For the last few years road.cc's fantastic fantasy cycling competition has allowed us all to get in touch with out inner Team Principals and Director Sportifs as our teams battle for supremacy. So much so that its easy to lose sight of just how tough their jobs really are.
Unlike our own fantasy teams Principals and DSs are restricted to the riders they have going in to the season and can't just draft in a couple of sprinters once the race profile flattens out a bit. That's why I personally love the Purist side of the competition. Picking a team of nine riders for an entire race, no transfers, no fixes, just having to watch as your lads flourish or flounder around the fields of France or on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. That's a real test of your fantasy nouse.
Let's get serious though, even that isn't a test comparable to being a real DS. You've still got the entire field to pick from for each race and where your star riders hits the deck and breaks his collarbone he's easily replaced by the time the next race comes along.
That's why for 2013 I've decided to do things properly. This year I'll be picking a squad of riders and running my team for the entire season. No transfers, no excuses, hopefully no broken bones...
After a decent run in 2012 ending with a 2nd at the Vuelta I'm aiming high. I want my squad to score more UCI points this year than the worlds current top ranked team, Team Sky. I won't just settle for points though, I'm also looking to take a grand tour podium position, grand tour jersey and a couple of classics along the way. It's a lot to ask but, well, how hard can it be?
On the fantasy side I've challenged the fantasy forum's resident procrastinator, Mr TERatcliffe, to pick his own team and he'll be blogging alongside me as we pray that our charges deliver the goods. If he beats me I may even throw in some road.cc socks.
I'll be picking my team under UCI rules, within a tight budget and, like the real pro's, will be hosting an unveiling on Monday to reveal my signings head of the first race of the year, the Tour Down Under.