RCUK Fantasy Tour de France 2016: hints and tips

Sign up now and pick your Tour de France dream team for the chance to win a Merlin ROC road bike

The Tour de France starts tomorrow (Saturday July 2), which means time is ticking down for you to enter this year’s RoadCyclingUK Fantasy Tour de France game.

We’ve teamed up with Merlin Cycles to bring you some great prizes for this year’s game, with the winner in line to bag themselves a Merlin ROC road bike worth £1,120.

So should you be picking Mark Cavendish or Marcel Kittel for the sprints? Defending champion Chris Froome for the mountains or in-form Nairo Quintana.

Here are a our Fantasy Tour de France hints and tips to get you started with your team selections, if you’re still unsure who to pick. Then head way this to enter.

The basics

First of all, whoever you pick, you need to choose nine riders and one bonus team within your €65 million budget, as well a bonus stage. Then you need to save your selections or you won’t start scoring points. You can’t save your selections until you have nine riders, one bonus team and one bonus stage in place.

You can make as many changes as you like until 10am on Saturday (July 2) but after that you are then limited to eight transfers for every block of seven stages. When you think the Tour de France teams can’t make any changes in the actual race, that’s pretty generous of us!

Once the game starts, you score points if your rider finishes in the top 20 on a stage, gains or retains one of the three main jerseys – yellow jersey, green jersey, polka dot jersey – or one of their team-mates wins the stage (assist points). Your bonus team will also score points when one of their riders finishes in the top five of a stage, while you’ll score double points on whatever bonus stage you choose.

The stages are ranked as either ‘category one’ or ‘category two’ – the full list of which can be viewed in the game rules – with 50 per cent more points on offer for category one stages (the days on which the race for yellow jersey is likely to be decided).

Will this man be in your Fantasy Tour de France team?


While we are in the free transfer window, which ends on Saturday July 2 at 10am, it’s well worth double checking all of your players are still set for the Tour de France – Nacer Bouhanni has been forced to pull out after injuring his hand in a hotel fight, for example, so he won’t be scoring any points.

After that, with eight changes possible per seven stages, there’s no need to put all your eggs in one basket – consider the profile of the stages before you make your first selections.

The first four stages feature hardly any climbing – though there is an uphill finish in Cherbourg on stage two – so avoid packing your team with mountain goats for now, even if that’s where the eventual race for the yellow jersey will be played out.

Chris Froome (€9.5m), Nairo Quintana (€9.5m) and Alberto Contador (€9.5m) are expensive acquisitions when you consider they won’t be winning any stages or scoring many – if any – points in the first few days.

Your money would be much better spent on the fast men – Marcel Kittel (€9.5m) is favourite to win stage one, while versatile world champion Peter Sagan (€9.5m) bids to swap his rainbow jersey for either the yellow or green jersey during the first week – and you can swap them out once the climbing starts.

With a tight budget of just €65m, you need to sniff out the bargains too. Perhaps you can find an all-round rider who will place consistently well? And there are points up for grabs for any rider who earns a day in the King of the Mountains jersey, with two category four ascents early in stage one. If you can pick a rider likely to get in that first breakaway, there’s points up for grabs.

Daniel Teklehaimanot (€5m) pulled on the polka dot jersey for a few days early in last year’s race, and was crowned King of the Mountains at the Criterium du Dauphine last month too.

Also consider a rider’s role in their team. Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (€8m) and Alejandro Valverde (€8m), who was third at the Giro, are potential GC contenders but both will ride primarily for another rider – Fabio Aru (€8.5m) in Nibali’s case, and Quintana for Valverde.

Bonus teams

Your bonus team also counts against your budget, and your transfer allocation, so choose wisely – if you plan on rotating your riders a lot, you don’t want to be swapping your bonus team regularly.

Team Sky (€7m) may be a good investment if Chris Froome racks up the stage wins, and they do boast world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka too, but their primary goal is the yellow jersey, not stage wins.

On the other hand, Dimension Data (€4m) have a powerful sprinting arsenal – headed by Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen – and riders such as Steve Cummings and Teklehaimanot will look for breakaway opportunities to also try and sniff out stage wins.

Mark Cavendish’s Dimension Data team could represent good value for money

Bonus stage

The bonus stage doesn’t cost anything, but could be the difference between first and second place as your team’s points are DOUBLED on that day.

Once you have picked your bonus stage and the race starts it can’t be changed so again, choose wisely.

As we have said, stages fall into one of two categories – category one and category two – with the former worth 50% more points on the day than the latter.

It makes sense therefore to pick a category one stage as your bonus, as there will be more points to double – the full list of stage categories can be found in the game rules, but category one stages are generally the stages likely to be pivotal in deciding the general classification (for example, the mountain stages).

But, be aware, while we all want to see a showdown on Mont Ventoux or Mont Blanc between the GC men, if a breakaway has been allowed to go up the road to contest the stage win they could snaffle all the Fantasy Tour de France points before your riders get there. A sprint stage is worth less points, but could be easier to predict.

Consider how many transfers you can use before your chosen bonus stage too – every seven stages, the quota is reset to eight. Which means, with stage eight chosen as a bonus stage, you could change eight of your riders specially for the bonus stage. You will be stuck with them for the next week though, so choose wisely if that’s your plan.

Remember you can’t save your team until you pick nine riders, a bonus team and a bonus stage. Good luck!


Think you can beat us at RCUK? Why don’t you prove it – sign up to our mini-league. We’ll even chuck a Specialized AirNet helmet in for the winner.

Once you’re logged in and set-up, just go to “Join a League”. Our league code is RCUK and the password “facebook”.

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