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!) Websites like Velogames are making it very easy for stat obsessed cycling fans to play at being 'Directeur Sportif' for the length of the tour. And we love it!
We've been entering Velogames for the last few years, battling out with a select few other cycling nerds (you know who you are) for bragging rights and the satisfying proof that we would actually make a phenomenal DS given half a chance. However, for this year's Tour we want to get as many people involved as possible. If you're a pro cycling fan, you'll understand the rules and can simply sign up 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!
Sign up to Velogames on this link and follow the steps to enter your team below. We're giving away a Dirty Wknd cap to the winner, and a pair of socks to 2nd and 3rd.
Velogames Fantasy Cycling
You've arrived at the Tour as the hot new Directeur Sportif; you're being talked about, an unknown quantity and 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 a stage, win sprint or KOM points, or do something really 'ballsy like a solo breakaway - you get points. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end of the Tour. Full points breakdown here, but be warned - this why lies hyper-geekery!
Picking Your Team
There are a couple of rules around picking your team. You have 100 credits to spend, and each rider has a price, so you have to spend wisely. The better the rider (or the more likely to do well before the race starts) the higher the price. So Chris Froome is 26 credits, because he's the bookies favourite. Other riders are then less expensive as their chances of winning descend, right down to the domestiques who are just pleased to be there. 4 credits for these guys - but don't count them out. One of them could easily, by sheer good luck (or because the rest of the peloton all ride off the same cliff), find themselves at the front of a breakaway and 'accidentally' win a stage. Remember stage 1 of the Giro? Yes, well no one had Postleberger in their team!
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:
- 'General Classification' (GC) riders: These are the Froome's and the Porte's of the race; the ones you hope are going to win. 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. You need 2 GC contenders, so pick wisely.
- 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 guys is in the Polka Dot Jersey. You get to pick 2 climbers
- 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, so sprinter choice is important. Or just pick Sagan, mostly because of the below video!
- Domestiques: Workhorses that do all the hard graft to deliver their GC contender or sprinter to the line. Cheap, throwaway riders? Or the difference between winning and losing? You decide, but pick wisely
- Wildcard: That glimmer of hope, who can produce a moment of magic and light up a stage. These riders often don't conform to team rules - they're the rock stars of the peloton who do what the flip they want (sorry for swearing mum). You want a wildcard who can win stages - so a sprinter or a breakaway specialist. But whatever you do, make sure he's a badass!
Join the Dirty Wknd Mini League
Once you're created your team, picked a hil-a-rious name and decided on which retro jersey you want your team to wear (Peugot every time), you need to enter a league. There are loads, and you can enter the 'official' leagues if you want, but we'd love you to join our little league. We're giving away a Dirty Wknd cap to the overall winner, and a pair of socks to the podium finishers (2nd and 3rd). So along with bragging rights, you get some actual stash for your incredible and revolutionary management style.
After you've created the team you will need to click 'enter a league'. It will ask you for a league code (below) and once you've confirmed your entry you are in the league. You won't be able to see other people's teams until the 1st stage, but have no fear; you've picked the winning team, so why does it matter?! Please send the code onto friends and ask them to join. We'd love to have your Dad all his mates play too (unless they beat us, in which case we'll bust them for doping).
Once you've joined the league, you can sit back and smile as you 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, glancing around nonchalantly to see if anyone was able to keep up (of course they weren't). As an added bonus - your wildcard wins a couple of stages in a heroic solo breakaway, riding all 220km alone, the chasing peloton unable to reel him in. Yes please Steve Cummings!
OR.....Your GC contender abandons on stage 3 after a deranged fan runs into him on the first uphill and knocks his sunglasses off. 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 1st at 3pm to enter your team. Bonne chance in your quest to dominate the fantasy cycling world. If you're unsure how to pick your team or enter a league please email us, tweet us or comment below the post.