BOOM! It's back, and better than ever! Get your virtual directeur sportif hat on and delve into a new season of Fantasy Cycling with road.cc! There's more races to play, and more chances to win, than ever before...
We've been beavering away behind the scenes to get the game ready super early this year, so you'll have a chance to play all the way through from the Tour Down Under to the World Championships. That's nearly ten months of racing, with 11 separate competitions to play. Excited? of course you are.
We've completely re-engineered the game engine to make the game easier to play, and we'll be bringing you some top prizes to play for too over the course of the year - stay tuned for that.
If you haven't played Fantasy Cycling before, it's easy: You pick nine riders, they score points based on how well they do in the races. Easy. You can also make transfers between stages to keep your team tip top. You can set up leagues to play your friends, and if you win competitions or stages along the way you'll get a prize. There's spot prizes too.
Our Fantasy Cycling season runs right through the year, taking in eleven separate competitions:
- Tour Down Under 17/1 - 22/1
- Paris-Nice 4/3 - 11/3
- Spring Classics 17/3 - 22/4
- Giro d'Italia 5/5 - 27/5
- Criterium du Dauphine 3/6 - 10/6
- Tour de France 30/6 - 22/7
- Olympics 28/7
- Clasica San Sebastian 14/8
- Vuelta a Espana 18/8 - 9/9
- Il Lombardia 29/9
- World Championships 15/10 - 23/10
So that's three grand tours, three week-long tours, the Spring classics, two day races, the Olympics and the World Champs. A bit of everything.
To kick us off we've teamed up with the lovely people at Upgrade Bikes, and they've sent us down a very nice pair of Reynolds Solitude wheels for the winner of the Tour Down Under. There's a blingin' Lezyne track pump in spangly gold for each and every stage winner, and a bunch of other prizes too. It's free to play and fun to be involved. Set up your team today!
To play the Fantasy game you need to be registered on road.cc. If you're not, click here to register. If you're registered and logged in, the game will create your account the first time you visit the fantasy site.
So, what's changed?
If you played last year then you'll be familiar with most of the rules of the game. There are a few changes though, so we'll quickly run through them here.
It's all about the races
This year we're concentrating on each race as a separate, standalone competiton. You'll still get an overall total, and there'll still be an overall prize. But that's more for the glory. It'll most likely be an actual trophy...
There aren't any overlapping competitions
Sorry, it was a faff and people didn't really get it. So we had to choose between the Criterium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse, and the Dauphiné won out.
You can make all your transfers at once
Instead of doing your transfers one by one, this year you can make all your transfers at once. This means you can try out different squads and combinations of riders before making your choice. Once you click commit there's no going back though...
You can have any combination of star riders
We've kept the rider classifications from last year, but this time round your team selection can be more fluid, to take into account the fact that you don't see many GC riders or climbers at some of the races; there aren't any of either riding in the Tour Down Under.
For 2012 you select four star riders and five domestiques for every stage. There's a budget of 150 credits for your team and, like last year, it's a maximum of two riders from one Pro team. So if you want to go for four all-rounders or four sprinters, that's your choice.
You can have extra transfers... but it'll cost you points
Messed up your team and really, REALLY want to make three transfers when there's only two available? Now you can. It's going to cost you though, 20 points per transfer off your stage total. They'll be deducted when the stage scores are calculated. There's more points available for a stage win though, so you never know - it could pay off...
You can roll your transfers over
If you want to save your transfers up and make lots of changes on one day, you can roll up to two transfers over from the previous stage. They're only available for the next stage though; after that you lose them.
Bigger scores for stage wins and breakaways
For 2012 you'll be getting more points for stage wins. 35 is the maximum for a stage win in a multi-day race, and for a one-day race it's 100 points for the first man over the line. It's still the top 20 that score on the finish line, so the margin between coming first and, say, fifth is greatly increased. Points for jerseys will remain the same, and breakaway points (break bonuses, intermediate sprints and climbs) will increase. So there's less emphasis on filling your squad with the jersey wearers, and more on picking the day's major players.
Lanterne Rouge becomes last man home
This year your tryer points will go to the man who's dead last on the stage, not the guy filling last place in the GC.
Rider values are set for the season
There was lots of to-ing and fro-ing about this one, but in the end we decided that it's better to set the rider values at the start of the season and stick with them. That way it's still about your skill in picking the right team, but people who join the game later on in the season aren't at a disadvantage. It inevitably means that by the Tour de France, some people will be looking like a bargain and others rather overpriced. But then, if you've been playing from the start you'll be more aware of that, eh...
You can make your leagues private
You can choose whether you want your leagues to be public or private. If they're public they'll be listed on the leagues page and anyone can join them. If they're private you'll need to tell your friends and approve them when they join.
That's about it, we think. Because we've been up against a tight deadline there's some aspects of the game that are scheduled to, erm, come online slightly later in the year. There will be a mobile-friendly version of the game, available from the Spring Classics competition, and full rider and user stats (with funky graphs) should be ready for the Paris-Nice.
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.