AntBanter! Fantasy lessons to be learned

Not so long ago, I was holding out for the onset of some hors categorie climbs to breathe new life into my ailing Fantasy Tour de France team. I should have known better than to think that my downward spiral could ever be reversed, as all I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks has been an ever-growing malaise among the riders of Much Abdou About Nothing.

It’s been so bad in fact, that I’ve slumped to 583rd, which puts all of my fellow VeloVoices above me (comfortably, I might add). Not even cheering on David Millar or Mark Cavendish on the Champs Elysees could change that. So it’s time for me to be realistic, open, and honest, and look into the finer detail as to where I went wrong. Who knows? I may learn something.

Big outlay, little return

Some of my “big guns” choices were obvious mistakes. I dropped 858 points by going for Contador over Froome, and a further 444 by following my heart and opting for Cav instead of Peter Sagan. To add salt to my wounds, I didn’t even heed my own advice on Nairo Quintana, and selected Valverde instead, which blew another 567 points. That tidy little haul of 1869 points that I missed out on would have seen me scraping the top 100 of our league.

Image: ASO

If I’d had all these guys on my Fantasy Team, I’d be laughing at the whole of VeloVoices! (Image: ASO)

Strength in depth

The sad thing is that the three guys above, who I’ve already labelled as “mistakes”, were my top three riders in terms of points! If you consider that the average points tally of the top 100 riders was 334, I had 6 riders below that. In fact, I had two who didn’t even get off zero, and no amount of shouting from Marc Madiot was going to change that.

To highlight the significance of this tactical disaster, riders valued at £8m or less picked up nearly 60% of the points won by the peloton and eight “budget” riders finished in the top 20, and racked up between 500-1000 points each! Just think, if I’d chosen 6 riders who’d hit that average tally of 334 points each, coupled with the right “big guns”, I’d have finished 8th!

Fantasy lessons

Aside from jumping on a streetcar named hindsight, there are some learning points to take from this.

Firstly, follow your head and not your heart. The form-book should be your bible, and you should not be swayed by personality, sense of adventure, or a worrying penchant for polka-dot shorts.

On Bastille Day, French fans hoped for a Pierre Rolland win (Image: ASO/B Bade)

Never let the pox sway you in picking your team (Image: ASO/B Bade)

Secondly, consider the parcours, especially when selecting between types of riders. Yes, the Tour may have had some spectacular climbs, but there were more points to be had from sprints.

Thirdly, consider how many competitions a rider may be involved in, especially the White Jersey.

Fourthly, consider each rider’s team in general. Will team orders clip a rider’s wings? This is where I slipped up with Andrey Amador. Could there be a leadership switch? I noticed that Quintana had stated before the Tour that he was riding for Valverde, but a combination of bad luck and good judgement saw the roles reversed. Additionally, with points to be gained for “assists”, picking riders from strong teams is just plain common sense!

Andrey Amador at Movistar team presentation (image courtesy of Movistar)

Andrey Amador might be a gritty little rider, but if he’s under team orders, he doesn’t accumulate a lot of points (Image: Movistar)

And FINALLY, listen to the VeloVoices preview podcast!! I didn’t manage to listen to it before picking my team, and do you know what? Kitty, Tim, and Panache dished out plenty of sage advice that would have straightened my team selection out and saved the day! Let’s face it, they all finished above me, so who am I to argue?

So with all the above duly noted, and before I start thinking about salvaging some pride in the Vuelta, here are some stats for you:

The Points

Total Number of Points awarded to the Peloton = 36,040

Average Number of Points per Rider = 185

Top 10 Riders (Points Scored):

Cost

Points

Christopher Froome SKY

26

1975

Nairo Quintana MOV

14

1420

Peter Sagan CAN

18

1388

Joaquin Rodriguez KAT

18

1154

Alberto Contador TST

22

1117

Roman Kreuziger TST

10

1033

Michal Kwiatkowski OPQ

8

961

Mark Cavendish OPQ

18

944

Marcel Kittel ARG

12

856

Alejandro Valverde MOV

14

853

Show me the (value for) money!

Top 10 Riders (Value for Money)

Cost

Points

Points/£

Michal Kwiatkowski OPQ

8

961

120.1

Bauke Mollema BLA

8

845

105.6

Alexander Kristoff KAT

6

631

105.2

Roman Kreuziger TST

10

1033

103.3

Nairo Quintana MOV

14

1420

101.4

Christophe Riblon ALM

6

561

93.5

Jakob Fuglsang AST

8

732

91.5

Laurens ten Dam BLA

6

509

84.8

Jan Bakelants RLT

6

507

84.5

Rui Costa MOV

6

493

82.2

TdF 2013 stage 7 Michal Kwiatkowski OPQS

OPQS’s Michal Kwaitkowski was worth his fantasy weight in gold (Image: ASO)

Bottom 10 Riders (Value for Money)

Cost

Points

Points/£

Rohan Dennis GRS

8

10

1.3

Damiano Cunego LAM

10

11

1.1

Brice Feillu SOJ

6

6

1.0

Maxime Mederel SOJ

4

4

1.0

Andrey Kashechkin AST

6

5

0.8

Jonathan Hivert SOJ

6

5

0.8

Assan Bazayev AST

4

3

0.8

Dimitri Muravyev AST

4

3

0.8

Michael Schär BMC

4

3

0.8

Enrico Gasparotto AST

6

3

0.5

Team Totals

Top 5 Teams by Points Tally:

Points

SKY

3746

MOVISTAR

3727

SAXO-TINKOFF

3531

OPQS

2953

KATUSHA

2169

Bottom 5 Teams by Points Tally:

Points

BMC

635

COFIDIS

585

FDJ

536

LAMPRE

526

SOJASUN

485

The VeloVoices League:

We had 715 entrants, whose teams scored a combined total of 3,310,644 points. That’s an average of 4,630 per team. Our final top 10 stands as:

More stars than watercarriers (I hope) James Dunlop

8316

i`diable noir Dan Jones

8010

One Man Bike Club Jack

7393

Jarrovians RUFC Metcalficus

7355

Dream Team Marco

6801

Killerbroney greggyc

6794

FFF Peter

6769

BrotherSport Johan

6740

Muddy Mudskippers Tim

6709

Team Constellation benne

6687

Time for a quick look at how the VeloVoices fared – and my own personal walk of shame:

League Position

 

Score

223

Kiss_My_Panache

5120

243

Kitty Fondue

5052

282

Jack

4966

377

Sheree

4630

419

Tim

4458

583

Ant

3746

Most of all, that was three weeks of fun, and in spite of everything, I loved it! Here’s to the Vuelta!!

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