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Against the Odds: Rider of the year

As trailed on the podcast, some fake odds on Rider of the Year to mull over

UCI Road World Championships - Day Eight Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

One of the reasons that “against the odds” is possible in 2017 is that cycling is a huge growth sport in the English-speaking world in general, and the UK in particular – and therefore there are odds available for me to talk about for most major races. There will be some occasions, though, when it is fun to make predictions and no odds exist.

One example is the rider of the year. Whichever classification you want to use (VDS, CQ, PCS, UCI), there isn’t any market I can find for betting on a year-long competition to find the best overall rider. One bookie did offer this, once. Perhaps encouraged by seasonal generosity, or a surfeit of Bushmills, the compilers at Paddy Power offered odds on the rider of the year for 2014 on UCI WT points. I saw this as a different competition; how much money could I put on Valverde at 4/1 (yup, 4/1. 5.0. It was actually 6/1 when they opened) before they closed the market? The answer was quite a big number, but alas they haven’t repeated that generosity since.

So, for this one, we’re using fake odds for our fake bets. I’ll be your bookie – Honest Browny. Bear in mind, if this was real money, you’d be putting it in place before the Tour Down Under starts (Porte is your current UCI leader), and only collecting on successful bets after Guangxi in October, so it is a big tie-up of capital. There is, of course, an overwhelming favourite.

For each competitor, odds are given as decimals, fractions, and implied probability %. Please use the poll to suggest how you’d play, and the comments to explain why you’ve found the best bet and are hammering the bookies… are you willing to stake big on the favourite, or do you have a sneaky outsider that you like?

Sagan 1.8, 4/5, 56%

Valverde, 7, 6/1, 14%

Froome, 8, 7/1, 13%

Quintana, 9, 8/1, 11%

Van Avermaet, 15, 14/1, 7%

Kristoff, 15, 14/1, 7%

Cavendish, 26, 25/1, 4%

Izaguirre, 34, 33/1, 3%

Ulissi, 41, 40/1, 2%

Matthews, 41, 40/1, 2%

Aru, 41, 40/1, 2%

Chaves, 51, 50/1, 2%

66/1 bar (everyone else is priced at 67 or higher – odds are available on request). Total odds approximately 125%.