No GC points?

by londonplayer   May 29, 2012  

During the Spring Classics, no GC points were awarded in the FC comp. (probably because it would be impossible to calculate them!). As the Giro has just finished, I just wondered what other players views are on whether they should be awarded during Grand Tours.

The alternative name of this game is "Guess who's going to be in the Top 20 in this Stage". Why should you get points for GC places?

As has been mentioned on a previous thread, once someone obtains a high position in a particular Grand Tour, it can be difficult or almost impossible to catch them. I plead guilty to doing this myself, as I stock up with GC riders who may also place high in the individual Stage. eg Joaquin Rodriguez, Ivan Basso, Pozzovivo etc. etc.

Wouldn't it liven things up a bit to abolish the points for GC classification? Players would have to guess their nine riders for each stage and it would make the game more fluid.

BTW, before anyone lays into me, I'm just throwing this out there as an idea, not necessarily saying it should be implemented.

28 user comments

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Personally, I like it how it is. There's a balance in any team between riders who'll place well on the stage (Cavendish comes to mind) and those with guaranteed points.

If you play well then you can have some guaranteed points and some breakaway/stage points but to succeed you need both. Picking riders like Golas, Rubiano, Rabottini, Pirazzi and De Gendt was the difference between being top 10 and top 100. You still need to pick those riders getting high single stage scores to win.

I also don't think that it'll help, if you're at a stage where you're top 10 and 150 points down on 1st place with 4 or 5 summit finishes left you're still probably going to have exactly the same team as the person in 1st, it'll just be a different team to the one you might have picked when GC points are awarded.

The real problem is that races end with mountain stages which tend to be as predictable (on average, eg we all knew Hesjedal, Rodriguez, Basso, Uran, Scarponi and Pozzovivo were going to top 10 on each of the last stages) as sprint stages. This predictablility just lends itself to little or no movement in the standings unless you pick the stand out rider each day. And really, if there were no GC points for the Giro, would your team have been any different for the last week? Mine wouldn't.

It's a fair idea and worth discussing but personally, I don't see it helping much.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
29th May 2012 - 12:08

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one thing we're considering is changing the weighting of points. we've already done that to an extent: last year the stage winner got 20 points, this year it's 35. One option would be to knock the GC/jersey points down a bit, say 5,4,3,2,1 for GC and 3,2,1 for the other jerseys.

breakaway bonus is back for the Dauphine as there's no intermediate sprints. but we're also considering it for the tour as well. extra points for the tryers.

like drheaton says though, you'd have been mad to bin hesjedal or j-rod even if there weren't any GC points. would it have made that much difference? The people who win, win because they choose the right riders at the right time. robacairns subbed in de gendt and he soloed to victory; that wasn't the only good decision he made. It might be hard to catch those leaders but no GC points wouldn't have necessarily made it any easier. If you have a few bad stages and someone else doesn't have any, then they're going to win no matter what the scoring system surely?

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
29th May 2012 - 12:25

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I agree pretty much with both of your comments.

I also chose De Gendt for that penultimate stage (not boasting, honestly Wink ) but even at around 30th, it was impossible for me to catch up. Not that I was expecting to either.

The prizes for individual stage wins has been a great idea, keeping everyone interested even if you're too far behind to win the bike.

Just think that making the game more unpredictable might spice things up a bit even more.

I guess another idea I'd like to throw out there is this. When this game started, there was quite a strict framework for which riders you could choose ie 1 GC, 1 sprinter, 1 KOM, 2 AR's + 4 DS's - IIRC.

This changed to 4 star riders + 5 ds's. Why not go one step further and just allow players to choose any 9 riders? Afterall, you're restricted to a budget of 150 points so you can't choose the best riders even if you wanted to.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
29th May 2012 - 12:37

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I have to say that I prefer the points weighting this year to last, the bigger gaps higher up the placings and higher points in general is a good step and encourages you to go after stages as well as GC points rather than being able to rely more on the jerseys.

I'm not however a huge fan of breakaway bonuses, yes there's skill involved in picking the right guys but for me it comes too much down to luck. It's skillful to pick 9 of the top 15-20 finishers on a stage but picking a couple of the guys who make it up the road can sometimes be more luck than judgement. Having a 5 points award (as opposed to the 10 points on offer in the classics) for me might work as a middle ground and be a good bonus for those who get in the break but for the dauphine those breakaway guys will get plenty of KoM points regardless so it's already something teams will go after.

What I don't want is for the game to go back to being weighted in favour of picking breakaways as it was last year (because of lower stage finish scores). I remember stages of the TdF last year where the guys in the break were getting more points than those winning the stage and teams around me failing to pick any of the top 5 or 6 finishers but still beating me. In my opinion the most points on offer should always be for the stage winners. I like the points just how they are.

londonplayer wrote:
This changed to 4 star riders + 5 ds's. Why not go one step further and just allow players to choose any 9 riders? Afterall, you're restricted to a budget of 150 points so you can't choose the best riders even if you wanted to.

I do like this idea, trying to weigh up whether to pick 3, 4 or 5 stars would add complexity and be another variable. Especially for the classics and probably when the Olympics come around this would really give some variation in teams if they're able to pick 5 or even 6 medium-low priced stars.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
29th May 2012 - 12:44

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In my opinion the GC points should stay how they are and are weighted correctly. yes you may leave riders in for points based on GC points

But when you say guess your team, that may work if you had a new team for each stage. But with only 2 transfers it would be abit unfair to axe GC points, as you are still not planning for that 1 stage anyway but for mulitple stages

posted by TERatcliffe26 [3993 posts]
29th May 2012 - 14:55

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Planning GC vs Stage is one of the most enjoyable aspects! There were some stages in the Giro where it was better to have Nieve/Cunego for example than Uran/Intxausti/Basso who were higher on GC. I think the current balance makes it more than one dimensional which is good, as you have to foresee stage placings against likely GC placings and mix and match for the optimal team Big Grin Love the current format Big Grin

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posted by samjackson54 [60 posts]
29th May 2012 - 15:01

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I like the format of a set number of stars and DS's.

It makes it more realistic.

I think it was, however, important not to keep these rules for the world championships last year, and they worked well.

Pretty much keep it how it is, perhaps even more points for KoM's on Mountain Stages, and more Points points for flat stages.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
29th May 2012 - 15:34

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If you really wanted to add unpredictability to the Grand Tours maybe they should pick a random placing lower down the league before the start of each Grand Tour, eg. 500th or 777th or whatever, and say that the team that finishes in that particular position at the end of 3 weeks will get the top prize! I mean, each day you'd have the teams above that placing dropping their star riders for lower point scoring options to try to drop down the league whilst those below would be able to continue picking the star riders in the hope of getting closer to the lucky position, whilst those who find themselves in or around that placing on a particular day would be totally flummoxed as to what to do next! Big Grin

Joking apart, I think the current format is more user friendly than last year and it seems to strike a reasonable balance between luck, skill and judgement so it should at least be maintained to the end of the year without any major overhauls.

posted by manxfelipe [57 posts]
29th May 2012 - 21:33

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I'll chuck my 2p in then.

I'm fairly happy the way things are at the minute, BUT, I do also see the points raised, In Grand Tours, it will always be a select few riders who will be up there in the stage and GC every day in the last week or so of the race, because thats how these 3 week tours work, Give the sprinters their chance early as you will always have a number of them dropping out when it gets to long days of climbing, those stronger ones who can hold in might get a couple more chances.

Other than that its the same guys who will be racing up the climbs to beat each other, sometimes it could be 15 of them, more likely to be 5-7 of them and its a safe bet if you've made enough points in early stages, that keeping the GC guys will keep your points ticking over while they all battle each other.

Break away points is where it's at, if they were slightly higher, you'd see more people risking maybe a GC guy for someone who might go on a break and therefore gaining or losing points and places by doing so. It would also give some people who might have lost a few points here and there a chance to jump back up in contention. Nothing to lose kind of thing. Might aswell pick 5 DS who could be in breaks over the few who can keep with the GC guys.

The only thing that I do worry about for next year, is changes in the riders classifications. From last year to this, there have been a number of riders who've jumped quite a bit in value or/and have been moved to "star" rider status. While this will work from last year to this. To say "another DS will come along and replace him" isn't going to work year on year, as most of you will know, pro teams are not like football clubs who can replace most of the team in an off season, yes riders do switch teams, but every year there will not be enough "DS" (rookie) riders coming through to account for anyone who might have a good season and be promoted in the game to a "star"

We'll see how the idea's evolve through the rest of the season and what might get changed for next. Big Grin

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posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
30th May 2012 - 0:23

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What you're forgetting Gkam is riders move the other way, just look at Txurruka who was an expensive KM/GC guy last year and is an average priced DS this season.

I think consistency is key now. The game had changed a lot over the past two years, I think it needs to settle down and just be tweaked slightly but overall it should remain unchanged.

Re the breakaways, I think on mountain stages in particular people go after the breaks because they know if you get it right its 40-60 points for the right rider. The key to being, and staying, at the top of the table though seems to be playing it safe. Boosting breakaway points might change things a little but, as someone said to me, as soon as you start chasing breaks you know you've lost. Chasing breaks might work 1 or 2 days out of 5 but you'll drop a lot of points on the other 3 days.

Also, picking breakaway riders is already instrumental in having a winning team, you need them to win spot/stage prizes and through a three week tour you need to pick at least a couple to win, in the end the difference between me and first place was having two of Rubiano/Golas, Rabottini and Pirazzi on their big breakaway days, and I already picked a couple like De Gendt. Just because the winners picked up their breakaway points early in the race doesn't make them less valid than ones picked up at the end of three weeks.

Lastly (sorry, kept thinking of things as I was walking to the bus) the TdF had two intermediate sprints on stages last year, giving extra breakaway points to riders if this is still in place would be a bit overkill in my opinion.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
30th May 2012 - 6:11

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I came second and didnt pick a single breakaway rider. From my point of view if you consider Rabottini and Rubiano maybe scored 60-odd points on their best Giro stages and look at the amaount of breakaway/DS-looking-to-get-in-a-breakaway type riders there are in the game, it really is a lottery. Chapeau to anyone who had Rabottini/Rubiano before their first breakaway, but I just put them in for 5 or 4 KOM points and the hope they would maybe go in another break to maintain their jersey standings. In this respect, fantasy cycling mirrors actual cycling as who could predict who was going to go in a break on any given stage? Yet it is possible to predict 10 or so guys who you think will figure at the end.

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posted by samjackson54 [60 posts]
30th May 2012 - 8:19

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I think GC points are low enough, as for a sprint for example a J-rod who is top GC is not going to be in the sprint, so has 10 points. Yet anoyone finishing higher than 11th will score the same or points....so the logic is you will always take out J-rod for say Cav for example. The only time i think the GC points make a difference are when there are multiple mountain stages together, and thus banking on some GC points maybe more beneficial, but more often than not on a stage like that, the GC guy will be high up anyway on the stage, so why would you take him out. I dont think you purely base your decision on GC points, its a combo of GC points and transfers, and the riders in the race at the time

So you have hesjedal and J-rod 1 and 2 on GC, and you have 2 transfers. but alot of the sprinters have left (s17) but you have a GC rider not scoring. You gonna bank some GC points for 1 GC guy, and bring in Cav, then you bring in say Kristoff for your DS as he is sprinting well. In most peoples minds the same tactic would take place regardless of GC points.

Whereas in the ToC it was completely the other way, with 2 transfers left for the last stage, even if you had Gesink on GC it was pretty much a gurantee Sagan + Haussler would top 5, so if you had to axe Gesink for one of them you would have done regardless of GC points.

Your not gonna be high up just purely banking on GC points every stage. So I think the right balance has been struck at the moment

posted by TERatcliffe26 [3993 posts]
30th May 2012 - 10:46

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I like the idea of breakaway points, for the reason that it allows you to speculate on stages that look set up for a breakaway, then the likes of Bak, casar, Voekler, low price DS can be put into the team. This is particularily useful during flat to Mountain transitions, where you can put in guys who will be good when its starts to go up, but also like to breakaway, and then still have a chance of getting points.If you see what I mean.
I don't think it will make much difference to overall standings though. If you pick the breakaway points winner everyday for 5 points in a 21 stage race, with 3 time trials thats 18x5 which equals 90 points, drop in the ocean.
Like Hesjedal in the Giro consistency is the key in this game, you can't score 2 points like I did when the stage was won with nearly 200 it's no use, you never get this back.

posted by thefatcyclist [584 posts]
30th May 2012 - 11:16

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Agreed, consistency is the key, I was looking at the stages where I dropped points in the Giro and it was mainly the first two sprint days (I didn't have Cav the first day when he won, I did the second when he crashed) and stages 8 (didn't have enough top 10 finishers) and 17 (when I dropped Hesjedal for Rujano because I was break hunting).

No amount of breakaway points would have made up for my mistakes on those stages. Those four stages amounted to 161 of the 185 points I dropped on 1st place, and three of those stages came in the first 8 days meaning I was always behind.

Consistent high scoring, on all stages is the key to winning. A few lucky breaks always helps but you need to be up there permanently. One bad day can ruin everything.

Also, adding breakaway bonus points wouldn't really affect the last week (which is usually mountain heavy), it'd just mean that if you pick a rider in a breakaway who doesn't do a Rabottini and go after all the KoM points (if there's say a 10 or 15 man break only 3 or 4 will get plenty of points from summits) you get a consolation 5 or 10 points for your troubles. You'll still drop points because you'd have been better off with a Pozzovivo/Henao rather than your Sella/Nievi but you won't drop as many points. If you pick a Rabottini then you're already doing well to the tune of 50+ points, another 10 wouldn't encourage you to go after more breaks, it'd just reward you more for getting it right.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
30th May 2012 - 11:38

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You can't rely on new ds coming through every season, I scored some good points with the Uni SA guys in the TDU after Dave added that team, and similarily with the Livestrong Bontragers in the TOC, but that took a bit of rerearch, then conversely and through complete stupidity didn't put Haussler in 4 times, and picked the wrong Livestrong rider for climbs. You can't make these stupid errors. I banked on Italians doing well in the Giro, but they were poor this year. Kittel was great last season as a ds, a bargain, this year he is a poor value star, try and pick DS to win sprints in the Dauphine, where there are so few. Conversely try to decide which of the plethora of star sprinters in the TDS will win stages. This game is now really difficult, great but difficult. We will see just how difficult in the Tour, when a lot of this seasons star performers will not be present. Where the big consolodated teams will have an embarresment of riches, and when the types of stages, make forward planning difficult. 10 stages with medium mountains thrown in ending in a time trial before a rest day, going to need these 4 transfers, then a plain/high/plain/high combination.as part of the 2nd half of the race. You can't afford to sacrifice stages for ones to come now, or you are dead, so unless a pattern appears early like in Giro 2011, it will be very hard.
Thanks dave Big Grin

posted by thefatcyclist [584 posts]
30th May 2012 - 12:52

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Thats going to be a problem with Radioshack and BMC this year in the TdF with all their big guns, you'll be lucky is there are 4/5 DS's between them.

But I do think if break away points were higher, it would make the game more interesting. Say a group of 10 or less got away, have a minute over the pack at half way, bonus, 10 points. BUT, I could have the same 10 points on the opening stages just be having the top GC guy in my team and he'll be up there in the finishes, In the opening stage's aswell, Normally if your top GC, you've also got some points to score in the points jersey. So why risk a break guy for "safe" points.

Normally the break away is going to get caught anyway, so you might just get the 10 points from the guy you have in the break, plus a couple here or there if he crosses a sprint or KoM in a good spot.

BUT if the break of 10 or less were getting say 20 points... are you going to keep the safety of your GC leader for 10 plus maybe 4 for points?

That 20 for a break, could easily be 25-30 after the KoM and Sprints and then even 50-70 if they stayed away. I'd rather risk a break away over the GC guy Wink

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posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
30th May 2012 - 14:54

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As a purist I've found the mix of points awarded works well - I imagine for those running the game it is a difficult ballance setting scoring to please both purists and non-purists. My plea to keep GC points would be based on the importance in real-life teams place in having a rider place high on GC in a tour - see how much sky made of having 2riders in the top 10 of Giro - alongside the importance of taking individual stages.

posted by Skibish [65 posts]
30th May 2012 - 15:11

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Gkam84 wrote:
But I do think if break away points were higher, it would make the game more interesting. Say a group of 10 or less got away, have a minute over the pack at half way, bonus, 10 points. BUT, I could have the same 10 points on the opening stages just be having the top GC guy in my team and he'll be up there in the finishes, In the opening stage's aswell, Normally if your top GC, you've also got some points to score in the points jersey. So why risk a break guy for "safe" points.

Normally the break away is going to get caught anyway, so you might just get the 10 points from the guy you have in the break, plus a couple here or there if he crosses a sprint or KoM in a good spot.

BUT if the break of 10 or less were getting say 20 points... are you going to keep the safety of your GC leader for 10 plus maybe 4 for points?

That 20 for a break, could easily be 25-30 after the KoM and Sprints and then even 50-70 if they stayed away. I'd rather risk a break away over the GC guy Wink

I really don't like the idea that at 20 points having someone in a break who doesn't get any sprint or KoM points would be worth the same as a rider finishing in the top 5 on the stage. Yeah, breakaway winners should be worth a shed load of points, likewise riders who get plenty of KoM points in a break, but why should being in a failed break be rewarded, as a bare minimum, as well as finishing 5th on the stage?

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
30th May 2012 - 15:51

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drheaton wrote:
...why should being in a break be rewarded as well as finishing 5th on the stage?...

I agree... but I'd be ok with any rider who gets away on a break to get 5 points for the day... It's commensurate to the 5 points awarded to the stage weiner's teammates...

I'd also like KOM points awarded on the last climb of a day that finishes on a climb... which is not being done roght now... It seems a little weird to award them throughout the stage but not at the finish... but only (!) KOM points! I think PC points are accounted for in the Finish Line points...

Vive Le Road.cc Fantasy Cycling Game!

posted by enrique [1795 posts]
30th May 2012 - 17:11

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drheaton wrote:

I really don't like the idea that at 20 points having someone in a break who doesn't get any sprint or KoM points would be worth the same as a rider finishing in the top 5 on the stage. Yeah, breakaway winners should be worth a shed load of points, likewise riders who get plenty of KoM points in a break, but why should being in a failed break be rewarded, as a bare minimum, as well as finishing 5th on the stage?

Because in my eyes, quite a few stages wouldn't be worth watching if it wasn't for the break away guys.

But if you think about it. More points should be awarded to things that are harder to predict. Break away's are just that.

Look at a sprint stage, where Cav, Goss, Farrar, Greipel. Ok there may be others that got into the top few places, But one of them is going to be in the top 5, unless the finish has been set up badly with stupid corners and everyone crashes. So thats not hard to predict.

Same goes for summit finishes and stages with a few Cat 1's or HC climbs, in any one race, there are only going to be a handful of riders who finish in the top places. Making it somewhat predictable.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
30th May 2012 - 17:22

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In my opinion,the game has the right balance as regards scoring....It doesnt need tinkering with at the moment...Any tinkering should be done at the end of the current game and not mid-season.....We are all playing in the same field.....The game is not broke so why try and fix it....Seems to me that some people are just never satisfied.... Cool

The G Fan Club...

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posted by STEVESPRO 79 [507 posts]
30th May 2012 - 18:09

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enrique wrote:
I'd also like KOM points awarded on the last climb of a day that finishes on a climb... which is not being done roght now... It seems a little weird to award them throughout the stage but not at the finish... but only (!) KOM points! I think PC points are accounted for in the Finish Line points...

Not sure if I agree with this, and anyway, PC points aren't covered in the finish line points on sprint stages. It'd really really bias the game in favour of picking the top 5 or so finishers, 35 points + 25 or so KoM or PC points would give 60 for 1st, a massive massive bias away from how the points stand currently.

Gkam84 wrote:
Because in my eyes, quite a few stages wouldn't be worth watching if it wasn't for the break away guys.

But if you think about it. More points should be awarded to things that are harder to predict. Break away's are just that.

Look at a sprint stage, where Cav, Goss, Farrar, Greipel. Ok there may be others that got into the top few places, But one of them is going to be in the top 5, unless the finish has been set up badly with stupid corners and everyone crashes. So thats not hard to predict.

Same goes for summit finishes and stages with a few Cat 1's or HC climbs, in any one race, there are only going to be a handful of riders who finish in the top places. Making it somewhat predictable.

If you want hard to predict why not give 10 points for the 77th rider across the finish line, or the 10 points to each rider from the team of the guy finishing 7th? An extra 100 points for the team that scores 91st on the stage? There needs to be a balance between predictably (ie skill based) and unpredictability (part luck but also hunches and feelings on who's going to do well).

Giving too many points to breaks would, in my opinion, skew the game away from being skill based and too far towards being luck based. If you can get more points from picking 9 possible breakaway riders than using skill and picking maybe 1 successful breakaway rider, 3 GC guys and 5 top 10 finishes then the game would be less fun rather than more fun.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
30th May 2012 - 18:11

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Also, the main issue was the ability to move and down the leagues easier. Adding more breakaway points wouldn't change it. Instead of having Golas and Rubiano for a guaranteed 4 and 5 points mid-Giro I'd have had Keizer and Kaisen for probably a guaranteed 20 or 40 points per stage... the problem? So would everyone else.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
30th May 2012 - 18:23

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There was the suggestion a few months ago that you pick your stage winners for each stage, and your top ten GC.

These correspond to points, added to your final score.

It would be quite interesting to make these points stupidly overvalued, at say 50 points for picking a stage winner, and 25 for each GC place you pick correctly.

And jersey winners.

Which is another thing, I think that holding a jersey should be worth more points than it is now, especially the young riders jersey.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
30th May 2012 - 18:25

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Raleigh wrote:

And jersey winners.

Which is another thing, I think that holding a jersey should be worth more points than it is now, especially the young riders jersey.

The problem with that, your going to end up with alot of teams having GC leader, Sprint leader, KoM Leader and Young Leader, stacking up points without having to make changes Wink

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posted by Gkam84 [9040 posts]
30th May 2012 - 19:56

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Gkam84 wrote:
Raleigh wrote:

And jersey winners.

Which is another thing, I think that holding a jersey should be worth more points than it is now, especially the young riders jersey.

The problem with that, your going to end up with alot of teams having GC leader, Sprint leader, KoM Leader and Young Leader, stacking up points without having to make changes Wink

Hmmm.

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
30th May 2012 - 20:26

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Right now I think the balance is pretty much spot on, what you want is for your transfers to have the potential to really improve your score (which they do) and for your team to need changing consistently through the tour to get the most points (which it does). Making the right choices with your transfers is what makes the game interesting.

Whatever the scoring system the best teams will always end up with the same 7, 8 or even 9 riders depending on whatever gives the best points whether that's from breakaways, stage finishes or GC/jersey points. There's not much you can really do to change that. Likewise if someone gets a lead over you its going to be very difficult to overhaul them whatever the points system because once you start making high risk/reward transfers you're always going to lose out unless you have incredible luck. One transfer gone wrong and you're even further behind and need to take even bigger risks

STEVESPRO is right though, the move to premium was a huge change and the game needs time now to settle down, I think refining the scoring systems might be something to consider at the end of the season but nothing should change before then and I'm sure there'll be plenty more suggested changes before we get there.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
30th May 2012 - 20:44

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plus, we're busy making all sorts of new and exciting stuff

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
30th May 2012 - 22:20

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