I make no secret out of the fact that I love the sport of cycling and have done so ever since I was 12 or 13 and spent the month of July, the longest and cruelest of the summer vacation, doing nothing but watching Le Tour de France on television, taking in the commentary and reading about the concepts and the philosophy behind the sport.
The Pro Cycling Manager is the video game series which offers fans of the sport a chance to manage a team in the Pro Tour and Continental division and to directly control riders that they see on TV, a boon for every fan and this year the game got its 2011 edition, one of the most bug free and feature complete of the last few years.
So, with the real world Tour de France beginning on Saturday, I plan to also run the queen of cycling competitions in Pro Cycling Manager 2011 and provide (hopefully) daily reports talking about the game mechanics and about the Tour results.
For the competition, I am taking over the management of the Leopard Trek team and my first task will be to select the riders who will make up the support team for Andy Schleck, the main man to challenge for the Yellow Jersey.
In a long Career Mode game, I would have been concerned with momentary form, injuries, how many days particular riders would have raced up to that point in the season and other competing races, but in the Stage Race mode I only need to worry about who has the best stats for the coming stages.
If I were approaching this purely from a gaming perspective, I would have only picked climbing helpers alongside a few veterans and brother Frank, but because I love the sport of cycling I will be sporting and also include time trialist extraordinaire Cancellara and sprinter Benatti.
The whole team is visible in the attached screenshots and the first stage simulations are coming during the weekend, at the same time as the real world stages.