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PCM.daily » Pro Cycling Manager 2014 » PCM 14: Stories
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Penny Pinching 2020: Falling Stars
Ripley
i.imgur.com/PYmKc7p.jpg

Penny Pinching: Low wages, great success?

Those of you (un)fortunate enough to follow my previous stories know that I cannot help myself, I'll do anything to win everything. Which, let's be honest, doesn't make for a terribly exciting story. After my last career featured here, I sat down a couple of years ago and thought about how to restrict myself and came up with the following thrifty idea:

In this career I will start by paying no rider a wage more than 2,500 Euros per month, increasing the limit by 500 Euros every season. So in the 15th season, if I ever make it that far, I will be able to pay riders up to 10,000 Euros per month.

2014: max wage 2.5k
2015: 3k
2016: 3.5k
...
2020: 5.5k
...
2025: 8k
...
2029: 10k

The problem I saw with this idea is that it won't make any difference in the first couple of seasons in the CT and PCT, where my budget restricts the wages anyway. Only now, as I'm writing these lines, I realise I could have solved this with some editing. Why didn't I think of that earlier? It would have avoided the problem of rushing through the first two seasons to make it to the World Tour which made me pick up bad habits I couldn't get rid of anymore – see "Wall of Text" below.

DB: CFQBase 2014 v2
Difficulty: hard
No daily form
No training camps
Wage limit, rising slowly

I chose a new db for this challenge, though I noticed it's pretty much the same db as before, little more than a realname db. I could really do with a fantasy db, to be honest, it's boring to see the same riders in every career. For example, Quintana and Kwiatkowski will be mentioned very often. I extended all team sponsorships until 2032, so there won't be any new sponsors replacing the current (2014) sponsors.

The team: The team is called Aviva Cycling. Unfortunately, that's the same name and jersey as my ICL team, but there's no connection. In the ICL I'm roleplaying a little, here I'm playing my usual game, all nationalities are equally welcome. I haven't even set any sponsor regions, hoping that this will give me more sponsor goal variations from season to season.

Playing style: Nothing will change, as always, I'll be as aggressive as possible and try every trick in the book to achieve the best results. This will surely lead to a few unrealistically good results, especially in the one-day WT races in August and September. Don't blame me, blame the game. I'll usually simulate all flat stages (unless I have a decent sprinter), all time trials and all non-WT races which aren't goal races.

Goals: My main goal is to do as well as possible in the WT team rankings. I'll take all sponsor goals seriously, too, even though it won't be necessary after a while, my budget will be far higher than the wages I'm restricting myself to.

Wall of text: After posting my last story I had vowed to make my next story look more... professional, more in line with the great storytellers here on PCM.daily. Well, I'm sorry, but it just didn't happen for this story. I pretty much forgot to take any screenshots, you'll be lucky to see one per season. I'm also an idiot who's still not used to exporting results. So if you want to follow this story, you'll have to use your reading glasses, sorry. Results will appear in the text somewhere, sometimes with time gaps. I'll mention some stage finishes in stage races, so if you want the exact profiles you can look them up separately.

The one thing I have done is keep a word processor open while playing and I wrote down my observations most of the time. The document contains over 120 pages at the time I'm writing this, I've already reached the year 2021 in-game. Some bits can be published as written, others will need a complete rewrite, some passages will need censoring (PCM frustrations). I will try and provide a few tables at the start and end of every season and I have kept all weekly saves, so if anybody asks for additional information – for example, about their favourite teams and riders – I can dig it up.

I have decided to just summarise the first two seasons in a couple of posts, the proper story will start with the WT in 2016. I'll then report race by race, my notes have become more thorough as the career progresses, simply because there is more to tell.

How far can this team go? Will there be any notable progression with the small rise in wages every season? Will we ever win a Grand Tour? Probably not. Let's find out.
Edited by Ripley on 02-12-2019 07:48
 
Ripley
Career Overview

AVGWT PtsCQ PtsVictories
201469.372172 (23.)26 (11.)
201569.713929 (15.)35 (3.)
201670.22668 (11.)4694 (13.)22 (12.)
201771.16887 (9.)5591 (10.)28 (8.)
201871.84787 (10.)5273 (10.)24 (8.)
201972.601278 (2.)7015 (6.)35 (7.)
202073.29


Noteworthy results 2020

Stage 5 Tour Down Under (Oughton)
2nd overall Tour Down Under (Denis)
1st Classic Sud Ardeche (Hermans)
1st GP Camaiore (Falkenmayer)
9th overall Paris-Nice (Tewelde)

KOM: Tour Down Under (Oughton), Paris-Nice (Sequeiros)


Noteworthy results 2019
Spoiler
6th overall Tour Down Under (Singh)
Stage 1 Tour du Haut Var-matin (Oughton)
1st overall Tour du Haut Var-matin (Oughton)
7th overall Paris-Nice (Grande)
Stage 5 Tirreno-Adriatico (Sergienko)
9th overall Tirreno-Adriatico (Singh)
7th Milano-Sanremo (Singh)
Stage 1 Volta a Catalunya (Grande)
Stage 7 Volta a Catalunya (Wojtasik)
1st overall Volta a Catalunya (Grande)
1st Ronde van Drenthe (Heubach)
1st Classic Loire Atlantique (Veiby)
4th E3 Harelbeke (Veiby)
8th Gent-Wevelgem (Polyakov)
1st overall Three Days of De Panne (Veiby)
4th Ronde van Vlaanderen (Veiby)
3rd Paris-Roubaix (Polyakov)
1st Rund um Köln (Veiby)
4th La Fleche Wallone (Sergienko)
1st GP d'Argovie (Marrou)
Stage 5 Tour de Suisse (Marrou)
Stage 7 Tour de Suisse (Foetz)
Stage 9 Tour de Suisse (Grmay)
8th overall Tour de Suisse (Davis)
Stages 8 and 15 Tour de France (Köszegi)
Stages 9 and 19 Tour de France (Grmay)
5th Clasica San Sebastian (Singh)
1st overall Tour de Pologne (Davis)
1st overall Eneco Tour (Marrou)
8th Hamburg Cyclassics (De Windt)
1st GP Quest (Singh)
6th overall La Vuelta (Grmay)
7th overall La Vuelta (Davis)
1st GP Quebec (Singh)
2nd GP Montreal (Singh)
7th Il Lombardia (Singh)
1st overall Tour of Beijing (Köszegi)

KOM: Tour Down Under (Oughton), Paris-Nice (Kudus), Tirreno-Adriatico (Sequeiros), Volta a Catalunya (Grande), Pais Vasco (Denis), Romandie (Kudus), Giro d'Italia (Grande), Dauphine (Kudus), Tour de Suisse (Grmay), Tour de France (Köszegi), Tour de Pologne (Grande), Tour of Beijing (Köszegi)

NC road races won: Colombia (Sebastian Henao), Ethiopia (Grmay), Germany (Schössler), Kazakhstan (I. Sergienko), Poland (Wojtasik), Portugal (Manaia) and Russia (Kuznetsov)

Noteworthy results 2018
Spoiler
Stage 5 Tour Down Under (Tim de Jong)
4th overall Tour Down Under (Ivan Singh)
Stage 1 Haut Var-matin (Wojtasik)
1st overall Haut Var-matin (Wojtasik)
8th E3 Harelbeke (Bugge)
8th Gent-Wevelgem (Valgren)
9th Ronde van Vlaanderen (Bugge)
Stage 1 Giro del Trentino (TTT)
Stage 2 Giro del Trentino (Formolo)
Stage 14 Giro d'Italia (Inacio)
Stage 7 Tour of California (Davis)
1st GP Plumelec (Skujins)
Stage 3 Dauphine (Grande)
Stage 7 Tour de Suisse (Manaia)
Stage 8 Tour de Suisse (Grmay)
Stage 6 Tour de France (Fiedler)
Stages 7 and 14 Tour de France (Grmay)
Stage 1 Tour of Austria (Köszegi)
Stage 5 Tour of Austria (Koloda)
2nd overall Tour of Austria (Köszegi)
1st Prueba Villafranca de Ordizia (Wojtasik)
4th Clasica San Sebastian (Tewelde)
Stage 5 Tour de Pologne (De Vos)
Stage 6 Tour de Pologne (de Jong)
7th overall Eneco Tour (Valgren)
Stage 4 Tour of Britain (Kudus)
2nd overall Tour of Britain (Singh)
4th GP Quebec (Lammertink)
2nd GP Montreal (De Vreese)
9th Il Lombardia (De Vreese)
3rd overall Tour of Beijing (Tewelde)

KOM: Tour Down Under (Tim de Jong), Basque Tour (Zilioli), Giro d'Italia (Figares), Tour of California (Davis), Tour de Suisse (Grmay), Tour de France (Grmay), Tour de Pologne (De Vos), Tour of Britain (Formolo), Tour of Beijing (Inacio)

NCs: Portugal (Inacio), Spain (Grande) and Germany (Schössler)

Noteworthy results 2017
Spoiler
8th overall Tour Down Under (Vilela)
Stage 7 Paris-Nice (Hoem)
8th Milano-Sanremo (Hoem)
Stage 4 Catalunya (Lemesle)
Stage 7 Catalunya (Brown)
Stage 2 Pais Vasco (Waeytens)
10th Amstel Gold Race (M. Lammertink)
8th Fleche Wallone (Hoem)
7th Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Hoem)
Stage 2 Trentino (Bolivar)
Stage 5 Trentino (N. Brown)
Stage 4 Giro d'Italia (Puccio)
Stage 5 Dauphine (Bolivar)
Stage 4 Suisse (R. Silva)
Stage 9 Suisse (Golem)
Stage 17 Tour de France (Golem)
8th San Sebastian (Hoem)
Stage 5 Poland (Wojtasik)
4th overall Poland (Wojtasik)
Stage 5 Eneco Tour (Valgren)
2nd Cyclassics (Wojtasik)
1st GP Quest (De Vreese)
8th overall Vuelta (Golem)
Stage 8 Vuelta (Puccio)
Stage 12 Vuelta (Golem)
Stages 13, 18, 19 Vuelta (Kirchmair)
1st GP Quebec (De Vreese)
2nd GP Montreal (M. Lammertink)
2nd Tour of Beijing (Golem)

KOM: Pais Vasco (Manaia), Dauphine (Foetz), Suisse (Golem), Tour de France (Golem), Vuelta a Espana (Kirchmair)

NC RR: Australia (Tim de Jong), Switzerland (Golem), Russia (Pomoshnikov), Poland (Wojtasik), Netherlands (Goos), Denmark (Valgren), Portugal (Bruno Silva)

Noteworthy results 2016
Spoiler
1st Volta Limburg Classic (Goos)
Stage 6 Tirreno-Adriatico (Hoem)
Stage 1 Giro del Trentino (Garby)
5th Gent-Wevelgem (Gougeard)
11th Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Hoem)
Stage 7 Tour of California (Bolivar)
Stages 7 and 8 Dauphine (Golem)
1st GP d'Argovie (Rafael Silva)
Stage 5 Tour de Suisse (Goos)
Stage 9 Tour de France (Golem)
Stage 10 Tour de France (Hoem)
5th Clasica San Sebastian (R. Silva)
6th and 7th overall Tour de Pologne (R. Silva, Hoem)
8th and 9th overall Eneco Tour (R.Silva, Sütterlin)
1st Tour de l'Ain (Morton)
2nd and 3rd GP Quest (Hoem, R. Silva)
Stages 8 and 15 La Vuelta (Golem)
Stage 14 La Vuelta (Morton)
1st GP Montreal (Rafael Silva)
2nd and 3rd overall Tour of Beijing (Hoem, Pomoshnikov)

KOM: Volta ao Algarve (R. Silva), Paris-Nice (R. Silva), De Panne (Goos), Pais Vasco (Pomoshnikov), Giro d'Italia (Del Pino), Dauphine (Golem) Tour de France (Golem), Tour de Pologne (Wojtasik), La Vuelta (Morton), Tour of Beijing (Pomoshnikov)

NC RR: Australia (Morton), Denmark (Hansen), Portugal (R. Silva)

Career Milestones:
- October 2014: Promotion from CT to PCT
- October 2015: Promotion from PCT to WT
- January 2016: First WT point (Hoem, Tour Down Under, stage 2)
- March 2016: First WT KOM (Rafael Silva, Paris-Nice)
- March 2016: First WT victory (Hoem, Tirreno-Adriatico, stage 6)
- March 2016: First top 25 in a monument (Rafael Silva, Milan-San Remo)
- March 2016: First top 10 in a WT one-day race (Gougeard, Gent-Wevelgem)
- June 2016: First Grand Tour KOM (Del Pino, Giro d'Italia)
- July 2016: First Grand Tour stage (Golem, Tour de France)
- August 2016: First top 10 in a WT stage race (Hoem & Silva, Pologne)
- August 2016: First podium in a WT one-day race (Hoem & Silva, GP Quest)
- September 2016: First win in a WT one-day race (R. Silva, GP Montreal)
- October 2016: First podium in a WT stage race (Hoem, Beijing)
- March 2017: First top 10 in a monument (Hoem, Milano-Sanremo)
- September 2017: First top 10 in a Grand Tour (Golem, Vuelta)
- March 2019: First WT stage race win (Grande, Catalunya)
- April 2019: First monument podium (Polyakov, Paris-Roubaix)
Edited by Ripley on 06-12-2019 07:47
 
Ripley
2014: A flying start

Here is a brief summary of the 2014 season. The new team Aviva Cycling started in the Continental division with 12 riders. I decided to get some of the best riders I could find for the minimum wage, because that will be a theme as the career goes on, to always try and hire the best possible riders for the strictly limited wage budget. We went with a mix of riders, most of them competent on hilly terrain.

NameAgeWageContTop StatAVGPot
Sergej Fuchs2625002014HIL 7269.74
Michael Kolar2125002015SPR 7369.72
Juan Pablo Suarez2825002014HIL 7369.74
Albert Timmer2825002014FLA 7269.62
Vladimir Isaychev2725002014FLA 7469.53
Matthew Brammeier2825002015FLA 7469.53
Ruben Fernandez2225002015MON 7369.54
Rafaâ Chtioui2725002014HIL 7069.32
David Tanner2925002014HIL 7269.23
Jake Keough2625002014SPR 7369.13
Paolo Ciavatta2925002015HIL 7268.93
Frederik Backaert2325002015HIL 7368.73

The 2014 season was, as expected, extremely successful. Everybody contributed, our most proliferous rider was Ruben Fernandez with 6 victories. He also scored 712 CQ (or superprestige, as PCM calls it) points, ranking him 48th in the world. We fulfilled 12 of the 15 objectives, overfulfilling a lot of them. Instead of winning just one stage of the Tour of Britain, for example, we claimed four stages.

Top 5 Beverbeek Classic23/02*M.KolarTop 3
Top 5 Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia01/03*****D. TannerTop 5
Top 5 La Drôme Classic02/03****F.Backaert1st
Top 10 Classic Loire Atlantique22/03***M.BrammeierTop 3
Top 10 Route Adélie de Vitré04/04**R.ChtiouiTop 3
Top 10 GP de Denain17/04****M.BrammeierTop 25
Top 10 Tour du Finistère19/04**F.BackaertTop 10
Top 3 Tro-Bro Léon20/04*****D. TannerTop 10
Top 10 Rund um Köln21/04***S.FuchsTop 3
Top 5 Ringerike GP10/05*P.CiavattaTop 3
Top 5 Olympia's Tour12/05-***V.Isaychev1st
Top 10 Grand Prix Tartu31/05*J.Keough1st
Stage win(s) Qinghai Lake06/07-****R.FernandezStage, Top 3
Top 5 GP Kranj03/08**D. TannerTop 3
Stage win(s) Britain07/09-*****V.IsaychevStage win(s)

Probably the most unexpected goal to fulfil was a top 5 in the Vuelta a Murcia, where a lot of WT riders lined up. Placing Tanner in the breakaway was a great move, he could just about keep up with Navardauskas and Lastras on the big climb and the only rider to bridge the gap from the peloton was Nordhaug. The better riders, including pre-race favourite Dan Martin, were riding alone or found nobody to share the workload and never managed to catch up. Tanner was left behind by the others in the finale but finished 4th, 41 seconds ahead of Martin and Herklotz, securing the objective. Lastras won the race.

The season was so successful that we actually won the Continental team rankings ahead of Cofidis, Bardiani and NetApp. In the important CQ rankings, won by Team Sky by a huge margin, we were 23rd, only behind all the WT teams as well as Cofidis, IAM, NetApp and Bardiani. Cofidis and IAM are thus promoted to the World Tour, replacing Ag2r and Lampre. Aviva Cycling are promoted to the Conti Pro level together with Wallonie-Bruxelles, replacing Drapac and Novo Nordisk (sorry, sutty).

Here's the 2014 season overview from the PCM Career Explorer:

i.imgur.com/cznREzC.png

All WT races (except for the WC RR) were simulated. Vanmarcke did the Flanders-Roubaix double, Froome won Tour and Vuelta and also won the WC ITT ahead of Tony Martin and Kwiatkowski. Gilbert won the tough road race in Ponferrada. He attacked 30 km out and won by 1'52'' ahead of Nibali, who attacked with 12 km to go. Cancellara also launched a late attack and just held off the rest of the reduced peloton for the bronze medal.
 
Ripley
2015 PCT: Tough Promotion Fight

The 2015 season deserves a longer summary, it was one of the toughest promotion fights I've ever been in. The two teams which had been relegated from the WT both boasted impressive squads: Lampre-Merida was spearheaded by Ulissi and Nizzolo (both AVG 78), Ag2r was even more imposing with Betancur (79) and Contador (78). To beat at least one of them to promotion we'd have to score consistently well.

For the new season in the PCT we decided to increase the squad size to 18 riders. The wage restriction hasn't really come into effect yet, we couldn't have afforded higher wages anyway. Five riders started our career with a 2-year contract – Kolar, Brammeier, Fernandez, Ciavatta and Backaert – and we extended the contracts of two more riders who still had a bit of unused potential: Fuchs and Tanner. That left eleven more spots on the roster to fill, many riders turned us down and eventually we ended up with this new squad (bold: new riders):

NameAgeWageContractTop StatAVGPot
Elias Schmäh2830002015MON 7470.66
Ricardo Vilela2730002015MON 7270.54
Ruben Fernandez2325002015MON 7470.54
Michael Kolar2225002015SPR 7470.32
Vegard Stake Laengen2525002016MON 7170.14
Guillaume Bonnafond2730002015MON 7270.14
Sergej Fuchs2730002015HIL 7270.04
Ian Bibby2830002016SPR 7070.03
Benoît Jarrier2630002015FLA 7069.93
Matthew Brammeier2925002015FLA 7369.83
Pawel Franczak2330002016SPR 6969.74
David Tanner3030002015HIL 7369.73
Frederik Backaert2425002015HIL 7369.53
Sergei Pomoshnikov2425002015HIL 7269.44
Paolo Ciavatta3025002015HIL 7268.93
Dimitri Chuzhda2730002015TTR 7068.73
Adam Semple2530002015HIL 7168.73
Jonathan McEvoy2530002015SPR 6968.33

Thanks to being able to spend 3k per rider we have been able to attract a higher quality of riders, last season nobody had more than AVG 69.7, now we have several riders with AVG 70+. Of all the new signings only the oldest rider is exciting, Elias Schmäh can reach MON 80+. Sadly, he's only on a single-year contract.

We were off to a good start by completing our first objective. Brammeier, one of only two riders who didn't record a win last year, won the opening stage of the Vuelta a Mallorca. A large breakaway was caught at the half-way mark of the 95 km distance and Brammeier launched a solo attack which was successful against WT competition. At the Vuelta a Murcia, Fuchs did even better than Tanner last year, he left his breakaway companions behind on the climb and was only caught by Lotto's Rui Costa, 40 km out, and finished 2nd, well ahead of Valls, Amador, Roche and the rest.

Our two climbers Schmäh and Fernandez won the two mountain stages of the Tour de Langkawi, which had only attracted 60 riders. That made it a 1-2 in the final GC in a 2.HC race. Kolar managed a top 5 result in the Scheldeprijs from an actual mass sprint against many WT sprinters. Cavendish had to start the sprint from the front, Greipel, Farrar, Demare and Kolar followed him. Cavendish paid for being at the front, Kolar overtook him and even Demare, too. Boassan Hagen won, followed by Greipel, Farrar and Kolar in 4th place. We didn't think that was possible.

Brammeier was surprisingly successful with late attacks, Rutland-Melton was his 4th win of the season, only 6 days after Rund um Köln, where he managed the same feat against a higher quality of opponents, including Bennati, Pozzato and Favilli. Tanner won the Tour of Azerbaidjan thanks to a breakaway which won a stage by over 30 minutes, for a long time it looked like the whole peloton of 166 riders might miss the time cut.

Winning a stage in the Tour de Picardie proved impossible, the competition from other sprinters including Kittel was too strong and Brammeier didn't get anywhere with late attacks. However, heroically Kolar finished 2nd on stages 2 and 3 and that was enough to win overall, 4 seconds ahead of Kittel and Ciolek. We only had the goal of winning a stage in mind, we never thought that overall victory could be possible.

At the beginng of June, half-way through the season, this was the situation in the important CQ rankings: Lampre had been scoring consistently well and was leading our team by 150 points. Ag2r, however, had disappointed so far, and was even trailing Bardiani. But there was a very real chance that they'd rally in the second half of the season. Betancur might just win the Vuelta, for example.

Without resorting to breakaways, Schmäh was only beaten by Fabio Aru in the Tour de Slovenie, leaving behind riders like Geniez and Talansky. Fuchs then won a difficult Giro dell'Appennino, he and Backaert suddenly found themselves at the front of the peloton after the breakaway had been caught. They attacked at the top of the penultimate peak, which was good enough for a gap of 30 seconds, and relayed at high speed. Only a small lump to go and then a longer descent to the finish line. They were still ahead in the descent, but Backaert had run out of energy, Brambilla was leading a small group and getting closer. Fuchs attacked a final time and won the race!

We really excelled in the Tour of Austria, where we were up against the Orica men Sergio Henao and Chaves. Schmäh beat the duo outright, but Fuchs wins overall thanks to a breakaway on stage 4 which arrived 12'25'' ahead of the peloton. Laengen nearly completed the podium with his breakaway ride, he finished 4th in the GC, between the two Orica riders. At the same time Fernandez was in China for the Tour of Qinghai Lake and was only beaten by Sky's Boswell, Fraile (Caja Rural) completes the podium.

Schmäh was runner-up in Malaysia, Slovenia and Austria, in Utah he won his first stage race. He was able to beat riders like Slagter, Gorka Izagirre, Eijssen, Pardilla and Dombrowski. Laengen then won our longest stage race of the season, the Tour of Portugal, ahead of Acevedo and Rohan Dennis, Vilela and Fuchs were 4th and 5th. Jarrier won the 1. HC Grand Prix de Fourmies with a late attack, he finished two bike lengths ahead of the mass sprint spearheaded by Coquard. The Tour of Britain went to Movistar, Rojas and Quintana won ahead of five Aviva riders, Tanner, Pomoshnikov, Bonnafond and Ciavatta.

The team only scored minor results after that in one-day races full of WT riders. Though a notable result in a tough goal race was Franczak's best race of the season, he was 3rd in Paris-Tour, only behind Roux and Porsev, ahead of Degenkolb and Rojas. We had briefly overtaken Lampre in the CQ rankings in September, but lost the lead again in October. Thankfully, Ag2r remained disappointing, Betancur finished the Vuelta as 13th overall. Promotion finally became a certainty. We also completed 11/15 goals.

Stage win(s) Vuelta a Mallorca09/02-*****M.BrammeierStage win(s)
Stage win(s) Tour de Langkawi27/02-**E.SchmähStage win(s)
Top 10 Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia01/03****S.FuchsTop 3
Top 5 Driedaagse De Panne01/04-*****B.JarrierTop 25
Top 5 Circuit Cycliste Sarthe08/04-***S.FuchsTop 25
Top 5 Scheldeprijs09/04***M.KolarTop 5
Stage win(s) Giro del Trentino22/04-****E.SchmähStage win(s)
Stage win(s) Tour de Picardie16/05-*M.KolarStage, Top 3
Top 5 Vuelta a Castilla y Leon16/05-**D.Tanner1st
Stage win(s) Österreich06/07-****V.S.LaengenStage win(s)
Top 5 Tour of Utah04/08-*E.Schmäh1st
Top 5 Volta a Portugal30/08-***V.S.Laengen1st
Stage win(s) Settimana Lombarda02/09-**P.CiavattaStage, Top 3
Top 10 Coppa Agostoni17/09*S.Fuchs1st
Top 10 Paris Tours Elite12/10*****P.FranczakTop 3

In the final CQ rankings Lampre was 13th with 4248 points, Aviva 15th (3929) and Ag2r 18th (2973). In the WT rankings the two teams promoted last season didn't stand much of a chance, they scored slightly over 100 points each, well behind FDJ's 285 points. Lampre and Aviva will thus replace IAM and Cofidis. Sky won by just 9 points ahead of Quickstep, both teams scoring nearly twice as many points as Trek, which finished 3rd. Elias Schmäh won the continental rankings and was our best rider in the CQ rankings, too, ending 36th. Tanner scored 5 wins, Brammeier and Fuchs 4, Schmäh and Laengen 3, the team total was 35 victories.

The 2015 World Championships in Moscow were held on a totally flat course. I controlled Britain (as always, only in the road race). I was delighted to see the amazing Alex Dowsett claim the bronze medal in the ITT, won convincingly by Phinney, ahead of Durbridge. The road race came down to the expected mass sprint which was won by Nizzolo ahead of Demare and Kittel. The rest of the top 10: Porsev, Swift, Sagan, Farrar, Kristoff, Rojas and Meersman.

i.imgur.com/AEhSGnT.png

Once more, all WT races were simulated, that will change next season when Aviva joins the World Tour. Froome does the TdF-Vuelta double again and this time Cancellara wins the Ronde and Paris-Roubaix, while Gilbert wins LBL and Il Lombardia.

Phew, that was a more stressful season than I'd anticipated, I only wanted to get into the WT asap, to make full use of the wage restriction I've set myself.
 
Ripley
2016 WT: Breakaway Kings

Welcome to the real start of the story. The main reason I threw away 10 pages of notes from the first two seasons is that those were jarringly different to the stark new reality of the World Tour. I want to lower expectations: Aviva controlled races in the CT and PCT, featured prominently in GCs... well, that's not going to happen again in the foreseeable future. The goal for now will simply be to get one rider into the early breakaway every time and forget about the team mates. Quite relaxing, actually, feels a lot like a Pro Cyclist career.

So, without any further ado, let's take a look at the 24 riders who will join us on our first WT adventure.

NameAgeWageContTop StatAVGPot
Pawel Franczak2430002016SPR 7572.04
Fredy Golem2335002017MON 7471.96
Bjørn Tore Hoem2435002017HIL 7771.96
Rafael Silva2530002017HIL 7671.35
Alexis Gougeard2235002017FLA 7370.75
Isaac Bolivar2435002017MON 7470.72
Jesus Del Pino2535002016MON 7470.64
Nathan Brown2435002017MON 7370.54
Jan Bo Meinert2335002017SPR 7370.54
Vegard Stake Laengen2625002016MON 7170.34
Kristoffer Skjerping2230002017HIL 7270.03
Lasse Hansen2335002017TTR 7170.05
Salvatore Puccio2630002017HIL 7370.03
Ian Bibby2930002016SPR 7069.93
Jasha Sütterlin2335002016TTR 7369.94
Rafaël Lemesle2330002017TTR 7169.94
Joaquim Bettencourt2325002017SPR 7369.94
Marc Garby2435002016MON 7269.84
Lachlan Morton2330002016MON 7269.84
Sergei Pomoshnikov2530002017HIL 7369.84
Marc Goos2530002017HIL 7369.64
Marcel Aregger2525002017SPR 7269.54
Isaurindo Manaia2330002017HIL 7169.35
Bruno Silva2725002017MON 7069.13
Zdzislaw Wojtasik2330002017HIL 7368.74

A lot of new names, only three riders remain from last season's squad, Franczak, Laengen and Bibby. Franczak improved greatly over the course of the year, his AVG climbed from 69.7 to 72.0! Which makes him our strongest rider on paper, though he's a sprinter, so we aren't too excited about him. Laengen only improved a little while Bibby's AVG even seems to have dropped slightly.

The rider we were most excited about when the transfer window opened last summer was Hoem. HIL 76 for an asking wage of 3.5k, our limit this year. We were very happy when he turned down other offers to join our team. And he's gotten stronger since and has the potential to be even better. (FYI, I only looked up the potentials years later, PCM 14 still shows you the development potentials for every stat anyway and rather than go into too much detail, I decided to look up and post the potentials.)

Hoem is joined by Rafael Silva, another good puncheur. These will be the guys we most rely on for breakaways on hilly stages, maybe even for results in one-day races. We also wanted plenty of riders who can join breakaways in mountains. Not only can they achieve WT points by finishing in the top 5 on a stage, they can also hunt for KOM points. Winning mountain classifications is good for the reputation and are often the easiest sponsor goals to achieve for a weak team. Fredy Golem has a 2-year contract and will surely become our best climber soon.

We didn't do much planning for this first season. Most riders will try to maintain a constant fitness level (of 3) across the whole season, a few were picked at random to have a higher fitness level in either the first or second half of the season.

Here's an overview of the WT teams 2016 and their top earners:

TeamWagesTop earners
QuickStep1,189,000Quintana, Valverde, Stybar, Ulissi
Team Katusha848,500Kreuziger, Kristoff, Spilak
Team Sky781,500Porte, Rolland, Thomas
BMC Racing Team733,000Gilbert, Pinot, EBH
Movistar Team715,000Froome, Degenkolb, Roche
Trek Factory Racing663,000Cancellara, Betancur, Demare
Astana Pro Team659,000Nibali, Contador, Mollema
Team Giant - Shimano630,000Cavendish, Tony Martin, Bouhanni
Lotto - Belisol588,000Rui Costa, Van den Broeck, Meersman
Cannondale531,500Peter Sagan, Jungels, Adam Yates
Orica - GreenEDGE491,500Dan Martin, Gerrans, Majka
Belkin Pro Cycling Team381,500Gesink, Bakelandts, Intxausti
FDJ.fr377,500Uran, Feillu, Hivert
Tinkoff - Saxo373,000Vanmarcke, Fuglsang, Aru
Lampre - Merida295,000Nizzolo, Gatto, Oss
Garmin - Sharp258,000Acevedo, Nuyens, Gallopin
Team Europcar247,500Caruso, Vuellermoz, Ladagnous
Aviva Cycling78,000Hoem, Golem, Gougeard
(riders in bold earn 100k+ per month)
Edited by Ripley on 23-04-2019 08:01
 
Croatia14
Great Resultat so far and an exciting start! But please don't censore, that's the stuff we love here!
 
sutty68
Sounds like a big challenge ahead for you but good luck anyway Wink
 
Ripley
@croatia: Thanks, pal! I won't censor much, but I think you don't want to hear me complain about getting stuck behind riders on narrow roads every time. Smile

@sutty: Cheers! Fortune favours the brave!

Still missing before we start the Tour Down Under are the sponsor objectives this season:

KOM Volta ao Algarve19/02-22/02**
Top 10 Roma Maxima08/03***
Stage win(s) Paris Nice09/03-16/03*****
Stage win(s) Tirreno Adriatico12/03-18/03*****
Stage win(s) Critérium International28/03-30/03****
Stage win(s) Driedaagse De Panne01/04-04/04***
Top 10 Limburg Classic05/04*
Stage win(s) Vuelta al Pais Vasco07/04-12/04****
Top 10 Tro-Bro Léon20/04*
Stage win(s) Giro del Trentino22/04-26/04***
Stage win(s) Tour of California11/05-18/05****
Top 5 GP du canton d'Argovie12/06*
Stage win(s) Tour de Suisse14/06-22/06*****
Top 5 Tour de l'Ain12/08-16/08**
Stage win(s) Vuelta a Burgos13/08-17/08**

As I said, I'll be taking them seriously, I want the sponsor to be happy, even if I don't need the money. Though admittedly, for now they'll be tough to achieve, more than half would be considered a success.
 
Croatia14
Stage Wins are perfect goals for the Team though!
 
AbhishekLFC
Catching up a bit late. Great start to Aviva's life as a cycling team. Only way is up Grin
 
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Ripley
@croatia: We want to win stages for sure, but a couple of examples are coming up soon where the KOM goal is the smarter choice.

@Abhishek: Up hopefully, but maybe sideways as well, can't promise the squad will get stronger every season.

January 2016: Tour Down Under

Race squad: Hansen, Hoem, Goos, Manaia, Morton, Pomoshnikov, Wojtasik

The Tour Down Under 2016 featured four flat stages, one hilly stage and a rare hilly ITT on day 4. The first WT win of the season goes to Quickstep's Ciolek, who beat Modolo and Swift. Stage 2 to Mount Barker was considered flat, but had a few lumps in the final third and so we gave it our first shot. Goos was in the first breakaway but was chased down. Pomoshnikov had a go, same result. So we already played our best card and Hoem made it into the escape group where we considered him to be the favourite, he was up against Lang, Gavazzi, Vandousselere and Cort Nielsen.

As expected, the peloton was closing in fast in the finale, Hoem pushed as hard as he dared, eventually leaving even Cort Nielsen behind. But he was caught inside the final kilometre. At least he was only overtaken by Gilbert, Meersman and Ciolek and scored our first WT point.

Gilbert then won a totally flat mass sprint, three Belgians on the podium, in fact, Gilbert ahead of Meersman and Vanbilsen. (I simulate all flat stages unless I have a decent sprinter – which won't happen anytime soon – or there's a tricky finale or is a one-day WT race.)

Lasse Hansen was our best performer in the hilly ITT. But close behind him was Hoem, 20th, just 1'13'' behind Phinney, who beat Durbridge and Thomas. (I also simulate all TTs. On average, I consider this to be beneficial for me, because the gaps are usually smaller, sometimes a lot smaller, than in 3D mode. In hilly ITTs I could do better than the simulated result, plus there's always a chance of a really bad day in a simulated ITT, so there's that risk. But I find them pretty boring to play, that's the real reason.)

So Hoem was uncomfortably well positioned in the GC, maybe making a breakaway success on stage 5 less likely. But for a start it was an unusual course, a pure circuit on which Willunga Hill had to be climbed no less than 6 times in just 122 km. So we wanted our best rider in the group. And what sealed the deal is that the initial escape group was formed by none other than Contador, just a minute behind in the GC, and the peloton didn't object. Hoem started far back and had to attack later to join the group.

Sadly, he couldn't quite make it to the end. The peloton was closing in fast, the breakaway led by Contador had an advantage of 45 seconds going into the final climb. Contador won the stage and will finish 5th overall, Hoem was 10th on the day in a group that was 23 seconds behind. Enough for 11th overall, just missing out on more WT points, but a fine result nonethelesss. And he ended up claiming the U25 rankings 2 seconds ahead of Durbridge.

Spilak finished 2nd on Willunga Hill and was the only other rider except for Contador to get a time gap on the rest of the riders. And that would be enough to win the Tour Down Under, 5 seconds ahead of Thomas and 9 seconds ahead of Froome (now with Movistar). Next were Velits, Contador, Gilbert, Moser, Bakelandts, Amador and Valverde.

The short final stage was won by Swift, who beat Ciolek and Oss. Gilbert clearly wins the points classification. Cort Nielsen takes the mountain jersey. Sadly, there were no KOM pints on offer during the Willunga Hill stage, otherwise Hoem would have had a shot. One WT point and a white jersey from our first WT race, not bad.
 
Croatia14
Lovely start! What I'd like however is maybe if you could highlight the stages or sth (in bold or sth) and/or your riders involved to have a cleaner structure. Nonetheless I love the project already!
 
Ripley
A fair point, though I quite like the idea of forcing you to actually read the whole thing. Smile I'll definitely think about it, I'm not quite sure yet about the format anyway.
 
Croatia14
Ripley wrote:
A fair point, though I quite like the idea of forcing you to actually read the whole thing. Smile I'll definitely think about it, I'm not quite sure yet about the format anyway.


You can trust me I'll do that anyway Wink
 
Ripley
February 2016: Volta ao Algarve
** star goal: 1st in climber standings

Race Squad: Gougeard, Laengen, Lemesle, Manaia, Puccio, Rafael Silva, Skjerping, Wojtasik

One look at the route and we switched this first sponsor goal from stage win to 1st in climber standings, which are equal goals in the eye of the sponsor. Just one hilly stage, and it'd be unlikely to go to the breakaway. Also, this is still a prep race for the WT for us, our men aren't in top form yet. And of course a few WT teams were bound to show up with good riders.

The only classified hills came early on stages two and three, and so our #2 puncheur Rafael Silva was in the breakaway both times. He had to fight for the points both days, but 26 overall were enough for the jersey and the goal. Silva tried to win the hilly stage as well, but a peloton led by Sky showed no mercy. Porte won the stage, our best rider was Gougeard as 13th. Tony Martin won the 35 km ITT on the final day, but he'd lost too much time a day earlier to make the podium.

Instead, Porte wins the Volta ao Algarve, followed by Dumoulin, Talansky, Tony Martin, Castroviejo, Oliviera, Sergio Sousa, Kelderman, Goncalves and Machado. Four Portuguese riders in the top 10. Aviva bagged the mountain jersey and the 2-star goal. We have another goal race ahead, the Roma Maxima with plenty of cobblestone sectors.
 
Croatia14
oh boy do I miss Roma Maxima as a race
 
Ripley
March 2016: Roma Maxima
*** goal: Top 10

Race Squad: Goos, Gougeard, Hansen, Laengen, Skjerping, Sütterlin, Wojtasik

I wasn't exactly thrilled that our sponsor chose the Roma Maxima as a goal race. The Via Appia is littered with cobbled sectors in the second half of the race and we haven't hired any rider for the northern classics. Laengen (COB 66) and Gougeard (65) are the best we have to offer.

Thankfully, nobody had told the other teams this was a cobbled race, I don't think I saw any rider with COB 70+. Micromanaging the effort to the best of our abilities we had three riders on the right side of the decisive split, which saw just 24 riders compete for victory. Surprisingly, the rainbow jersey of Nizzolo attacked, he didn't wait for the sprint, he soloed to victory. 1'53'' behind was Dominic Klemme, a fantastic result for him, 30 seconds ahead of Kwiatkowski. Arashiro was 4th, another 30 seconds behind.

We took control in the next group, which was 3 minutes further back, formed a sprint train with Gougeard (FLA 73) at the front, taking us across the last long cobbled sector and into sprint territory at high speed and not allowing the better sprinters in the group to get into position. Eventually, only Ginanni (SPR 73) was able to outsprint Wojtasik and Laengen for 5th, Gougeard also made the top 10. Three riders in the top 10, that was easier than expected. Other teams just didn't nominate the right riders for the terrain and so we beat heavyweights like Betancur, Ulissi and Majka. Contador was 150th, 15'27'' behind.
 
Ripley
March 2016: Paris-Nice
***** goal: Stage win

Race squad: Gougeard, Hansen, Manaia, Meinert, Morton, Rafael Silva, Skjerping, Wojtasik

This year's Paris-Nice had a very tame route, which works to our team's disadvantage, not only were there better riders in every breakaway, there were always GC threats, only a minute or two behind the lead. We brought our #2 for hills, Rafael Silva*.

*Naming conventions: Whenever a surname is shared by several riders – like Dan and Tony Martin – I'll try and include the first name. I've done that with Rafael Silva so far, there are 8 Silvas around currently and we even have one more (Bruno) on our team. But Rafael is clear the better Silva, I'll mention him way more often, so if I write just Silva, it's him. (Spoiler alert: Bruno Silva won't score a single WT point this season, and his only notable result all season is already behind us, he was 10th in the Clasica de Almeria.)

Paris-Nice started for us with stage 4, Morton made the breakaway, a day later it was Skjerping, then Wojtasik and finally Silva, saving the best for last. The closest we came to fulfilling the goal was with Wojtasik on stage 6. On this nominally flat stage the breakaway kept the peloton away by a hair. Well, two French riders did, Vachon beat Lemoine. Wojtasik was caught on the line by Bouhanni, 12 seconds behind, but at least he finished ahead of the rest of the sprinters and was 4th.

On stage 7 Silva and his breakaway companions were very close to deciding the stage, but Silva wouldn't have won the stage anyway. He eventually finished 8th, behind Gilbert, Spilak, Rui Costa, Valverde and Mollema as well as Samoilau and Jeannesson, the other breakaway survivors. But look at those names, we just can't compete against them.

However, Silva donned the KOM jersey and since he was our best choice for the tough final stage anyway, he could at least secure that jersey for us – should have changed that goal in negotiations, too. Though this final stage from and to Nice was officially hilly, it may have required some real climbing, too, Silva was really struggling against better climbers in the escape group, especially Tinkoff's Wyss (MON 78 HIL 76), who was a real GC threat. Silva did enough to secure the KOM classification, but had to let the others go on the final climb, four of whom held off the peloton by a minute, Wyss won ahead of Pirazzi, Molard and Zeits.

The final top 10: Rui Costa beats Jungels by 4'', Gilbert is 3rd, ahead of Moser, Bakelandts, Cancellara, Mollema, Talansky, Valverde and Wyss. Just 1'39'' between those ten riders, a tight race indeed. And the good news from our sponsor is: While we missed the objective, the mountain jersey catapulted Rafael Silva's reputation to national and the sponsor is now very happy to have such a renowned rider. Could have been two birds with one stone, though.
 
Ripley
March 2016: Tirreno-Adriatico
***** goal: Stage win

Race squad: Aregger, Bettencourt, Bibby, Franczak, Goos, Hoem, Pomoshnikov, Puccio

Like Paris-Nice, there were no mountains in this year's Tirreno-Adriatico, also no time trials, just 2 flat and 5 hilly stages.

We got pretty close to winning a stage and fulfilling the important goal on the opening day. Pomoshnikov joined Langeveld and Cameron Meyer in the breakaway, the peloton gave us a long leash and with 20 km to go it became clear the trio would make it. Pomoshnikov had a good feeling should it come down to a sprint. But on the final categorised hill Langeveld pushed hard, Pomoshnikov just lost contact and he was betting on Meyer to close the gap. But the Australian refused to work, much to our frustration. Langeveld won easily, by a whole minute, and Meyer outsprinted Pomoshnikov for 2nd place.

The last of the hilly stages seemed the best bet to fulfil the objective, it was short, so were the climbs, but they were pretty steep. We had kept Hoem back for this stage and he was the first man to attack. However, 11 riders set off after him and the peloton was none too pleased about the big group, which even included Contador again, and was chasing hard. Rubiano, Amador and Garcia attacked the rest of the group, if that trio stays ahead and the rest gets caught, our chance would be gone.

So Hoem used up most of his energy to reach and stay with that trio. E2 also remained ahead of the peloton by 2 minutes and wouldn't give up. It would be a great fight between the two groups and the peloton for the rest of the day. Hoem was always in danger of being dropped when mountain points were available, though his HIL stat was the highest of E1, all escapees in fact, but most were stronger overall. The riders in the chasing group were desperate to catch E1, Herrada attacked, later Contador joined him, they got as close as 20 seconds but had to give up eventually.

Hoem had been able to conserve enough energy to set a high pace on the final three walls and was relieved to see that his opponents fell off one by one on the first of these climbs. But at the same time the attacks from the peloton started, by Ulissi, Dan Martin, Kreuziger, Kwiatkowski and many more and they got worryingly close. But Hoem had the energy to finish it off, winning by 49 seconds ahead of Dan Martin, Kreuziger and Rubiano. What an exciting stage, and it ends with our first World Tour victory, plus a 5-star goal!

i.imgur.com/ES9gtIN.jpg


Dan Martin wins Tirreno-Adriatico by the same margin Rui Costa won Paris-Nice, 4 seconds. Ulissi was next, then Kreuziger, Kwiatkowski, Betancur, Ponzi, Quintana, Slagter, Aru and Caruso.
Edited by Ripley on 30-04-2019 08:15
 
Croatia14
The puncheurs really doing the job for the team as of late. And what a fantastic performance at Roma Maxima!
 
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