If you build it, they will come. Well, we were expecting a few hundred entries to our inaugural Fantasy Tour de France league, enough to make it interesting. But we weren't prepared for the response. To date over 1,750 people have joined up and we've been blown away by the amount of interest the game has generated.
We know for a fact that it's being played and discussed in offices up and down the country, by people who normally would only take a passing interest in the Tour, and that has to be a good thing. What a week it's been, and what an amazing first third the Tour has delivered.
Many people had Cancellara down as a shoe-in for the prologue win. But who else would be stepping up to the plate? One player managed to bag himself the entire top five – Cancellara, Martin, Millar, Armstrong and Thomas – and head up the leaderboard. A giant 157 point total saw Cack CC lead after the prologue. The first full stage on Sunday meant the first dilemma: go with safe points from the boys tucked in the GC or look for a stage winner? In the end a bit of both – Petacchi for the win, Renshaw for runner up and Millar, Thomas and Martin for the GC – netted Team elbooch a stage-topping 85 points.
Stage 2 was all about the break: if you had Sylvain Chavanel in your nine then that was 66 points right there, and since eveyone else rolled in together you just had to hope it was your boys rolling at the front. Team maillot verde also had a well-placed Robbie McEwen helping them to a haul of 136 points. Stage 3 brought the Roubaix cobbles, peloton splits and a fantastic performance from a star-struck Geraint Thomas to ride himself into second place in the GC. It was Ryder Hesjedal that was doing most of the scoring though, netting 51 points for his breakaway. With those two you were guaranteed 84 points; team Shityoshorts(!) added third placed Cadel Evans and a few other contenders to garner a massive 137 points.
Stage 4 was down to business for the sprinters, and it was the old guard in the form of Alessandro Petacchi bringing home the bacon. With the GC unlikely to change before the mountains there were plenty of bankers in the peloton, Geraint Thomas being the safest bet with both white and yellow jersey points almost guaranteed. That, and an unnerving psychic ability to predict the breakaway gave team Smell The Glove the top score of 89.
After Cav's misfire on the previous day many people will have transferred him out for stage 5 but the Manx Missile showed his mettle – and some welcome form – to boss the sprint and take the line. Break merchant Ivan Gutierrez was the top scorer on the day though with 38 points, and team Llannon Verloorders lined up those two with Cancellara Boasson-Hagen and Thomas to net 115 points and the day's honours.
And stage 6? Well with one stage win under his belt and some rediscovered confidence you'd back Cavendish to go out and get some more, and we didn't have to wait long with a perfect leadout from Renshaw delivering HTC Columbia another win. Geraint Thomas has been there or thereabouts all week, and his 11th place on the stage plus his GC and white jersey points gave him a total of 24 for the stage, and also placed him firmly on top of the rider's list with 138 points, well ahead of yellow jersey Cancellara. Team saioarri took the honours on stage six with a 105 point total from Cav, Thomas, Boasson Hagen, Cancellara and Sebastien Turgot.
So with a week gone, who's topping the pile? It's team kakashi, with a grand total of 588 points from the seven stages, that's a pretty impressive average of 84 per stage! There's been plenty of coming and going at the top of the listings though, so don't despair if your team has been a slow starter. With the Alps approaching the GC standings are set for a shake-up and there's plenty of points available on those bigger climbs for anyone who fancies going off the front. Time to start thinking about who your money is on for those mountain-top finishes...
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.