Cycling events are often dominated by a few names and when somebody reaches the pinnacle of the sport, it is often fair to assume they are going to be a good bet at pretty much every race.
However, there are occasional underdog stories where the winners seem to come out of nowhere and leave the rest of the field in their wake. Sometimes, this becomes the start of a hugely impressive career and at other times, it is a one-off event where someone just manages to put in the performance of a lifetime.
It is hard to find an underdog to gamble on, but when you do, being able to find the best odds in sports betting can further your winnings and ensure you get the best possible return on your stake.
Mads Pedersen’s surprise win in the Worlds
Mads Pederson gave us one of the most surprising underdog wins of recent years in the 2019 World Championship road race in Yorkshire. He was looking promising, with over 40km left in the race. Pederson, the favorite for the race, Matteo Trentin and Stefan Kung were leading in a group as the race drew towards its conclusion.
Even on in-play betting, all of the money would surely have been on Trentin. His record in sprints at the end of longer events is unbelievable. However, Pederson would go on to become the first man from Denmark to surprise us all with his immense sprint finish and win a Worlds road race title.
Underdog Anna Kiesenhofer shocks at the Olympics: clinches gold in cycling road race
This is one of the interesting tales of cycling road races at the Olympic games. Those who were watching cycling at the Tokyo Olympics will have enjoyed this one.
The women’s road race included some incredible names and competitors. The Austrian Kiesenhofer proved herself to be one of them but was not really fancied before the race got underway. In fact, she got off to an amazing start, taking the lead inside 11km.
There was a cluster of five riders who broke away in the field of 67, and 19 didn’t even manage to finish the race. The grueling 137km race was even more difficult due to the fact that there was an incredible heatwave, making conditions hard for all.
With 41km left, Kiesenhofer would pull away from the pack. There was actually an awkward moment when the Dutch team thought that Annemiek van Vleuten had won, as she had also broken away from the group. However, she had not even realized that Kiesenhofer had already crossed the finish line before her.
She had to settle for silver, with Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini taking home the third-place bronze medal. The fact that some didn’t even realize that the gold medalist had broken away shows the dominance on display.
Four of the five who temporarily led the race, including Carla Oberholzer (South Africa), Vera Looser (Namibia), Omer Shapira (Israel), and Anna Plichta (Poland), all dropped down the rankings, with some not even managing to finish this tough road race. This is truly a great underdog story.
Vasil Kiryienka wins in Richmond at UCI Road World Championships
Now retired, Kiryienka put a cap on his career with a fantastic win at the time trial in 2015, after managing a brilliant time of one hour 22 minutes and 29 seconds.
He was 34 at the time, coming towards the end of his career, and he had always played second fiddle in the past, spending his time in the background and serving team leaders, but he finally got the chance to show what he could do – and he took full advantage.
His win was a big surprise, but not the only one, as this event seemed somehow to lend itself to the underdogs. Italian Adriano Malori finished in second place and the Frenchman Jerome Coppel managed third to join him on the podium.
Summary – sometimes the underdog prevails
This is one of the exciting things about cycling, as there is always a chance for the underdog to do what nobody expects. In a sprint, if the favorite loses control of the race, it will always leave an opportunity. Similarly, on long, demanding courses, there is also the chance for an underdog to show what they can do and turn things in their favor.
Cycling is always thrilling to watch, but the underdog tales discussed here were some amazing feats to watch and are events that will be remembered for a very long time in the future.