King of the Mountains Betting Guide

Tour de France King of the Mountains

The King of the Mountains classification sounds very prestigious and it is among many of the diehard cyclists and fans. This competition is represented by the polka dot jersey and is given out to the cyclist with the most mountain top points, which are earned throughout the various TDF mountain stages.

The 2020 Tour de France features eight mountain stages with four summit finishes, which means that the KOTM classification is going to be like a game of hot potato this year. It also means that the overall race favorites will also be a threat to win this competition in 2020.

Tour de France betting sites have released their odds for the King of the Mountains classification. Let’s take a closer look at the polka dot betting odds and see if we can predict who will be the “king of the mountains” by time it’s all said and done.

What Is the King of the Mountains Classification?

It’s hard to imagine a time when this race didn’t have any mountain stages. In fact, most of the iconic Tour de France moments involved grueling mountain stages where riders were on the brink of disaster in one form or another. Some of these majestically brutal climbs include Tourmalet, Alpe d’Huez and others.

However, it wasn’t until 1910, seven years into the annual event that the TDF started including mountains in the race. It would be another quarter of a century before the organizers started recognizing the best climbers in the Tour de France.

Yet, the polka dot jersey wasn’t introduced into the Tour de France until 1975. Joop Zoetemelk was the first rider to ever wear this jersey, but never won the competition despite being considered one of the best climbers in the sport.

This jersey was given polka dots in 1975 because the sponsor Chocolat Poulain had candy bars wrapped in polka dots.

To win this competition, a cyclist has to have the most King of the Mountain points. These points are awarded on climbs that are category four and higher.

Typically, the first handful of riders can earn points over the listed category climbs. The higher the category, and mountain, the more points that are available.

Previous King of the Mountain Winners

Although the polka dot jersey wasn’t awarded until 1975, the TDF organizers still recognized the best mountain rider since 1933. The following is a list of the previous King of the Mountain winners since 2010:

  • Anthony Charteau (FRA) in 2010
  • Samuel Sanchez (SPA) in 2011
  • Thomas Voeckler (FRA) in 2012
  • Nairo Quintana (COL) in 2013
  • Rafal Majka (POL) in 2014, 2016
  • Chris Froome (GBR) in 2015
  • Warren Barguil (FRA) in 2017
  • Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) in 2018
  • Romain Bardet (FRA) in 2019

France’s Richard Virenque holds the record for the most polka dot wins with seven. It’s no surprise that France has the most King of the Mountains classification wins with 23 overall. The French riders are favored to win this year’s competition as well.

Tour de France Polka Dot Jersey Betting Odds

The following odds are courtesy of BetWay:

  • Julian Alaphilippe (+350)
  • Romain Bardet (+900)
  • Primoz Roglic (+1400)
  • Adam Yates (+1400)
  • Thomas De Gendt (+1400)
  • Warren Barguil (+1800)
  • Tim Wellens (+2000)
  • Egan Bernal (+2200)
  • Mikel Landa (+2500)
  • Tadej Pogacar (+2500)
  • Thibaut Pinot (+2500)
  • Johan Esteban Chaves (+3000)
  • Lennard Kamma (+3000)
  • Miguel Angel Lopez (+3000)
  • Nairo Quintana (+3500)
  • Dam Martin (+3500)

The KOTM Favorites

Julian Alaphilippe (+350)

The 28 year old French cyclist is one of my favorite riders in the sport. His aggressiveness and tenacity on the bike both uphill and down the crazy descents have endeared Alaphilippe to fans and pundits around the world.

Alaphilippe currently rides for Deceuninck – Quick Step and is the odds on favorite to win the polka dot jersey in the 2020 TDF, which will be his 4th appearance in this Grand Tour.

Julian has had a solid season so far with a 2nd place result in Milano-Sanremo where he almost came back from a bike problem to win the race. He also finished 4th in the mountains classification at Paris-Nice and 2nd in this competition for the 2020 Criterium du Dauphine.

In his three previous TDFs, Alaphilippe finished 14th (2019), 12th (2016), and won the KOTM competition in 2018.

Will the French daredevil capture the second Tour de France polka dot competition of his career?

Romain Bardet (+900)

The 29 year old French rider for AG2R La Mondiale is the defending King of the Mountains winner and will compete in the 8th Tour de France of his career.

In addition to winning last year’s KOTM competition, Bardet has also had the following results:

  • 3rd in 2015
  • 6th in 2017
  • 11th in 2014
  • 14th in 2018
  • 20th in 2016
  • 36th in 2013

Bardet is often considered one of France’s best chances at winning the Tour de France and ending the country’s drought. However, I believe he has a better shot at winning this competition once again than the yellow jersey.

Bardet’s best performance in 2020 came at the Tour de Alps where he finished 2nd overall. He was 6th at the Criterium du Dauphine, but used it more for training than anything else.

Can Bardet take home the KOTM victory in his last year with AG2R?

Primoz Roglic (+1400)

Roglic enters his 3rd Tour de France as the overall favorite to win this three week Grand Tour. Yet, he’s just third on the list of betting odds to win the polka dot jersey.

In recent years, the KOTM winners have been riders that typically get in a breakaway and earn the points without any real challenge. This is why some pundits criticize the polka dot jersey.

However, with four summit finishes in this year’s TDF that opens the door for GC contenders like Roglic who has looked great heading into the Tour de France.

Roglic won the Tour de l’Ain and was dominating the Criterium du Dauphine before leaving the race on the last day due to a crash. Roglic showed that he was the best in the sport right now.

Roglic competed in the 2017 and 2018 TDFs and had success in both. In 2017, Roglic was 2nd in the King of the Mountains and 38th overall in the TDF. In 2018, Roglic was 6th in the KOTM and 4th overall in the TDF.

I think Roglic is a sneaky pick for the KOTM this year due to the four summit finishes.

Adam Yates (+1400)

Adam Yates has been in the cycling news as of late and it’s due to his decision to head over to Team Ineos in 2021. He will be leaving Mitchelton-Scott where Yates has been one of the team’s top riders along with his twin brother Simon Yates.

Adam Yates was once viewed as a GC contender in Grand Tours, but will now have the freedom of going for stage wins instead. This will be Yates’ 5th Tour de France appearance. His best result was in 2016 when he finished 4th overall and won the white jersey competition.

As for his success in the KOTM classification, Yates finished 26th last year, 18th in 2018, 52nd in 2016, and 28th in 2015.

Yates is known as being a strong climber despite not finishing high in the KOTM competition. Now that Yates is free to go for stage wins, I can see the British cyclist looking for wins in the mountains this year, which should earn him more KOTM points.

Adam Yates won the Tour of UAE earlier this season and is poised to make some noise at the Tour de France.

KOTM Betting Value

The following cyclists offer the best betting value for this competition due to their current odds at cycling betting sites and their previous performances at the Tour de France.

Warren Barguil (+1800)

Entering his 6th Tour de France, Barguil has finished as high as 10th overall twice in his career (2017 and 2019). Additionally, he has fared well in the KOTM competition over the last three years including winning it in 2017 and finishing runner up in 2018. However, he was only 21st in 2019.

I don’t see Barguil being a contender for this year’s yellow jersey, so I would expect Team Arkea Samsic to give Barguil the green light to go for the polka dot jersey.

With his past success in this competition, and the predicted freedom to go for it this year since the team has Quintana as their GC contender, Warren Barguil offers solid betting value for the KOTM classification in the 2020 Tour de France.

Tim Wellens (+2000)

The 29 year old Tim Wellens, from Belgium, is competing in his 4th Tour de France and is a potential contender in the KOTM classification. The Team Lotto Soudal rider finished 3rd in last year’s polka dot competition and could have another Top 3 result this year.

However, the reason why his odds are this high is because he’s on the same team as Thomas de Gendt who’s also a contender for this jersey. The team can’t allow two riders to go for the same jersey can they?

Egan Bernal (+2200)

The same reasons why I have Roglic listed as a possible winner of the King of the Mountains classification can be applied to Egan Bernal as well.

Both men are considered the favorites to win the overall General Classification (yellow jersey) for this year’s Tour de France. Yet, with eight mountain stages and four summit finishes, Bernal is definitely in the running for this jersey.

As one of the sport’s best climbers, the reigning TDF champion will outclass most of the peloton where only the elite will be able to hang with him. Despite not racing for the polka dot jersey last year, Bernal finished second to Bardet in this competition.

At +2200 odds, I really like Bernal’s value for the King of the Mountains classification.

Longshot to Win the King of the Mountains Classification

Nairo Quintana (+3500) is my longshot pick for this year’s Tour de France KOTM classification. He’s moved to a new team (Team Arkea Samsic) and is the clear leader, GC contender in this year’s TDF.

With that said, Quintana could also end up sneaking into the KOTM competition since he’s a climber that will excel in the mountain stages of this year’s Tour de France.

Quintana has competed in six previous TDFs and finished on the podium three times: 2013, 2015, and 2016. Last year, he was 7th overall. But, he was also on a team that had three GC contenders.

Since he’s the only GC contender for his team this year, and a previous KOTM winner (2013), I can see Quintana going for this jersey if his hopes for a podium in the overall general classification is lost.

Who Will Be the King of the Mountains in the 2020 TDF?

Of all the classifications in this year’s TDF, the King of the Mountains is the toughest one to predict. With so many mountain stages and summit finishes, it really opens the door to the GC contenders having success in the competition for the polka dot jersey.

Let’s not forget that Chris Froome accomplished the feat of winning the yellow and polka dot jerseys in 2015. So, it’s not impossible for riders like Roglic and Bernal to win it this year. Once again, I also remind you that Bernal was second last year in the KOTM classification while winning the Tour de France.

My five top selections for this competition, in no particular order, are: Roglic, Bernal, Bardet, Quintana, and Yates. All five of them offer solid betting value.

With that said, we can only pick one rider and for some reason I can’t get Adam Yates out of my head. Roglic, Bernal and Quintana will all be battling for the podium and the TDF win. That means they will be focused on strategies to win the yellow jersey and not the polka dot jersey.

It’s been 15 years since anyone has won this competition in back to back years, so that rules Bardet out for me as well.

I am taking Adam Yates to win this year’s King of the Mountains classification. His team has already announced that Yates is free to go for stage wins. When you combine that with his solid climbing skills and eight mountain stages, Adam Yates just makes a lot of sense to wear the polka dots in Paris.

TDF King of the Mountains 2020 Pick –Adam Yates (+1600)

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …

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