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Preview of the Tokyo Olympics Cycling Road Race With Betting Odds and Contender Analysis
Olympic cycling includes plenty of events but the road race mass start is arguably the most exciting among them. It’s also the earliest on the schedule for the Tokyo Olympics, with the men’s competition taking place on Saturday, July 24, and the women’s on Sunday, July 25.
The odds of the online bookies and the list of contestants are already out. I explore them in this Tokyo Olympics cycling road race betting preview and share my opinion on the main contenders in both competitions. I’ve also included some predictions.
Men’s Cycling Road Race Odds for the Tokyo Olympics
The list of contestants for the men’s event includes more than 130 names. It’s hardly a surprise that Tadej Pogacar is the favorite at Olympics betting apps after winning his second Tour de France recently.
The Slovenian won’t find it easy in Tokyo, though, especially since the track for the men’s road race will be very challenging. The 234 km come with a total elevation of 4865 meters and a bunch of climbs.
The beginning is flat, but once the 40 km mark has been reached, the race should become really wild. The strong climbers might have the advantage here, but the race ends with a downhill and a flat stretch, so the top sprinters could have the final word.
Top Contenders for the Men’s Cycling Road Race
Plenty of riders will enter the Tokyo road race feeling like they have a chance. It’s a one-day event, so anything is possible and we’ve seen some huge surprises in past editions.
However, there are several main contenders who should be stronger than the competition. Let’s take a look at them.
Tadej Pogacar, Slovenia
You simply can’t start anywhere else. Tadej Pogacar just won his second Tour de France and he’s only 22. It looks like the Slovenian will be the dominant figure in men’s cycling for the years to come.
Pogacar is a phenomenal rider who simply destroyed the competition in France and the big question here is if he has enough left in the tank to compete. No Tour winner has claimed gold at the Olympics in the same year in the history of the road race event.
While Pogacar is the kind of guy who seems destined to break all sorts of records, he’s still 22 and the Tour de France is extremely draining. I don’t think he will be able to perform well so close after the competition.
Wout Van Aert, Belgium
In my opinion, Wout Van Aert is the man to watch in the Tokyo Olympics cycling road race for men. The Belgian won three stages at Tour de France 2021, including the last two. The most remarkable part is that Van Aert won a time trial, a sprint, and a mountain stage!
He looked really fresh towards the end of the competition, and he wasn’t pushing in every stage like Pogacar. Van Aert is a solid climber and a great sprinter. I can certainly see him in one of the top positions before the last stretch and he could very well win with a strong finish.
Primoz Roglic, Slovenia
Another Slovenian that could fight for the title is Primoz Roglic. The veteran has been great in the past few years, winning two Vueltas and finishing second in the 2020 Tour de France.
He didn’t complete the race this year after a disappointing crash and that might work in his favor when it comes to the Tokyo Olympics. Roglic is probably the contender that had the most time to prepare and he might be fresher than the other top contestants.
The Rest of the Field
I can see several dark horses that might be worth your attention. Adam Yates focused solely on the Olympics after skipping a bunch of races this season and he might be dangerous.
The likes of Remco Evenepoel, veteran Alejandro Valverde, Joao Almeida, and Maximilian Schachman also deserve some attention. And yet, I think that their chances are slim compared to the three big favorites.
I’m not sure if Tadej Pogacar will have enough energy left after winning TDF and the odds for him are very low.
I like Van Aert and Roglic the most for obvious reasons. The Belgian is an extremely talented guy who can perform on any terrain, while Roglic had enough time to rest and prepare after crashing out of the Tour. If he managed to recover physically, he should be up there.
I’m predicting one of these two wins the race. The prices for the duo are high enough to back them both, which is what I recommend doing.
Women’s Cycling Road Race Odds for Tokyo
It would be close to impossible for someone to prevent the Dutch team from winning a gold medal in the women’s road race at the Tokyo Olympics.
In fact, it won’t be a complete shocker if all three medals end up in the Netherlands when it’s all said and done. But before we explore the main favorites, let’s take a look at the track.
It’s much shorter and with fewer climbs than the men’s route. The track profile favors all-rounders because it includes long flat stretches and few climbs.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most likely road race winners at the Tokyo Olympics.
Top Contenders for the Women’s Cycling Road Race
The big question here is if anyone can stop Team Netherlands. With so many quality riders from the same country, it will be very hard for the rest of the field.
The combination of individual talent and teamwork should be too much but you never know. Here are the top contenders.
Anna Van Der Breggen, The Netherlands
Many people expect another gold medal for Anna Van Der Breggen. The 2016 road race winner is in excellent shape and the track looks very well-suited for her strengths.
Van Der Breggen is an expert on flat and she is known for her strong finishing. If the Dutch favorite is in a good spot before the final flat stretch, it will be tough to stop her.
Annemiek Van Vleuten, The Netherlands
Another Dutch contestant that could easily go all the way is Annemiek Van Vleuten. The veteran has been a constant threat in women’s cycling since 2010 or so, winning a bunch of major competitions.
Van Vleuten is a complex rider that can perform on any terrain and she has plenty of experience. Furthermore, the veteran skipped a couple of races to focus on the Olympics.
She should be rested and ready to challenge which puts her in an excellent position in Tokyo.
Marianne Vos, The Netherlands
You would struggle to find many contestants that can compare to Marianne Vos in terms of achievements. She has 30 individual stage victories on Grand Tours alone which shows how dangerous the Dutch rider can be.
The problem for Vos is that she has the upper hand in climbing, while her main opponents are slightly better sprinters. With so many flat stretches, I believe that the track simply doesn’t favor her that well.
Other Possible Contenders
The fourth and youngest Dutch rider Demi Vollering is also a threat, but I think she might have to wait for her chance to fight for the gold. I expect the main strategy to revolve around the more senior members of the team.
Another two contestants that deserve a lot of attention are Elizabeth Deignan and Elisa Longo Borghini. They have the individual talent to compete for the medals, but they don’t have strong teammates like the Dutch.
The rest of the field will struggle to keep up with the Dutch and I will be surprised if another rider wins the gold.
I expect the Dutch to control most of the race and enter the flat stretch at the end of the track together. It’s going to get wild from there on and you would normally expect Anna Van Der Breggen to perform the strongest in the final sprint.
I believe that she or Van Vleuten will win the gold. I’d favor a bet on Van Vleuten due to the value in the odds, and also because she is so well prepared for the event.
More Olympics Cycling Betting
The road race is only the first event in the Olympics cycling schedule. We have the time trials and plenty of different track events that we will cover later on, so stay tuned for more odds, predictions, and analyses.
I also recommend checking our Olympic cycling betting guide for useful tips that can help you prepare your wagers.