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Cycling was introduced to the modern Olympic games way back in 1896. Certain additions were made to the cycling category in 1980. Furthermore, professionals are able to take part in the Summer Olympics since Atlanta 1996. Only amateurs were able to compete before this point.
Road cycling is the most exciting discipline that falls under the cycling category. The races that will take part in Rio 2016 are extremely difficult, with 241.5km for men, and 130km for women. They are comparable to the most difficult stages of Tour de France or Giro d’Italia. The cyclists have to persevere through the harsh and steepest slopes if they want to come on top.
The routes are demanding, which is what makes the races that much more exciting to watch.
The Olympic tour consists of 4 parts. The starting point and the finish line are located in Forte de Copacabana. Once the starting gun marks the start of the race, the cyclists will have to endure 45km to the circuit Grumari where they’ll make 4 laps. This route consists of mild slopes, the coast of Grumari and the uphill section to Grota Funda with a gradient of 2.1% to 4.5%. Those who persevere will have to overcome yet another challenge, Canoas – Vista Chinesa. This is a climb 8.5km long with an average gradient of 5.7%. However, the most difficult section of the route is in the beginning with averages of 9.3%, 9.5%, 8.3% and 12% on the first 4km. After the 4th kilometer there’s going to be a decent in which the sprinters can show their skills. This won’t last long as a new slope awaits them towards Vista Chinesa with a gradient of 10%, but an average of only 5.1%. The final outcome will be settled here in this mountain course.
Climbers won’t have an easy task finishing first, as once the hills are over, there’s a flat section which allows the peloton to finally catch them. The host of the Olympics made sure every type of cyclist is given the chances to win the gold medal.
There’s also going to be a time trial race, it’s a race against the clock. It’s going to be 54.9km long for men, and 29.6km for women. The time trial will take place in Grumari.
The competition is rather high, but bookmakers tend to disagree with the odds they’re offering. Despite the common conception that cycling is an individual sport, it takes a lot of strategy, tactics and experience as a team to finish 1st on the finish line. The strongest teams have a 5 cyclists only (Germany, Belgium, Colombia, Spain, Britain and Italy). The more cyclists the team has, the bigger their advantage is. A break of the peloton could settle the gold medalist sooner than later.
Our favorite comes from Spain, Alejandro Valverde at odds of 5.00 in Bet365. Vincenzo Nibali is breathing in his neck with odds at 8.00. Right behind Nibali there are Froome at 9.00, Joaquim Rodriguez and Julian Allaphilippe stand neck a neck with odds at 13.00. Let’s not forget the outstanding climbers like Romain Bardet (17.00) who finished 2nd in the Tour de France, Wouter Poels (21.00) who’s in great shape or the Colombian aces Chaves, Uran and Henao.
Although it’s not as popular as the men’s race, cycling among women is becoming more popular each year. The men’s category has its own favorites and the outcome is easier to predict, whereas in the women’s category it tends to be rather unpredictable.
The biggest contenders for the gold are the selections coming from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Italy. All eyes are turned on the Dutch Anna van der Breggen, the best cyclist for 2015. This time around, she’s going to try to win the Olympic gold. Furthermore, the current world champion, the Brit Elisabeth Armitstead and Marianne Vos, who won the Olympic gold in London are Breggen’s fiercest competitors.
Megan Guarnier from the USA, Emma Johansson from Sweden and Elisa Longo Borghini are always a threat. The favorites better pay close attention to them.
As we mentioned earlier the Grumari route is rather demanding, especially in a time trial race where each competitor fights for himself. Chris Froome is the ultimate favorite this time around. The odds average at 1.85. His biggest rival for the Olympic gold in the time-trial race is the Tony Martin from Germany with odds at 7.00. The famous Fabian Cancellara sits way down in the sportsbook with odds at 19.00. He is the winner of the gold medal in Beijing 2008.
Sprinters are a rare breed, especially with the surge in climbers over the past decade. Nevertheless, climbers should have the edge to prove their worth. Other cyclists that should be considered before placing a bet are Kiryienka from Belarus (17.00), Rohan Dennis (9.00) from Australia, Spanish Jonathan Castroviejo (51.00) and Ion Izaguirre (26.00).
Anna van der Breggen is the favorite in the time trial women’s race as well. The odds for her to win the time trial average around 2.60. Linda Vilumsen sits behind her with odds at 5.00 followed by the American Kristin Armstrong and the German Lisa Brennauer (7.00).
Bookmakers are making an attempt to offer the most realistic odds possible. However, they rarely manage to predict accordingly. Use this to your advantage if you have some information that might improve the accuracy of your bet.