used by the winners of big races in this year. One of the best features of this bike is that it has fast reaction time, and it will allow for great maneuvers. For great performances, chose this bike, but be ready to pay extra!

Pinarello Dogma

If you are looking for a bike that is light and all-around in terms of control and handling, choose Dogma without any doubt! It was driven by Chris Foome on Tour de France – and this testifies to the quality of this bicycle. It has dual-sided power meters – and sleek design that puts it above all others in the visual aspect. The weight frame is incredible – barely going over 800 grams! The new version – F10 – will definitely be a prominent bike this year.

S-Works Tarmac Ultralight

This is the newest version of Specialized Tarmac and it comes with outstanding Roval wheels of 50 millimeters. Additionally, it packs ultralight frame with futuristic design which improves aerodynamics significantly. The new Tarmac boasts special fork design and black and orange color scheme which works perfectly. The good thing is that this bike will be available somewhere south of two thousand Euros, even with all the latest improvements.

Canyon Speedmax

The first sign of the new identity that the Canyon Speedmax is promoting is the change in the color and paintjob. Darkish blue and black colors dominate the mystical and powerful design of the new Canyon Speedmax. If there was ever a perfect bike – this is the one, but the price reflects it quite well. The geometry of the bike is out of this world – it even features the adjustable rake that allows for greater adjustments than ever! Improved aerodynamics will boost the performance to the max and allow for amazing time on the racing track!

Cervélo S5

Another serious contender for this year’s winners favorite is Cervelo S5 which now, more than ever, puts focus on speed improvement. It guarantees increase in speed on road, through the combination of many step-by-step improvements across the frame. It is a bike that will not betray you on this field, but that does not mean it fell behind in the visual segment: it offers a wide array of color schemes, with black and red being the crowd’s favorite.

The biggest role-models in the world of cycling

The world of cycling had considerable problems with its image after the big turmoil that was caused by Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal. The whole cult built around his personality was dispersed after the news of his abuse of substances, which led to the crisis where the position of the cycling role model was left empty. However, now there a few suitable candidates that can pick this position and promote both cycling and positive life values to the whole world. These are the people who promote healthy life and good values, always looking to improve themselves, thus setting a great example.

One of the most respected members of the cycling community is Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas, who is at the moment in the Movistar team. His success in cycling is huge – he won two out of three Grand Tours, and several classifications across all three, with many stage races. But where he really shines is his dedication to helping and improving the society! His biggest efforts go to promoting gender equality and helping women in Colombia. He learned his greatest lesson when he was fifteen – he was hit by a car and he ended up in a coma for several days. However, his father always believed in his cycling potential and he helped him succeed by investing in him and helping him along the way. That is why Quintana is so ardent in his efforts to help others now he is in such a position. He is also creating positive health and body images, with his stamina and dedication to healthy diet.

Another potential role model could be the big star of cycling, the UK’s Chris Froome. This Vuelta and Tour de France winner has been very outspoken against doping and drug use. Even though he was accused for using different substances to improve his performance, Froome never fell under any doubt, with the exception of the 2017 case where he had to take medicine for his asthma problem. However, he was cleared of any guilt in that case. He was even made an officer of the Order of the British Empire due to his excellence in cycling. But his greatest activist achievement is in the position of the ambassador of the United for Wildlife conservation project, which is aiming to save many endangered animals. On several occasions, he put stickers of endangered animals such as rhinos on his bikes and tried to raise awareness of the problems surrounding endemic species. If this isn’t enough to convince you, Froome, who was born in South Africa, participated in the race #United4Mandela which celebrated Mandela’s social activism in that country.