The Tour de France rest day is not just an opportunity for the riders to take stock after a frantic nine days, but for you to take stock of your Fantasy Cycling teams.
Who has shone? Who needs booting out? And how can I turn this around so I’m not the butt of the jokes at the next club run?
Since the end of stage seven, the transfers have been reset and with the terrain drastically changing when racing resumes in the Pyrenees on stage ten, now is the time to use them if you haven’t already.
So who should you pick, who’s for the chop and where can you find the bargains that will propel you up the table and on to some great Science in Sport prizes?
Read on for our top tips and visit fantasycycling.roadcyclinguk.com to make your changes. The daily cut-off for transfers is 10am.
Get the climbers in
With a stage finish atop the Mur de Bretagne on stage eight, you may have been tempted to add a few climbers to your roster already.
But the Pyrenees is a whole new kettle of fish, and the rouleurs will soon be overshadowed by the pure climbers.
The GC battle will be lit up too, with Chris Froome (Team Sky, €9.5m) leading the way, with a 12-second buffer to Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing, €9.0,).
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo, €9.5m), Nairo Quinana (€9.5m) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana, €9.5m) will be looking to claw back time, meanwhile – all are still very much in contention for the yellow jersey despite their respective deficits.
But while we would all love to pack our Fantasy teams with the best riders, with just €65m to play with, it is impossible to do and you will need to look around.
You can make a €1m saving by swapping one of the ‘Big Four’ with in-form Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep, €8.5m), for starters.
The Colombian was third on the final two mountain stages of the Giro d’Italia and has started the Tour in good shape too.
Look for bargains
And not all of the top climbers are going to cost you top dollar either. There are a host of bargain buys to find, who stand a good chance of racking up points.
I’m not going to spoil it for everyone by giving them all away, but last year’s Giro d’Italia King of the Mountains Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing, €4.0m) knows his way up a climb and is far from the only at that price point.
Get the sprinters out
And while you are packing your team with climbers, it’s time to clear the sprinters out.
With no flat stages before the next set of transfers are opened, you might as well get rid.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo, €9.0m) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal, €9.0m) will be fighting for supremacy at the intermediate sprints, with just three points separating them in the race for the green jersey so if you can afford them, it may reap its rewards.
But no other sprinter stands a chance – so the fact Mark Cavendish is still in 29% of all the teams is a sign some people need a clear-out.
Clear out the injured
There will also be the unfortunate riders who have had to leave the Tour de France, with the chaotic opening week accounting for 12 riders so far, while Luca Paolini (Katusha) left the Tour after his positive test for cocaine and Ivan Basso (Tinkoff-Saxo) today announced he has had to abandon after a shock testicular cancer diagnosis.
There are some riders still at the race, bravely defying injury too, but there aim is purely now to finish the race.
While, if you are looking to pack your team with climbers, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) are unlikely to feature anyway, both are really struggling with the effects of crashing earlier in the first week.
Who to sign
Nairo Quintana (Movistar, €9.5m) has been quietly biding his time, and after moving into the top ten after the team time trial will have eyes on seizing the race lead in the Pyrenees.
The other GC men are obvious picks too, but you can save a little bit of money if you pick Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep, €8.5m) and even more if you search the bargain bin for mountain goats like the duo’s fellow Colombian Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing, €4.0m).
Who to drop
He may well have looked good as he roared back into form on stage seven, but Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep, €9.5m) is not going to be winning in the mountains.
In fact, if he is unable to stick with the bunch on the undulating stage 13 finale or over the category-two Col del’Escrinet on stage 15, it could be Paris before he contests another bunch sprint.
And while Peter Sagan and Andre Greipel may well contest the intermediate sprints, which could see the green jersey change hands, even they may be more costly than you can afford to keep.
With a tight budget, too, be careful not to spend too much on domestiques, when you the GC men will be fighting for stage wins.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky, €7.5m) is a great climber and will have a big role to play for Chris Froome, but for just €1.0m you could include Rigoberto Uran instead, who has a much bigger chance of stage success.
Richie Porte (Team Sky, €9.0m), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo, €8.5m) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo, €9.0m) are unlikely to pay the sort of dividends their not too dissimilarly priced team leaders will either.