Jun 30, 2017
Jun 30, 2017

How to bet on cycling: The basics of cycling betting

Learn the basics of how to bet on cycling

Understanding different race types in cycling betting

Things to consider when betting on cycling

How to bet on cycling: The basics of cycling betting

Betting on cycling has become increasingly popular in recent years. Whether it’s an action-packed sprint or a month-long endurance test, once you know how to bet on cycling there are plenty of markets for bettors to choose from. Read on to learn more about cycling betting and the available markets at Pinnacle.

How to bet on cycling: The basics

The two main forms of competitive cycling are track cycling and road cycling. In order to learn how to bet on cycling, bettors should first understand the differences between these two racing formats and what to look out for when betting on either track or road cycling.

Track cycling is heavily influenced by aerodynamics - competitors will use different bikes, attire and riding positions to avoid drag during races.

Track cycling takes place on a banked track (also known as a velodrome) ranging from 150m to 500m in circumference - although there is no official ruling on the length of track, it must add up to 1,000m when the number of laps or half laps are multiplied by a whole number (333.33m is the most common).

Road cycling is an outdoor discipline that covers a vast range of distances. Race types can range from an 8km time trial to a multi-stage, 3,529km tour race - these races are usually over different types of terrain (cobbled streets, flat roads, mountain ranges etc.) and have classifications for riders who specialise in different areas (sprinters, climbers or all-rounders).

Understanding different race types

Track cycling races

Unlike other sports, track cycling mainly concerns countries competing at international level; the main events in this format are in the Olympics, Track Cycling World Championships and Track Cycling World Cup. The table below highlights the different types of races in track cycling;

Track cycling race types

Race type



Between 250m-1000m (usually one-on-one) - the winner is first past the line.


Individual or Team - starting on the opposite site of the track, the aim is complete the set distance in the quickest time possible or catch your opponent.

Scratch race

Usually 15km for men and 10km for women - simply a race to be the first across the line.

Points race

A longer distance race (25km or more) with points on offer for winning sprint sections and lapping other riders - the winner is whoever accumulates the most points.

Time trial

A race against the clock - the fastest time wins.


The initial speed is controlled by a motorised bike before it pulls away and riders race for the finish line.


A multi-discipline event where riders compete in a scratch race, individual pursuit, elimination race, time trial, quickest lap and points race.


Similar to a points race but riders compete in teams of two, only one rider is racing at a time but they can “sling-shot” their teammate to substitute them in during the race then they need a break.

The result of a race in track cycling is heavily influenced by aerodynamics - competitors will use different bikes, attire and riding positions to avoid drag during races.

Road cycling

The three types of races in competitive road cycling are single day races, individual time trials and stage races - the most well-known of the three. Stage races, also known as tours, are a great place to start when learning how to bet on cycling. The three main stage races in road cycling (known as the Grand Tours) are;

Tour de France

Arguably the most popular race amongst both spectators and bettors, the Tour de France is an annual multi-stage race (usually 21 stages) held in France. Teams comprise of nine riders each and compete for various classifications throughout the race.

Road cycling classifications



General classification

Single rider with the lowest overall time.

Team classification

Team with the lowest collective overall time.

Points classification

Rider who earns the most points for stage victories and intermediate sprints.

“King of the Mountains”

Rider who earns the most points for reaching checkpoints at the top of mountains first.

Young rider classification

The rider who qualifies as ‘inexperienced’ (usually under 26 years of age) and clocks the shortest time over the entire race.

The Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana (the other two Grand Tours) follow the same format as the Tour de France and take place in Italy and Spain respectively - another difference is the colour of the jerseys given to the ride who leads the individual classifications.

Giro d’Italia

Similar to the Tour de France and the first Grand Tour of the year, the Giro d’Italia is the cycling tour of Italy. Cycling purists will claim the Giro d’Italia is tougher than the Tour de France and places more importance on team tactics.

Vuelta a Espana

The Vuelta a Espana is the last of the three Grand Tours in the cycling season and is widely considered to be the least demanding. It is worth noting that this race comes soon after the Tour de France and just before the World Championships. 

Betting on cycling: Things to consider

If you don’t know how to bet on cycling, the most important thing to know before betting on multi-stage races is to understand the difference in the above disciplines. Competitors have particular strengths and weaknesses and will usually have their sole focus on one classification - only three riders have won all three individual classifications in the history of Grand Tour cycling.

Cycling purists will claim the Giro d’Italia is tougher than the Tour de France and places more importance on team tactics.

Secondly, team strength is incredibly important as it determines how much help riders will get or how much work they will have to do for their teammates - at the time of writing Quick-Step, BMC, Movistar, Sky and Orica are the top-five teams in the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) rankings.

A team with all-round performers may be likely to compete in the overall team classification, but riders aiming to win the individual general classification will need solid climbers to help pace them through tough mountain stages. Similarly, sprinters need help to ensure they are near the front for the intermittent sprint sections and stage finishes so they can earn points.

Cycling betting: Available markets

Pinnacle offers a variety of markets on all major cycling races. In addition to outright markets for main events, bettors can also choose from numerous classification and individual stage match-ups for the Grand Tours.

Want to learn about betting on other sports? Our how to bet on tennis and how to bet on baseball guides are a great place to start.

Betting Resources - Empowering your betting

Pinnacle’s Betting Resources is one of the most comprehensive collections of expert betting advice anywhere online. Catering to all experience levels our aim is simply to empower bettors to become more knowledgeable.