Pro Cycling Manager Guide

TIP : Baroudeurs usually do not have a particular strong point. Their only chance of victory is to break away from far out.

3D Race - Manage your riders

Pre-race tasks

When the 'Quick Simulation' and '3D race' buttons are displayed, three tabs are available on screen.

The 'Automatic' order is new to 'Pro Cycling Manager' and it allows you to assign a race strategy to several members of your squad while you micro-manage a few key riders. Available strategies depend on the type of race and the role assigned to a rider (Leader, Team member, Sprinter, Free Element). For example, a Leader will 'Ride for the stage' and this will also apply to those with a 'Team member' role. Should you un-tick that strategy for the Leader, it will automatically be un-ticked for 'Team member'. Other strategies include taking part is sprints for climber and points jerseys; riding in breakaways or following attacks. Should events not turn out as you planned, you can change race strategies during the race via the 'Strategy' tab on the in-race information page (space bar).

Start of the race: group your team

At the start of the race, the members of your team will be dispersed throughout the peloton. We recommend that you group your main riders in the first quarter of the peloton using the reduced "free effort" cursor, depending on the terrain and the speed of the group. Each of your riders will gradually move up the peloton and, when a rider is well placed, use "maintain position" to keep him in this position and wait for the others to catch up.

Then use "maintain position" again for the other riders until all the team members are in a group.

Note: it is not necessary to be at the front of the peloton at the start of the race, as your riders will become tired needlessly. The aim is to be well placed to ensure you can implement your strategy and to be protected from the wind.

Manage effort

It is important to manage the effort levels of your riders, especially the team leader and/or sprinter, who must have as much energy as possible in the closing kilometres if they hope to win the race. Wind has a significant impact on performance and it must be monitored regularly. You can check on wind direction by displaying a windsock ('o' shortcut key) over the head of the selected rider. The wind speed is displayed to the right of the windsock in the rider and environment panel at the bottom-right of the screen. A strong wind, blowing from in front or from the side, will cause a rider to tire more quickly. A rider can protect himself from the wind by using an opponent as a screen or he can call on a team member to protect him, using the context menu to set up a protection procedure.

While under the eMaintain position' order, a rider's current effort display may flash red. This indicates that the assigned effort level is too low for his current group. Gently slide the effort cursor to the right until the flashing stops or, should you decide not to follow the tempo, then do nothing.

Managing effort also means providing water. If one of your riders has no water left performance levels will drop and so you should keep an eye on the water bottles in the rider control panels. The best solution is to restock your riders before they run out (flashing bottles). "Restocking" can only be done by your own riders and only for the team members in the same group. You should use a lesser rider for the role and you should consider the terrain. It makes no sense to send a weak rider to restock if there is a steep climb; he may never catch up. If you fail to react, riders will eventually take care of themselves and will go in search of two new bottles.

Note : it is not possible to fetch water bottles inside the last 10km of a race.

Attack and counter-attack

You will have to react to attacks from others or launch attacks to break away and so you must choose the rider, or riders, best adapted to the situation. To do this, you must take into account the terrain, rider attributes as well as race-day condition.

Race-day condition ranges from -5 (feeling very bad) to +5 (feeling very good) and is displayed to the right of the heart rate in the rider control panel.

Another indicator of a rider's condition is a flashing energy bar. When the yellow bar blinks, it means that the rider is feeling really good and can relay for longer periods. If your rider is feeling really good during an attack, his red bar will blink and his attack will last longer.

If your rider's attack is successful you should stop the attack once he is on his own, in order to conserve energy. On the other hand, if he cannot break away, do not insist or you will tire the rider unnecessarily.

Note: the effort indicator is greyed out during an attack or a counter-attack to denote that it is not being taken into account. The attack and counter-attack let the rider momentarily go beyond the basic effort level at the expense of his energy level. Once the attack or counter-attack has finished, the rider will return to the effort level that was set previously.

Should an opponent launch an attack, you can open his context menu by a right click and select the 'Follow attack' button. Your currently selected rider will head-off in pursuit. Such a counter attack uses up less energy than an attack.

Note : attacks and counter-attack are independent of the effort cursor, which is greyed out until the attack or counter-attack is over and the rider returns to the previously fixed level of effort.

The success of a breakaway depends on its size and content. Should it contain too many riders or riders who are dangerous for the overall standings, for example, then it will usually be countered. In most case, the various leaders will call on their team members to do the leg work so, before attacking, it is a good idea to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of opposing squads, especially on climbs.

End of a flat race: form a train for the final sprint

Flat stages usually end with a sprint and teams vie to launch their sprinter in the best possible conditions by creating a sprint train. A sprinter without a team will try to latch onto a train created by another team. However, before thinking about the sprint, you should make sure that all your riders have water as none can be fetched within the final 10 kilometres.

You can create one with some, or all, of your riders. This strategy is important in order to put in place a given strategy such as, for example, in the mountains when you want to use riders in a given relay order, with the leader at the back of the train.

To create a train (paceline), place your weakest rider (for example) at the front and set his effort at about 85, so that he pulls the train. Then give an order to the second weakest rider to follow him. To do this, select the second rider on your list and slide him onto the first. A link icon then indicates that the riders are in joined in a paceline. Do the same with the third and fourth riders, and so on. Keep your leader, or sprinter, at the back of the paceline as he is the rider whose effort you want to spare and whom you want to lead to the end of the sprint.

As soon as the paceline is created, the lead rider will ride as long and as far as possible, until he has no energy left. When he has reached his limit, remove him from the paceline by clicking on the icon that links the first two riders. The second rider will then move to the front, and you should, again, set his effort level to about 85. As each rider who pulls the train is stronger than the previous one, the paceline will continue to accelerate, up to 1 kilometre from the line, when the sprinter will be alone in front, with plenty of energy and at full speed. Then click on the Sprint order (visible in the position of the Attack order) for one last effort. You can even try to place two riders on the podium by doing the same to your second remaining rider.

NB: if a rider in the middle of the paceline tires faster than the rider at the front, or if he is victim of a fall, he could split the paceline and slow your sprinter. You can change to order of your paceline, whenever you want, by selecting and sliding riders in your list.

End of a mountain race: take your leader to victory

Forming a "train" won’t work here, and you will have to organise your team differently to take your leader to victory.

Consider bringing your best climbers to the front of the peloton several kilometres before the final climb. Once in position, protect your leader and your best climber with your other riders at the front of the peloton. When you are at the foot of the col, your best climber should lead the group exerting a strong enough effort to remain in front. Your leader must conserve his energy by positioning himself in the climber’s draft. Remember to use your "gel" to enable your climber to maintain a higher rhythm to tire out the other riders in the group. Your leader must follow in his draft and prepare to attack. When your climber is exhausted, you then launch an attack with your leader. Manage his effort efficiently once he has broken away from the group so he remains out in front and can keep going right up to the finishing line.

It is important to ensure that your riders have a good supply of water to help them maintain performance during the tough sections. Remember to replenish their supply prior to difficult periods and don’t wait until the final climb to fetch the water bottles!