The squad that will go up against Drheaton over the season

So the cycling season returns, and we love to get engaged in fantasy games, especially trying something new. The new concept this year is that of trying to emulate the challenge of Director Sportifs picking a squad for a whole season, balancing the aspect of budgets with collating the best assortment of riders to combat the variety of races throughout a season. As well as just the racing the team needs to accumulate enough UCI points to guarantee its spot on the World Tour. So having been challenged by Drheaton, I’m taking up the mantle of competing with his 29 man squad to try and beat his team, and secure a World Tour berth come the end of the year.

So as we do not have money ourselves, we picked our teams on a stringent budget of just 350 credits, requiring us to be decisive in picking the stars that can bring home a Grand Tour victory and even a classic, as well as allowing us to sign the riders we believe will be the up and coming stars throughout the year.

Below is the squad I assembled, with a balance between looking for stage wins, competing in the classics and having the leaders required to win the Tour. My main protagonists are a double pronged attack of Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador. I believe Sagan has what it takes to win many stages throughout the year, both in GT’s as well as picking up a classic along the way. Contador is the man I believe can bring home the Tour in July, as well as put up a strong showing at another Grand Tour, likely to be the Giro.


Sagan and Contador, the duo that should take the Tour by storm

I couldn’t have a team without the iconic Thomas Voeckler, who will again light up the tour and along the way should contend with another rider in my squad, Philippe Gilbert, for the Ardennes classics. Samuel Sanchez will also lead the attack at the Giro, while Szmyd will play a valuable role at Movistar as either a GT leader or as a domestic to Valverde. The classics should also see Gerrans, Iglinsky, Nordhaug and Ulissi come to the fore. The GT sprint stages will also play a valuable role in pulling in points, through riders in my squad such as Kittel and Demare, but riders that can sprint as well as compete in other events such as some of the classics are even more valuable, which is why riders such as Degenkolb, Greipel, Gatto and Nizzolo, one of the up and coming Italians, are in my squad.

Nizzolo, the talented Italian sprinter that can still be in the mix over undulating terrain 

Finally it’s not all just about the current stars, but the stars from future, which is why no less than 7 neo-pros can be found in my squad, with the stand out men that could cause a whirlwind in the peleton being Joesph Dombrowski, the young American now on Sky’s roster, and the incredibly talented Italian Fabio Aru who is on Astana’s roster.

Dombrowski is a rider who has already shown he could have the credentials to compete in stage races

Other riders on my roster that could achieve some big results include the re-emergence of Pellizotti, who should ride the Giro and contend in the classics, while im sure Jonny Hoogerland will again be targeting a mountains jersey at one of the GT’s after a poor season. Also with a fresh start at Garmin, can Nuyens rediscover the form we know he poses and claim another victory in a classic? The biggest unanswered question is what will Andy Schleck produce? At just 3 credits he could be a valuable rider.

Peter Sagan  AR, 35.4, Cannondale
Alberto Contador  GC, 35.2, Saxo-Tinkoff
Thomas Voeckler  GC, 33.7, Team Europcar
Andre Greipel  PC, 23.9, Lotto-Belisol
Philippe Gilbert  AR, 22, BMC Racing
John Degenkolb  PC, 18.2, Argos-Shimano
Joseph Dombrowski  KM, 17.8, Sky
Simon Gerrans  AR, 15.9, Orica GreenEDGE
Samuel Sanchez  DS, 12.4, Euskaltel-Euskadi
Giacomo Nizzolo  DS, 12.4, RadioShack Leopard
Fabio Aru  DS, 11.1, Astana
Arnaud Demare  DS, 10.2, FDJ
Maxim Iglinsky  DS, 9.6, Astana
Marcel Kittel  DS, 9.5, Argos-Shimano
Diego Ulissi  DS, 8.9, Lampre-Merida
Sylvester Szmyd  DS, 8.7, Movistar
Oscar Gatto  DS, 8, Vini Fantini
Lars Petter Nordhaug  DS, 7.1, Blanco Pro Cycling
Wesley Kreder  DS, 6.7, Vaconsoleil-DCM
Andrew Fenn  DS, 6.4, Omega PharmaQuickstep
Nick Nuyens  DS, 6.4, Garmin-Sharp
Franco Pellizotti  DS, 5.1, Androni Giocattoli
Johnny Hoogerland  DS, 4.5, Vaconsoleil-DCM
Carlos Alberto Betancurt  DS, 3, Ag2r-La Mondiale
Andy Schleck  DS, 3, RadioShack Leopard
Marc Goos  DS, 3, Blanco Pro Cycling
Ian Boswell  DS, 3, Sky
Bob Jungels  DS, 3, RadioShack Leopard
Sam Bewley  DS, 3, Orica GreenEDGE

So as the season goes on, not only will we keep you informed on how our teams are progressing, but also we will give you the low down on the riders causing a stir in the peleton.