As cycling fans we all like to think that we could be an excellent directeur sportif and luckily fantasy cycling games give us the chance to see how we would fare. They combine knowledge, not just of how to read a stage profile but of being able to look down a list of 180 riders and decide who is most likely to perform on that given day. I’ve played a number of fantasy cycling games over the years and I’ve listed 4 of the best on this page.
Top 4 Fantasy Cycling Games Online
The Road.cc fantasy cycling game is my bread and butter. Starting from 2013, it has become a daily ritual during the Grand Tours (and a smattering of other events) to make transfers and update the team. This game requires a daily login to do it justice, one missed day and your team may be full of GC contenders on a pan flat sprinter stage…it’s tough to claw back that kind of avoidable deficit.
Amongst friends, I’ve only not won our mini league once (2016 Giro, bah) but the competition is fierce with the transfers system allowing teams to catch up (or blow a lead). The greater interaction lends itself to more in-depth research to make sure your new rider suits the next day’s stage. A recent introduction in 2016 was a move away from a max of 2 transfers a day to a pot of about 40 transfers that had to last you the full three weeks of a Grand Tour. You can either choose to be frugal and horde them, or roll the dice and change up your entire team in one swoop if necessary.
The bulk of the points system is based on riders finishing in the top 20 on a stage, with 35 points for an all important stage win, the points start to drop off sharply. Making sure you have plenty of sprinters on a sprinting day and GC guys on days where the GC will obviously fight it out, are easy to call. The game changer is being able to somehow predict the stage where the breakaway makes it and hoovers up the first 8 scoring positions.
Generally I play this game conservatively and don’t pick many outliers. I also sacrifice one place on my team to a 3.0, cheapest possible, rider to free up budget space for the big guns.
Best Finish: 43rd Overall, 2013 Vuelta a Espana
Velogames is a ‘set and forget’ type of fantasy cycling game. Once your team is selected at the start of an event, that’s it, you get no transfers and you have to watch in horror as one of your main GC guys crashes out on Stage 2 (has happened to me…) failing to negotiate a roundabout. The unforgiving nature makes the game slightly more towards luck than the Road.CC game where mistakes can be hidden away after a day.
Traditionally I’ve always done less well on Velogames, being regularly beaten by friends. Clearly I’ve not got the scoring system mastered, but the one trick is to find that cheap person who turns out to be a GC goldmine – the then relatively unheralded Esteban Chaves earned huge points as he made his breakthrough in 2015.
A tough budget makes decisions all the harder to fit in everyone you want, but generally it seems to be best to make sure you get in the potential top 2 GC riders and their cheap domestiques to take you to glory. The points bonuses based on overall position can swing a league wide open at the end as they’re particularly generous.
Picking a reasonable sprinter for a good price and finding that up and coming gem are the hard decisions here. I did experiment with a team that I felt was more well rounded one time, but their lack of very high places meant that it was a very average score by the end of the competition. Definitely avoid doing this!
A solid, well-run fantasy cycling game, with regular updating and once you get past the small battle and foible of creating Leagues for each event, everything is good.
I am less experienced with Cobblestone fantasy cycling, but first came across it quite a few years ago. Belgian-run, there is no budget when picking a team, but instead you are forced to choose a rider each from 11 groupings. These are based on CQ Rankings which refelect a rider’s real life experiences. The season is split into sections, with your team of 11 expected to score across all the races until the next window.
What makes this game hard is the groupings. Sometimes in a group there may only be 2-3 riders actually even taking part in the upcoming races, which limits your selection. The obvious downside to having to pick riders this way is that you may be stuck with them for weeks even though they’re out with a broken collarbone and pulled out of all the races ahead. This rider selection does create some huge dilemmas to decide on as a player and definitely exercises some grey matter.
To finish off, we have a Tour de France only fantasy cycling game. It’s been running since the early days of the internet in 1994 with a very loyal base of players, over 250 of whom have played it 10 times or more (including me). My first go was in 2005, which I believe pre-dates the other games on this list, and I distinctly remember checking my team online in an internet cafe (remember those?) in Salzburg, Austria.
It’s the least flashiest game on this list (it technically didn’t have a logo for me to use), but sometime less is more. This game allows you to pick a team of 15 riders with no budget and you get points by having them place in the top 10 of a stage. The order in which you choose riders is the important skill with this game, your #1 rider will earn you 15 points for a top 10 finish whereas your 15th rider will only earn you 1 point.
Careful consideration needs to be paid to whether it is a GC or Sprinter stage heavy Tour and the likelihood of riders getting top 10s. Peter Sagan is an almost dead lock for your first rider, with Chris Froome a surprisingly effective second option. Daily updates with a brief synopsis and leaderboard comments make checking the daily points a worthwhile experience.
With no transfers able to be made, again you may find your #1 goes home early and your entire tea, is scuppered. There’s always next year.
After some pretty mediocre results, the last two years I appear to have come closer to cracking it with a 40th and 7th overall placing.
Best Finish: 7th Overall, 2015