Being the discerning cycling fan that you are you don't need anyone to tell you that the Tour de France, cycling's flagship event and 'the most attended sporting event in the world', is starting on Saturday 7th July. However, are you really making the most of the TDF? The return of Le Tour also means the return of 'hyper-cycling-geekery... the Velogames fantasy Tour de France cycling league!
Want to learn more about Le Tour? Check out our Guide To The Tour de France
Now, if we haven't already lost you completely, fantasy cycling is great fun, can be played by anyone and will actually help improve your own cycling. Watching and learning from the pros is a great way to understand why cyclists do the things they do. Having a vested interest in the race in the form of your fantasy team makes it easier to pay attention for 3 weeks!
So we'd love you to play along with us and join our club 'mini-league' to battle it out against the best in the world's hardest (fantasy) race. This year we're giving away a Dirty Wknd Maglia Nera club jersey to the overall league winner, as well as a pair of socks to second and third place. Not bad for 5 minutes spent picking 9 names from a list on a website!
Ok, you're in, so now how do you play?!
Step 1 - Create a Velogames Account:
First things first - you need to go to the Velogames Website and click 'enter now' in the top right corner. You'll then need to log in or create an account, and then create a hilarious name for your team. Think French puns, cycling legends and, if all else fails, just stick 'Le' in front of your name and click next!
Step 2 - Picking Your Team:
Now this is where it gets really fun! For the next 5 minutes (or a week, depending on how long you're going to mull it over) you are the defacto DS (Directeur Sportif) of a Tour de France cycling team. The fate of your team, and very possibly the happiness and futures of these young riders depends on your choices. It's a lot of pressure, but you're up to the task! There are a couple of key things to note:
- You only have 100 credits to use. You have to pick 9 riders with these 100 credits, and the better the rider the more credits they cost. This means you have to try and build a balanced team
- You will have to pick 2x GC riders, 2x climbers, 1x sprinter, 3x domestiques and 1x wildcard. You'll have to make some sacrifices and can't just pick all the top riders
- Learn what you get points for - stage wins, holding jerseys... your riders will accumulate points for doing well in the race, so it helps to know how they gather points
- The aim of the game is to collect as many points as possible. The team in the league with the most points at the end of Le Tour wins the DW jersey (and eternal glory).
- Do some research - you're not expected to know who all the riders are, or which young Colombian phenom is going to ride off the front on stage 15 and take an epic solo win. Lots of people do though - so check out the 'Tour de France preview' articles and videos online (actually, just watch the GCN Show!)
Step 3 - Join the Dirty Wknd mini league:
We would love you to join our mini league, and if you do you'll be in the running for a Dirty Wknd club jersey (1st place) or club socks (2nd/3rd). To join the league, you just need to hit 'Visit Team' after you've submitted your team and scroll down to the 'join or create a league' button. Click here and then add in the below details to join the league:
The best thing about fantasy cycling is beating your club mates and friends. There's nothing better than using the heroic exploits of some young cyclist killing himself up a savage mountain to prove just how much better you are than your friends! We can't all be world class climbers, some of us have to settle for being world class fantasy Directuer Sportifs.
Step 4 - Sit back and enjoy the race!
The deadline for entry is 11am (UK time) on the 7th July. It's worth noting you can change your riders right up until this point, but after that your team is locked. So if, like the good DS that you are, you get wind of a dip in form from your key rider, you can make a switch before the 7th. Or if, just as a for instance, you pick the best rider in the race, whose name happens to rhyme with boom, and he gets suddenly dropped from the team at the very last minute. You can make sure to replace him before the 7th. Not sure why that would happen though...
With your team picked, you can sit back and think about what you're going to do with all the plaudits that will come rolling in after you win the Tour de France. Please do take to Twitter and Instagram to call out, heckle, banter and congratulate other league entrants - it's what we do it for! We'll announce the winners of the DW jersey as soon as the final standings are calculated!
Bon Courage friends!
David & Emma