On Sunday, April 14th, the professional cycling world will turn its attention to Northern France as the 117th edition of the Paris-Roubaix takes place. This one-day classic is highly revered among cyclists, pundits and fans as it’s one of the oldest road cycling races in the world. In addition to being a one-day classic, this race is also classified as a cobbled classic due to the highly difficult portions of the route that go over cobblestone.
The first Paris-Roubaix took place in 1896 and has been held every year since then, except during WWI and WWII. One of the race’s most notable nicknames is the “Hell of the North,” which can be traced back to World War 1 when a party of journalists and organizers set out to see if the route, roads and towns had survived the Great War. The carnage that was left behind could only be described as “hell.” After the party returned, the local media published in the papers that the party had witnessed “the hell of the north.”
The 2019 edition of the Paris-Roubaix is shaping up to be one of the best in recent years as multiple former winners will be racing on Sunday. Currently, cycling betting sites have Peter Sagan as the favorite to win. Let’s examine the Paris-Roubaix betting odds, explore some prop bets and matchups, look for betting value and pick a winner.
The 2019 Paris-Roubaix Route
This year’s route is 257 km and includes 29 sets of cobblestones that spans across 54 km. It’s very similar to last year’s route, but with a few minor changes. The riders will get underway in the town of Compiegne, which has been the starting point for this race since 1977. It’s roughly an hour outside of Paris, which used to be the starting point from 1896 to 1966.
By the 100 km mark, the riders will hit the first section of cobbles in Troisvilles. However, this set has been shortened some. Another change in this year’s race is the monument erected for Michael Goolaerts who died last year in the Paris-Roubaix.
The organizers have the riders going in different directions across some of the sets of cobbles compared to last year, but nothing that can alter the overall race. The intensity of this race will pick up as they head into the Forest of Arenberg. Soon, they will hit the Mons-en-Pevele and the extremely difficult set of cobbles. With nearly a dozen more sets of cobbles left, this race is still far from over.
The finale gets underway at the Carrefour de l’Arbre as the cyclists attack arguably the hardest set of cobbles on the course. Eventually, they will enter into Roubaix where it’s just a short distance until they finish the race. Although the starting point has changed a few times over the race’s history, the finish in Roubaix has remained the same since 1896.
Previous Paris-Roubaix Winners
In the previous 116 editions of the Paris-Roubaix, only 20 riders have won this race more than once. Of those illustrious cyclists: 11 won twice, 7 won three times, and only 2 riders have won this one-day classic on 4 separate occasions (Tom Boonen and Roger De Vlaeminck). The following is a list of previous winners dating back to 2005:
- Tom Boonen in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012
- Fabian Cancellara in 2006, 2010, 2013
- Stuart O’Grady in 2007
- Johan Vansummeren in 2011
- Niki Terpstra in 2014
- John Degenkolb in 2015
- Matthew Hayman in 2016
- Greg Van Avermaet in 2017
- Peter Sagan in 2018
Paris-Roubaix Cycling Betting Odds
The following cycling odds are courtesy of Betway:
- Peter Sagan (+450)
- Alexander Kristoff (+1200)
- John Degenkolb (+1200)
- Greg Van Avermaet (+1200)
- Wout Van Aert (+1400)
- Yves Lampaert (+1400)
- Oliver Naesen (+1600)
- Zdenek Stybar (+1600)
- Nils Politt (+1800)
- Tiesj Benoot (+2200)
- Luke Rowe (+2200)
- Philippe Gilbert (+2200)
- Sep Vanmarcke (+2400)
- Jasper Stuyven (+2800)
- Sebastian Langeveld (+2800)
- Ian Stannard (+2800)
- Alberto Bettiol (+3300)
- Kasper Asgreen (+3300)
- Arnaud Démare (+3300)
- Taylor Phinney (+3300)
- Matteo Trentin (+5000)
- Edvalrd Boasson Hagen (+5000)
Betting Favorites to Win in Paris
The following cyclists are considered the odds on favorites to win in France on Sunday:
Peter Sagan (+450)
The three time world champ won the 2018 Paris-Roubaix and he’s the man that cycling betting sites have listed as the favorite to win in 2019. This is largely due to the route being almost the exact same as last year. However, as big of a fan as I am of Sagan, I must caution bettors from going all in on cycling’s rock star.
I believe these odds are a bit high for Sagan considering his Classics season hasn’t gone well at all. I picked Sagan to win the Tour of Flanders last weekend, but he didn’t perform as well as anyone had hoped for. Sagan ended up finishing 11th and there have been reports that Peter wouldn’t help the field catch up to Alberto Bettiol who broke away from the leading pack and would go on to win the race.
Prior to Flanders, Sagan finished 32nd at Gent-Wevelgem and 17th at E3. He did manage a 4th at Milano-Sanremo, but it appears that Sagan has had many obstacles in his way this spring. With that said, if he can win the Paris-Roubaix for a second straight year, he would silence the doubters and be well on his way to racking up some points jerseys in the Grand Tours.
Alexander Kristoff (+1200)
Last weekend, I predicted a strong ride for Kristoff at Flanders with a potential for winning the race. He didn’t disappoint, as Kristoff finished 3rd overall. However, Alexander hasn’t had the same success in Paris-Roubaix as he’s had with Flanders. His best overall finish has been 9th and that came in 2013. Last year, Kristoff finished 57th. He also has a 10th place on his resume. Kristoff appears to be very capable of winning this race, but has not been able to conquer the route.
This spring, Kristoff won Gent-Wevelgem after finishing 21st at E3. It was his first win of the racing year. When you combine his GW victory with his 3rd place at Flanders, it appears that Kristoff is starting to hit his stride. Unfortunately, he’s going to have a very difficult time winning this weekend based on his past success here and how well the other favorites are riding.
Of the betting favorites, I believe the Kristoff is the one to avoid. Until he cracks the Top 5 in this race, Kristoff can’t be considered a favorite to win.
John Degenkolb (+1200)
At the beginning of the 2019 cycling season, JD didn’t have much success. However, some improvement in the spring has Degenkolb on the rise and gunning for another win at Paris-Roubaix. Degenkolb finished 2nd at Gent-Wevelgem, but took a step back at the Tour of Flanders with a 29th placing. That was also a step back from the E3 a few weeks ago where he finished 22nd. Nevertheless, as a former winner, JD can’t be overlooked in France this weekend.
Let’s also not forget that Degenkolb won the cobbled stage at the 2018 Tour de France, despite finishing 17th in the Paris-Roubaix last year. He was 10th in this race in 2017, but didn’t race here in 2016. Prior to his 2015 win, JD finished runner up in 2014 to the winner Niki Terpstra who’s not in this race on Sunday due to crashing in the Tour of Flanders last weekend.
I think JD has a chance to win on Sunday, but I wouldn’t put him ahead of the other favorites on this list except for Kristoff.
Greg Van Avermaet (+1200)
The 2017 Paris-Roubaix winner is back and looking to get his first win of 2019. Like with Sagan, things haven’t gone as well with GVA as Team CCC hoped for prior to the beginning of the 2019 cycling season. GVA was left all alone without any teammates at Milano-Sanremo and wasn’t too happy about it. He was edged out by his top rivals at E3 and then had a 20th place finish at Gent-Wevelgem. GVA was one of the favorites at the Tour of Flanders, but could only muster up a 10th place finish. He, along with the rest of the pack, couldn’t chase down Bettiol to get the win.
This weekend, GVA is chomping at the bit to get a big win prior to the Grand Tour season starting. Last year, Greg finished 4th in this race. He didn’t race here in 2016, but did have a 3rd place finish in 2015. With three top 4 finishes, and one win, in his last three Paris-Roubaix races, GVA is looking like a strong possibility. And he offers solid value as well.
Wout Van Aert (+1400)
Wout Van Aert is one of those rivals that have edged out Greg Van Avermaet in a few one-day classics this year. Furthermore, WVA is rising up the ranks and becoming a threat to win every one of these Spring classics. WVA finished 3rd at Strade Bianche, 6th at Milano-Sanremo, and 2nd at E3. He took a step back at Gent-Wevelgem with a 29th place, but slightly improved to 14th at the Tour of Flanders.
Last year was his first Paris-Roubaix race and the 24 year old finished 13th. That’s pretty impressive considering how difficult this one-day classic really is.
WVA is a 3-time world cyclocross champion and has improved a lot since last year. He’s one of the rising talents in the sport and he’s going to be a contender at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. Like GVA, WVA has a strong team to support him on Sunday. If he can find his legs, that were fatigued at the end of Flanders last weekend, then he could win this race.
Best Betting Value for Paris-Roubaix
These three riders offer betting value on Sunday based on their current cycling odds and their past performances:
Zdenek Stybar (+1600)
Stybar is a solid pick for winning at Paris-Roubaix this weekend and his betting odds offer solid value as well. Stybar’s 2019 season has gone better than some had expected with a win at Omloop, a 4th at Strade Bianche and winning at E3. Unfortunately, he took a step back at Flanders when he was a favorite heading into the race. Stybar finished 36th after suffering from an illness during the race.
Last year, Stybar finished 9th in this race. However, he has two runner up finishes which came in 2017 and 2015. When on form, Stybar is very capable of racing well in France and contending for the win.
Luke Rowe (+2200)
Rowe’s best finish at Paris-Roubaix was 8th back in 2015. He was 14th in 2016 and didn’t finish the race the last two years. However, Rowe has been riding well this year and his form has members of Team Sky excited. Prior to the Tour of Flanders, Rowe was looking strong. Unfortunately, he took a step back at Flanders. Luke needs a strong performance this weekend to bounce back and get his season going in the right direction. He certainly has the team for it, but will he be able to finish the race?
I believe if Rowe doesn’t crash or have mechanical problems, he will finish at least in the Top 10 and with a little luck could contend for the win.
Philippe Gilbert (+2200)
2019 has been a mixed bag for Gilbert. He finished 10th in GC at Tour de la Provence and 3rd in the points classification. He also finished 8th at Omoop, 15th for GC and 9th for Points at Paris-Nice and 11th at E3. However, he also was 68th at Milano-Sanremo and didn’t finish the Tour of Flanders due to being sick.
Last year, Gilbert finished 15th in this race, which was his first time in this one-day classic. I give him as much of a chance at winning on Sunday as oddsmakers give Alexander Kristoff. I think a healthy Gilbert that’s on form could really blow open this race and challenge for the win.
Longshot to Win the Paris-Roubaix
Arnaud Demare +3300 isn’t going to beat these betting favorites on his talents alone. He will need a little bit of luck and that includes his positioning when the riders get into the Velodrome at the end of the race. Demare has the sprinting legs to compete at that point, but needs to be one of the first to enter the Velodrome. Demare hasn’t had a strong season so far, but he has a 6th place finish here in 2017 and a 12th place finish in 2014. Demare is the best option of the longshots based on his success here in the past and previous career success at these cobble-classics.
Paris-Roubaix Prop Bets
In addition to picking an outright winner, those of you interested in placing Paris-Roubaix bets can also explore some of the popular cycling prop bets available for this race.
Top 3 Finish Prop Bet
Peter Sagan and GVA to finish in the Top 3 (+500)
I believe that both Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet are both going to contend for the win by time it’s all said and done. On this nearly identical course last year, Sagan won and GVA finished 4th. Niki Terpstra is out of this race and I think that opens it up more for these two cycling studs.
This Top 3 prop bet has solid betting value at +500 odds especially when it comes to having 2 of the odds on favorites to win the race placing in the Top 3.
Top 10 Finish Prop Bets
Peter Sagan, GVA, and Alexander Kristoff to Finish in the Top 10 (+150)
If I believe that Sagan and GVA will finish near the Top 3 then I certainly believe they will be in the Top 10. With that said, Kristoff is the wildcard here. He finished 57th last year and his best ever finish was 9th. The other two men have both won this race, while Kristoff has barely cracked the Top 10 on two occasions.
This wager doesn’t have betting value due to the low odds and Kristoff not racing well at Paris-Roubaix. I would be careful if you are going to wager on this one. I would skip this one and choose one of the other two popular prop bets listed.
Philippe Gilbert and Wout Van Aert to Finish in the Top 10 (+2800)
Of these three prop bets, this is the one I like the most. For starters, the odds are great. Second, Wout Van Aert is a rising stud and performed well in his debut race here last year. Not only do I think he will contend for the overall win, I believe he will easily finish in the Top 10.
Gilbert was also one of my betting value picks above and I believe he’s a wild card for this race. If he’s 100% healthy, then he will compete in the end. With that said, I believe Gilbert is definitely capable of a Top 10 finish.
Paris-Roubaix Head-To-Head Matchups
This one-day classic puts a lot of pressure on each cycling team and the individual riders looking for the prestige of winning the Paris-Roubaix. There will be plenty of battles on the road to Roubaix and cycling betting sites like Betway have captured some of these potential matchups. All you have to do is pick which rider you think will finish higher.
Luke Rowe (-142) vs Sebastian Langeveld (+105)
Rowe is one of my betting value picks for outright winner. But, in this matchup I like Sebastian Langeveld. He was a consideration for value pick, but SL is on a team that has other potential winners also and that makes it hard to pick him outright. With that said, in a head to head battle with Luke Rowe, I think Sebastian will come out ahead.
Langeveld and Rowe both have had some tough years in the Paris-Roubaix and neither man has really impressed in 2019 so far. However, Langeveld has more success in this race than Rowe has ever had and he’s on just as good of a Classics team as Rowe is with Team Sky.
Sebastian had a 3rd place finish in 2017, 8th in 2014 and 7th in 2013. Luke Rowe has never finished that high and his teammate Dylan van Baarle could get the nod as leader in this race. Langeveld looks poised to do well with his teammates Sep Vanmarcke and the Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol. I’m going with the betting upset for this matchup.
Peter Sagan (-151) vs Alexander Kristoff (+110)
The top two odds on favorites are matched up against each other for this prop bet. Kristoff is the underdog to the defending 2018 winner. As I’ve stated a few times now, I’m not confident in Kristoff’s riding this weekend. However, I do believe Sagan has a shot at winning this race on Sunday, where I don’t feel the same about Kristoff.
With that said, I believe Sagan is at least in the Top 5 and Kristoff will be lucky if he cracks the Top 15. For this bet, it’s an easy wager on Peter Sagan to win the head to head matchup.
Wout Van Aert (-151) vs Oliver Naesen (+110)
I’ve already discussed WVA a few times now. I expect this youngster to compete for the win on Sunday and easily finish inside the Top 10. I believe he has a strong team and is a talented rider coming into his own.
Oliver Naesen’s name has been mentioned by some pundits as a potential rider outside of the favorites to win this race. He certainly has performed well this year so far. Naesen finished 2nd at Milano-Sanremo, 8th at E3, 3rd at Gent-Wevelgem and 7th at the Tour of Flanders. That string of success is actually better than the betting favorites.
Last year, Naesen finished 12th in this race. He’s had some poor showings over the years as well. As for this matchup, I believe Naesen does offer some betting value as a potential flyer and sleeper. With that said, I’m still sticking with WVA as I believe the kid could win this race on Sunday.
Zdenek Stybar (-175) vs Philippe Gilbert (+125)
Of the four matchups, this one has the biggest disparity. That’s largely due to the uncertainty of Gilbert’s health and performance this Sunday. I had both of these cyclists listed as betting value picks. I believe both are capable of at least Top 10 finishes. However, between the two, I believe that Stybar has best chance at winning this race. To me, Gilbert will need a bit more luck and help to win.
I’m actually surprised that Stybar’s odds to win the race wasn’t closer to the betting favorites like Sagan and GVA. He definitely has the legs going this year. Unlike Sagan and GVA, Stybar has won two races this season so far. As mentioned, he finished 9th last year in this race, but was runner up to GVA in 2017.
I like Gilbert as a cyclist and believe he can be a wild card, but for this matchup, Stybar is clearly the favorite for a reason.
Who Will Win the 2019 Paris-Roubaix Classic?
This really is a tough race to pick a winner. There’s a handful of cyclists that can win on Sunday, and several former winners set to take the starting line this weekend. One stunning fact is that no Belgian rider has won a Spring classic this year prior to this race. That’s the first time since WWII since that’s happen. Will the Belgians get shut out? Belgium has won this race 56 times with France coming in second at 28 victories.
Peter Sagan is looking to become the 7th rider to win this race in consecutive years. Tom Boonen was the last man to accomplish this in 2008-09. But, I have a hard time thinking that he will be able to repeat his performance from last year. Sagan will be a marked man in this race and I don’t see him being allowed to attack from any distance out. I’m going to put my personal bias toward Sagan aside and declare that the rock star of cycling won’t win on Sunday.
I believe the winner is going to come from Greg Van Avermaet, Wout Van Aert and Zdenek Stybar. And, that’s where this gets even harder. GVA knows what it takes to win this race, but WVA and Stybar have performed better this year. It’s entirely possible that we get a different winner than these three riders, but I’m sticking with the impressiveness of these guys and taking Stybar to win this race.
WVA is certainly a future star and should contend for the win. GVA will also contend, but he just hasn’t been at top form this spring. Stybar is supposedly over his illness from last weekend and he’s on a team that’s been on fire this year so far in Quick Step.
My Top 10 Riders
This is in no particular order:
- Zdenek Stybar
- Greg Van Avermaet
- Wout Van Aert
- Peter Sagan
- Alexander Kristoff
- Philippe Gilbert
- John Degenkolb
- Oliver Naesen
- Sebastian Langeveld
- Dylan van Baarle/Luke Rowe
Paris-Roubaix Betting Recap
Winner: Zdenek Stybar (+1600)
- Zdenek Stybar (+1600)
- Luke Rowe (+2200)
- Phillipe Gilbert (+2200)
Longshot: Arnaud Demare (+3300)
- Sebastian Langeveld (+105) over Luke Rowe
- Peter Sagan (-151) over Alexander Kristoff
- Wout Van Aert (-151) over Oliver Naesen
- Zdenek Stybar (-175) over Philippe Gilbert