The UCI Road World Championships in Florence start on Sunday 22 September 2013 and both main events – the elite men’s time trial and the elite men’s road race – are fascinating from a betting perspective, especially the race of truth.
Bookmakers have agreed amongst themselves that only four cyclists have a legitimate chance of winning the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial – Tony Martin, Bradley Wiggins, Fabien Cancellara and Taylor Phinney. The bookmaking fraternity is betting odds of 81.00 bar those four cyclists and one of them – Phinney – is a relatively large outsider at odds of 15.00 with Bwin. So, really, it shapes as a battle between Martin, Wiggins and Cancellara.
That is what makes the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial such a good contest on which to bet, not least because one can make decent cases for potting two of the contenders, with both Wiggins and Cancellara opposable.
Wiggins had an annus mirabilis in 2012, taking out several major races in the lead up to the Tour de France, becoming the first British cyclist to win the world’s most famous cycling competition and finishing off with a brilliant London 2012 Olympic Games time-trial ride to claim gold.
But Wiggins has had an annus horribilis in 2013. He bombed out in the Giro d’Italia after performing ordinary in some early-season races and elected not to race in the Tour de France that he had won 12 months earlier. Wiggins has shown some signs of form in the Tour of Britain but the cycling knight looks under the odds at 3.25 with Bwin.
Unlike Wiggins, Cancellara is a gun time triallist in top form. Cancellara, who won the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, took out the only individual time trial of the recent Vuelta a Espana in emphatic fashion, stopping the clock 37 seconds faster than Martin and 84 seconds faster than anyone else.
But Cancellara is on the record saying that the elite men’s time trial is not his primary UCI Road World Championships target. Cancellara has spent the entire season working his way towards arriving in peak condition for the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s road race even though, according to most cycling analysts, the course for that event will not suit the Swiss as well as some of the peloton’s better climbers. More about that shortly.
So with Wiggins not having performed sufficiently well in 2013 to warrant his exalted place in the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial market and Cancellara not having his mind totally on the job, Martin stands out from the crowd at top odds of 2.25 with Sky Bet. Martin is odds on with some bookmakers and one can understand why.
Martin has won the last two editions of the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial, including defeating both Wiggins and Cancellara in 2011. Martin smashed the Copenhagen field, finishing 75 seconds ahead of Wiggins and an additional five seconds in front of Cancellara. Martin’s main target this year has always been the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial and one can forgive his Vuelta a Espana loss to Cancellara because six days earlier he had emptied his legs in an incredibly brave try to win the sixth stage. Martin led the 175-kilometre stage from start to within metres of the finish and, while he did not get the chance to stand on top of the presentation podium, he did receive the ideal competitive workout for the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial.
The UCI Road World Championships elite men’s time trial will take place on a much flatter course than the Vuelta a Espana one on which Martin lost to Cancellara. The Florence track will not play into Cancellara’s hands anywhere near as much.
Cancellara is the marginal favourite to win the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s road race, with the Swiss trading at odds of 5.00 with Bet365. But the Florence course does not resemble one on which Cancellara could ride away from the peloton. There is not a clear-cut bet in the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s road race but odds of 26.00 with Bet365 about the world’s best road cyclist, Chris Froome, are attractive.