History of cycling

Cycling is a sport that has grown hugely in popularity in recent times. Competed across a variety of disciplines, such as on the road or on the track, cycling is a sport that has some big stars. Olympic cycling has become one of the most popular sports to watch and is a huge fixture within any Olympic programme. But where did it all start?

Bikes have been around for centuries, and people have always raced them. Road cycling is the most popular discipline, and the first organised races began midway through the 19th century. Road cycling has always been huge in Europe and some of the events that we still have today originated from when the sport first rose to fame. Events such as the Paris-Roubaix (1896), Tour de France (1903), Giro di Lombardia (1905), Milan-San Remo (1907) and Giro d’Italia (1909) are still some of the biggest events today.

Road cycling can take the form of many different events – for example, there are historical single-day races that still have huge significance and the famous Grand Tours such as the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia that can last weeks.

Perhaps surprisingly, track cycling in a velodrome has also been in existence for almost as long, with the first velodromes built in the 1870s. The designs of the velodromes haven’t really changed, with the tracks still containing two banked corners and two straights, though obviously, the bikes and technology have changed dramatically. A dedicated World Championship is dedicated to track cycling, and some of Britain’s most decorated Olympians such as Chris Hoy and Laura and Jason Kenny have all dominated in the velodrome.

What is cycling?

Those unfamiliar with cycling might be surprised to hear that it is a vastly complex team sport. For example, on the Grand Tours such as the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia, teams are set up around one rider. To win these tours, a cyclist needs to be a great all-rounder – they need to be able to succeed in the mountains but also be quick enough to compete in the individual time trials. For the tours, teams will be comprised of around eight riders, and these riders will all specialise in different things. There will be cyclists who are sprinters and cyclists who excel in the mountains. These riders will help their star rider through the tour by getting them supplies, drafting for them, or pursuing rivals. Although an individual rider will win the Tour de France, it isn’t possible without a good team around them.

Betting on cycling

Although cycling isn’t one of the most popular sports to bet on, there is still a variety of markets for those who want a flutter. Like most sports, punters can make simple bets on win markets such as predicting who will win the tour or race. In a race such as the Tour de France, as well as the main winner, punters can bet on who they think will win the King of the Mountains, or who will win the sprint crown or young rider. This makes it a prime sport for anyone trying to sniff out a superdog pick!