Fantasy Tour de France 2016: top tips for the final week

Who to pick and who to ditch as the race for Merlin Cycles' prizes hots up

With five stages to go at the 2016 Tour de France after the second rest day, including summit finishes at Finhaut-Emosson and Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc and a mountain time trial, it’s all still to play for.

Which means the race to be crowned RCUK Fantasy Tour de France 2016 champion is still very much alive with “JENKIN ROAD” leading the battle to win a Merlin Roc 2017 Road Bike worth £1,120.

“JENKIN ROAD” currently lead the way in the overall standings

And even if you are out of the running for the overall prizes, with the final weekly prize of a £10 gift voucher still to play for there’s plenty up for grabs – not least because the next four stages are all ‘category one’, and therefore worth 50 per cent more points.

So how can you turn your team from nearly-rans to champions? What do you need to do to bag the great prizes on offer from Merlin Cycles?

Here’s a round-up of how the Tour de France’s best have been racking up the points so far.

Points mean prizes

Remember, to score points your rider needs to finish in the top 20 of a stage of the 2016 Tour de France, assist a team-mate’s victory (not applicable in the time trials) or finish the day in one of the three main jerseys – yellow, green or polka dot.

It is little surprise, therefore, to know the top three riders have amassed eight stage wins between them and all led the race at one point.

Chris Froome and Peter Sagan lead the way when it comes to Fantasy Tour de France points so far (pic: Alex Broadway/ASO)

Green jersey Peter Sagan (Tinkoff, €9.5m) has scored 536 points in total for his three stage wins, stint as race leader and charge towards winning a fifth straight green jersey; Chris Froome (Team Sky, €9.5m) is next with 473 points and four-time stage winner Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep, €9.0m) is third with 360 points.

With Sagan set to carry the green jersey all the way to Paris, barring any disasters in the Alps, he will add at least another 25 points to that tally.

At the other end of the scale, 64 of the 198 riders to start the race have not scored any points – the most notable being Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana, €7.0m), Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale, €6.5m) and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie, €6.0m).

Who’s left the Tour?

Somewhat incredibly, only 15 riders have abandoned this year’s Tour de France, but it’s well worth a quick check to ensure none are in your team.

The most notable riders to drop out were Alberto Contador (Tinkoff, €9.5m), who struggled on for nine stages suffering the effects of his crash on the first day before calling it quits.

Alberto Contador abandoned the Tour de France, battered and bruised from crashes suffered on the opening weekend (pic: Sirotti)

French GC hopeful Thibaut Pinot (FDJ, €8.0m) has also abandoned after being out of sorts in the first week – after briefly leading the King of the Mountains classification, he dropped out on the day of the individual time trial with illness.

The full list of riders to have abandoned the 2016 Tour de France as we reach the second rest day is as follows:

Michael Morkov (DEN) – Katusha – stage eight
Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff – stage nine
Mark Renshaw (AUS) – Dimension Data – stage nine
Matthieu Ladagnous (FRA) – FDJ – stage nine
Cedric Pineau (FRA) – FDJ – stage nine
Sebastian Langeveld (NED) – Cannondale-Drapac – stage ten
Jurgen van den Broeck (BEL) – Katusha – stage 12
Angelo Tulik (FRA) – Direct Energie – stage 12
Simon Gerrans (AUS) – Orica-BikeExchange – stage 13
Edward Theuns (BEL) – Trek-Segafredo – stage 13
Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ – stage 13
Mathias Frank (SUI) – IAM Cycling – stage 14
Matti Breschel (DEN) – Cannondale-Drapac – stage 14
Jens Debusschere (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal – stage 15
Jesus Herrada (ESP) – Movistar – stage 15

Breakaway specialists or GC men?

With the battle for the yellow jersey heating up, it can be tempting to pack your team full of GC men – as far as your €65m budget allows, anyway – ahead of the Alps.

But in the final four mountain stages of last year’s race, three were won by the breakaway and the fourth stage winner – Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) – was out of contention overall too, albeit still comfortably in the top ten at the time.

Rafal Majka won the polka dot jersey in 2014 and leads the way again with five stages remaining of the 2016 Tour de France (pic: Sirotti)

So a balance between the GC men, where Froome currently leads the way from Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo, €7.0m) and Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange, €6.5m) and the breakaway specialists could prove fruitful.

Current King of the Mountains leader Rafal Majka (Tinkoff, €7.0m) is likely to be active in the Alps, while Daniel Navarro (Cofidis, €5.5m) is one man to have already spent plenty of time up the road.

Bargain hunters

Most of the star riders will cost you a big chunk of your €65m budget, which is no good when you consider you need to pick nine riders and a bonus team within that budget.

Christophe Laporte (Cofidis, €3.5m) took over his team’s sprinting duties when Nacer Bouhanni pulled out on the eve of the race, and has rewarded those savvy enough to pick him from the start with 144 points.

Christophe Laporte has proved a real bargain so far – but is unlikely to score any more points until the Champs-Elysees (pic: Sirotti)

With only one sprint stage remaining, however, the Frenchman is unlikely to score any further points until the race reaches the Champs-Elysees.

Team-mate Nicolas Edet (Cofidis, €3.5m) has been quiet so far in this year’s race, but the Frenchman loves a breakaway – he was Vuelta a Espana King of the Mountains in 2013 – so he could be worth keeping an eye on.

There are plenty of riders in the €4.5m to €6.5m bracket worth the investment too, but we’re not going to give too much away – that would be telling!

Transfer window

While the next four stages will be contested in the mountains, if you have not used your final allocation of eight transfers yet it’s worth keeping some in hand for the Champs-Elysees.

After all, if it’s close going into the final stage, you’ll be cursing if you have a team full of mountain goats and your work colleague and nearest challenger has swapped in the sprinting heavyweights.

Who will you pick for your Fantasy Tour de France teams in the final week?


There’s more points available in the mountains – every stage is rated category one, with 50 per cent more points on offer as a result – but don’t burn all your candles.

After all, a sprinting showdown is – despite the inevitable solo breakaways likely to happen on the Champs-Elysees – almost an inevitability if the sprint teams stay in control.

So what are you waiting for? Head to now to get your teams ready for the final five stages.

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