It seems like it's not just Paddy Power who have bought into hill-climbing's popularity
When Paddy Power took bets on last year’s National Hill-Climb Championships, it was seen as somewhat of a novelty.
They started offering odds for this year’s title as early as July, and it turns out they have cottoned onto a market that other bookmakers are now also tapping into.
For, with just two days to go until the Nationals on Bank Road, in Matlock, six different bookies have odds on the men’s race and five on the women’s.
SkyBet, Boyle Sports, BetFair, Betfred and William Hill have slapped prices on the favourites and the rest of the hopefuls.
But while there is one thing that they can all agree on, that Joe Clark and Maryka Sennema are the favourites, their lack of expertise in domestic time trialing has thrown up a few curveballs, inconsistencies and odds to exploit if you’re quick (and before they read this).
Take the curious case of Kieran Wynne-Cattanach, for example. A relative unknown until few weeks ago, the Rhos-on-Sea CC rider rode to second place on the Riber last weekend. Paddy Power belatedly offered him odds of 40/1.
After a succession of money was placed on him, Paddy Power now have him as sixth favourite at 9/1. William Hill, meanwhile, have him rated at 6/1. Betfred, SkyBet and Betfair, however, haven’t even heard of him yet and aren’t offering him odds.
Paddy Power’s keenness to assess the market frequently to place themselves as the home of domestic cycling betting (if that can be a thing) has also helped them with their startlist.
Jack Pullar, 2012 hill-climb champion, is preparing to jet off to Australia and won’t be one of the 240 riders on the startline. Nevertheless, the other five bookies taking odds still believe he has really strong chance of taking his second national crown. Betfred rate him as 10/1.
The same applies for Hayley Simmonds in the women’s competition, who despite finishing her season with a second place at the Chrono des Nations last week, is 6/1 on to win at SkyBet.
Emilie Verroken finished as the second female on Monsal Head and was third on the open event at Bank Road last week, but she is rated as 66/1 on Sky Bet. Boyle Sports have her at 25/1.
Becky Lewis, who has a very good chance of winning, is 7/1 at William Hill, but at Paddy Power she is 16/1.
One thing is consistent: there are nuances to cash in on.