tour de france

Cycling Betting 2

FOLLOW THE MEN IN FORM Since 1989 only six men have won what I consider to be the most awesome sporting event of them all. And since 1999, of course, the race has belonged to one man - the remarkable Lance Armstrong, whose recovery from cancer that required brain surgery to win a record six Tours is probably the most incredible story in the history of sport.

The Texan began his epic sequence by making pre-race odds of 8-1 look stupid with a brilliant display in the first long time trial and by the time he had left his rivals spread-eagled in his wake on the opening mountain test he was virtually unbackable, providing further evidence to one of my principal rules of cycling betting - namely that if a rider shows form early on in the mountains, he must be treated with the utmost respect for the rest of the race.

That might sound obvious, but it is amazing how many punters prefer to assume that because a rider has given his all to win a particular mountain stage, he will pay a price for his exertions on subsequent hard days.

It tends not to work like that. If a rider shines in the first mountain test he is likely to retain a high performance level at high altitude simply because he is in form, just as a rider who toils from the word go is almost certainly struggling with his condition (and, let's face it, in a sport as tough as this, you cannot blame a guy for having a hard time) and will do very well to suddenly turn it around and start performing to a standard his pre-race odds might suggest he is capable of.

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