The absolute height of cycling geekery; fantasy cycling is taking off in a big way (at the last 'fantasy cycling appreciation society' meeting we had 15 attendees - a new record!) Fantasy Tour de France allows armchair racers (or maybe rather keyboard warriors) to play at being 'Directeur Sportif' for the length of the tour, picking out a 'best in class' team of sprinters and climbers who they think will win stages and jerseys in the 2020 Tour de France. Or, most likely, just pick Wout like everyone else!
If you're a pro cycling fan, you'll understand the rules of the game and can simply sign up on the link below. If you're new to cycling, or couldn't give a toffee about the pros, we'd still recommend playing along. You will learn more about how a race works, how the peloton operates and why cyclists do some of the weird things that they do! In all seriousness, watching pro cycling will make you a better cyclist, as you get to see the best riders display what riding a bike is actually supposed to look like. To start have a read of our 'Guide to the Tour de France' for some background.
Sign up to Fantasy TdF on this link and follow the steps to enter your team. When you've created your team search for the league 'Dirty Wknd' and join us. If you're unsure how it all works then continue reading below. You can join as many leagues as you like, so spread yourself around a bit! There are no prizes for playing in our league, just unending bragging rights!
Fantasy Tour De France Cycling
You've arrived at the Tour as the hot new Directeur Sportif; you're being talked about as an exciting unknown quantity. You're going to set the race on fire with your special brand of motivational speeches and man management. First thing you need to do is pick your team. This is the fun part - a kind of shopping spree, but for the fastest human beings on the planet! If the riders you pick do well (win the stage, sprint or KOM points) your team will win points. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end of the Tour. Ok so far? Great!
Picking Your Team
You have 120 'stars' to spend, and each rider has a price, so you have to spend wisely. You can only pick 3 riders from each team, so Team Sky fan boys (yes Oli, talking about you) can't just pick the whole Ineos team. The better the rider (or the more likely to do well before the race starts) the higher the price (number of stars).
So defending champ Egan Bernal is worth 21 stars, as one of the hot favourites. Other riders get less expensive as their chances of winning descend, right down to the domestiques who are just pleased to be there. 6 stars for these guys - but don't count them out. One of them could easily find themselves at the front of a breakaway and 'accidentally' win a stage.
The other thing to think about is picking a 'balanced team'. For one you can't afford to only pick the big hitters, but also a grand tour team is made up of different types of rider. See below for an explanation of who those riders are and what they do. Remember you can only pick up to 3 of each category, and only 3 from each team.
- 'General Classification' (GC) riders: These are the Bernal's and the Nibali's of the race; the ones you hope are going to win the overall. This is the long game - you get points for everyday someone is in the yellow jersey, and lots of points if your guy does end up winning Le Tour.
- Climbers: These guys are going to win the mountain stages (you hope). Think Nairo Quintana and all his tiny mates. You get points for KOM points and even more points if one of your guy is in the Polka Dot Jersey.
- Sprinter: These are the big(ger) guys who actually have some muscles. You hope they are going to win the bunch sprints for the line on the flat stages. These guys are likely to win a decent number of stages (big points), so sprinter choice is important. In previous years the rule was 'pick Sagan', but this year he's not looking so hot. The sprinter category is at last looking interesting again!
- All Rounders: Exactly what it says on the tin. They can climb and sprint, but can they do either well enough to win points? On the flip side, on that perfect rolling day, they just might get away and take the stage win. Total gamble, but so sweet when it pays off! Also usually pretty cheap, so useful to fill out the team (you can only compete with a full roster of 8).
- Road Captain: Every stage you can appoint one of your riders as your 'road captain'. This rider's points are doubled (if they win any) that day, so switching your captain to suit the day is a sure fire route to extra points. You can change your road captain right up until the stage starts, so don't forget.
- Substitutions: You can swap riders during the race (if your star rider drops out injured, gets popped for EPO etc etc). This costs you 50 credits (you start with 400 credits) so you have a limited number of swaps. Use them wisely.
Join the Dirty Wknd Mini League
Once you've created your team and picked a heel-a-rious and oh so unique team name, you will need to enter a league. There are loads available, and you can enter as many as you like. We'd love you to join our little league to duke it out with other members - remember endless bragging rights are on the cards!
After you've created the team you can click on the league tab. Just search for Dirty Wknd and then enter the league. It's free and open to all.
You won't be able to see other people's teams until the 1st stage starts, but have no fear; you've picked the winning team, so why does it matter? Please send the league and info onto other cycling (geeky) friends and ask them to join. We'd love to have your Dad all his mates play too - unless they win, in which case we'll bust them for doping.
Once you've joined the league, you can sit back and smile as your perfectly balanced team rides to victory - your GC contender winning overall by an hour and five minutes, your sprinter winning all of the flat stages and intermediate points, and your climbers ascending all summits first whilst glancing around nonchalantly to see if anyone was able to keep up (of course they weren't). As an added bonus - your cheap first year pro wins a stage in a heroic solo breakaway, riding all 220km alone, the chasing peloton unable to reel him in. You are immediately hailed as the best DS ever and written into the history books. All from your sofa. Well done you!
OR.....Your GC contender abandons on stage 3 after said new-pro tries to take a bottle on a downhill and wipes him out. Your sprinter gets popped for the use of ketamine on the first rest day and, unbeknownst to you, one of your climbers has actually slept with your other climber's wife, and now they won't work together. It could go either way - that's the beauty and exhilaration of (fantasy) pro cycling!
You have until Saturday 29th August at 1pm to enter your team so don't hang around. The rider list is still being updated so keep checking the list. You can change riders freely all the way up until the deadline above, so keep an eye on the team lists and adjust accordingly.
Bonne chance in your quest to dominate the fantasy cycling world. If you're unsure how to pick your team or enter the league please email us. Please also keep in touch by Tweeting us or via Instagram story - we want to hear all of the smack talk, boasting and pea-cocking, as well as the anger and dismay when your star rider gets it all wrong. It's what it's all about!