They’ve been around for as long as we can remember: before any big cycling race fans start creating groups of riders, so called “pools”, whom the fans put money on to win. Betting on one-day races is very common in Belgium, and back in the day you could play along with several newspapers. Now, everything runs via the internet and it is actually more fun than ever.
There are several reasons to create a pool. For me (editor of The Prologue), the main reason is that it makes following a race much more exciting. It gives a you a rush when during a transition stage you have a rider on the attack who is in your pool. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, hoping that he wins the sprint. And even if he doesn’t win, a good result will still ensure that you score a lot of points in your pool.
Knowledge or good luck?
It’s also super fun to make pools and play against your friends. Here you can challenge each other’s knowledge of the sport. Or see who is the luckiest—if you had placed all your bets on the top sprinters during the last Tour de France, you would have ran out of luck after the first week!
As the results come in, winners of respective pools get some really nice prizes. You can choose to play against thousands of participants for bigger prizes, but then the chances of winning are pretty slim. Perhaps you will have the luck on your side, though, and you will be able to compete for great prizes up until the end.
In summary, there are plenty of reasons to follow a grand tour like the Vuelta through creating pools. The big question is of course how? Here are a few tips:
Scorito has been around for many years and is a great site, largely because of its visuals. They also have an app available. A salary is linked to the various riders and you have a limited budget to pull together your team. If you want to participate, it costs 2.99 euros.
Sportspool has been around since 2002 and is, unlike Scorito, free. It is a bit more complicated and you have to deal with different rules when you’re creating the composition of your team. More information about this pool can be found here.
The last tip for a Vuelta pool can be found on Zweeler. It costs seven euros to participate, but you can win prizes worth over 13,000 euros. It is, actually, gambling. You set up a team of 15 riders and five reserves and try to score in each stage and in the overall ranking. To join click here.