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Olympic Track Cycling preview - Keirin

More from pro cycling punter @wheelie1977 as he dissects all the two-wheeled action of the Olympic Games. Next up, one from the track.

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Men's keirin

The Keirin is a sprint event on the track dominated in recent years by Sir Chris Hoy. You may not know much about the event, six riders settle in behind a motorised bike rider (derny) which gradually increases the speed lap after lap until eventually pulling to one side and letting the riders sprint. It's one of the more dangerous but exciting events in cycling and a huge gambling sport in Japan. Here's a video of the last World Championships.

The Olympics is unique in that only one rider from each country is able to compete. As many of the more experienced countries have at least one decent Keirin rider, straight away we can dismiss a host of names such as Jason Kenny and at least one big name from France, Germany and Australia. Great Britain have nominated odds-on favourite Chris Hoy but decisions over some of the other major countries are still up in the air. It means a massive chance to some of the up and coming nations.

One country that has nailed its colours to the mast are New Zealand nominating their highly exciting young talent Simon Van Velthooven instead of the more experienced Sam Webster. Van Velthooven was disqualified in the World Championships Keirin final despite finishing 3rd for not holding his line in the sprint finish. However it was clear from the replay that with a little more panache and more importantly experience, the Kiwi is bound to come on for this effort.

Importantly the riders contesting the event do not have a very tough schedule as in the World Championships. Riders who failed to qualify faced two repĂȘchage and then semi finals but it would seem certain that the better guys should face no such issues in their path to a semi final. There is actually a clear difference in those that should make the grade and those competing for the sake of representing their country. It is almost impossible to think that Hoy, Bourgain, Levy, Van Velthooven and Watanabe will not make the final as they are clearly better than the opposition on evidence from the Worlds this year.

So, it's a little surprising to see the odds available. Obviously Chris Hoy is a massive favourite and his odds reflect that, he's no better than 4/6 or 8/11 in most places. But there is an each way market out there and SKYBET go 50/1 about Van Velthooven to finish Top 2. In a race that's full of uncertainty that's a massive price for a recent World Championship finalist and is without doubt miles better than the odds in all other win only markets. If he makes the final, his price will be no better than 4/1 or 5/1 so it's definitely worth a punt at the prices.

Advised Bet

Simon Van Velthooven
0.5pt e/w @ 50/1 (Pays 1/3 odds, 1,2) Best Price SKYBET
Generally 33/1 (no each way market)

He offers these tips for subscription first, and then makes them free a day or so later. His tips throughout recent months on the Giro D'Italia and the Tour de France have been outstanding. You can read more of his excellent work on his website - Wheeliebets.

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