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PCM.daily » Pro Cycling Manager 2014 » PCM 14: General
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Starting at the bottom with a 1-star team
Many people find the game too easy, being able to accumulate a squad of top riders and winning all the GTs in no time. Well, not if you start with a 1-star team! To get people interested in this challenge here is my 5-step-advice based on my experiences with the Tirol Cycling Team. Please feel free add your own experiences and tips.

Step 1: Replace your whole squad with 10 U23 riders

I don't think it matters which team you choose, none of the riders are strong enough to win anything. Maybe if you are a wizard in 3D mode and a team member is on +5 form... personally, I simulated the first two seasons nearly entirely. Obviously, this requires time and patience, but I think it's worth it.

U23 must be the preferred choice for new riders. They never demand more than the minimum wage though they can have an average rating of up to 75 (though don't expect that, that's the best I've seen among 30-ish U23 I hired), they always want three years, they'll always accept your offer. Don't bother with scouting, basically just pick from the top of the U23 ranking, but make sure you get some variety, not just sprinters, which feature heavily in the rankings. You don't really care about potential, you need riders that can help you right away.

For my team I chose Tirol Cycling Team and 6 of the 14 contracts ended after the first season and the other 8 after the second season. Now you will miss most if not all your sponsor's goals in the first and second season, so he won't be happy. My sponsor reduced his support down to 300k/year or 25k/month after my first season so I really recommend no more than 10 riders on the minimum wage, otherwise you might well go bankrupt. So just two U23 riders in the first season and then 8 more in the second and now things start to get interesting.

Step 2: Make it to the Continental Pro Tour

Not that I felt it actually made any difference, my sponsor upped his commitment to just 340k/year, which may have just been due to the results. And just for fun I applied for several World Tour races and got turned down every time. But it's the natural stop before getting into the World Tour and it's easy to reach with just a few results. I didn't take any financial risks and only added two more U23 riders that summer, so I still only had 12 riders and a very lean calendar with no race overlaps.

Step 3: Qualify for the World Tour

Again, surprisingly easy, I managed it comfortably the very next year. Two of your U23s are in their final season with you and should have improved quite a bit and 8 more are in their second season and some should be winning material already. Of my 12 riders, 5 scored all the (9) victories and collected nearly all the points with more good results (especially late in the season when they grew even stronger), the other 7 were supporting cast members.

My sponsor kept increasing the amount he'd make available the next year during the summer and autumn, it ended up at 680k/year, so twice as much as before. Knowing the much fuller WT calendar I decided to double my squad size, too, up to 24 riders. Though again I picked only U23 riders which I believe wasn't the best idea, 14 U23 riders in one season (the first two needed replacing), unsurprisingly they weren't all great. At this point it might be worth looking for riders in June, starting with the free riders, where some good Ex-U23 riders end up, though keep some spots open for more U23 riders in July.

I went into the WT with 24 riders, but you might get away with fewer, just have plenty of riders abandon races early. 20 might well be enough, which means you could have 4 riders earning 5k/month instead of 8 on 2.5k/month, so if you find anybody interesting in June asking that much, you can go for it. Look out for cobblestone specialists especially, see below.

Step 4: Stay in the WT

I didn't get relegated and no reason anybody should, so I don't know what happens to the budget if you do. But that was my initial fear, if I get relegated again, will my sponsor halve his budget and I'll be bankrupt quickly. Because gaining World Tour points seems daunting at first, all the Froomes and Cancellaras and Kittels of this virtual world are your opponents and you still have a pretty weak squad.

However, as I'm sure you of you know, collecting WT points in some races with top 10 positions isn't that hard in 3D mode. One day races especially. Not the spring classics or Il Lombardia, simulate those, you won't stand a chance. But starting with Milan-San Remo and then the northern (cobblestone) classics as well as later Hamburg, GP Quest and the Canadian races are all doable. I found it really pays off to have one cobblestone specialist, mine was at 75 flat, 75 cobbles, 72 stamina - he didn't make the top 10 in Paris-Roubaix but in Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and even the Tour of Flanders, though he was only 66-ish on hills. And he went on to win GP Quest with a late attack. So that one guy alone made me roughly 300 WT points and thus more than enough to stay in the World Tour.

Generally, forget stage racing for now. Only top 10 positions in the final classification (top 20 in Grand Tours) give you any points and you won't have a single decent climber yet and even in stage races without big mountains there will be guys like Dan Martin and Betancur and Valverde etc, who you can't keep up with on hills. Save your best riders for single day races, send you worst to the Grand Tours. Sure, go stage hunting if you feel like it. The only way of winning a stage is from a breakaway group and it's very tough but also very satisfying to pull off - getting into the breakaway, getting a good but not too good a group, not getting caught by the peloton and timing your winning attack perfectly... goes wrong 19 out of 20 times for sure, just like in real life. So it demands a lot of patience and be prepared to live with failures. But I still remember all the (=handful of) GT stage wins from breakaways with this team, they really made me jump up and celebrate.

Step 5: Don't get complacent

You still have a long road ahead. My new sponsor nearly doubled my budget again to 1.3 million/year - but that's still only a tenth of what the top teams get, a single top rider wants more than that! And your sponsor's demands will be surprisingly high. Mine for the second WT year wanted top 5 positions for Tirenno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Flanders and Paris-Roubaix! Top 10 for Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Lombardia! And stage wins in all the GTs and other stage races! I certainly failed the majority of those, but managed to make him happy nonetheless with other good results.

But that wasn't easy, only 7 of my now 28 riders had an average rating over 73 and three of those were mediocre sprinters with sprinting of 78-ish, which just isn't enough to win in a bunch sprint at WT level, not enough to make the top 10, really. But they can be used to win from beakaways, of course.

Keep concentrating on the one-day races you know you can do well in, even win or get several riders into the top 10. Your budget should grow every year, in my third WT season it is now nearly at 2 million/year. But lots of contracts are running out and I won't have the money to extend many of them, I'll have to keep on finding good, cheap deals. Or a good new sponsor. At some point the game will surely become too easy again, but judging by the current speed at which my sponsorship income grows that will take about ten seasons altogether.
Came into this post trough a link and decided to bump it. The single read that really made me want to buy PCM14
Thanks for the kind words.

I am thinking about starting a new career with the same or another 1 star team and to increase the challenge I'd drop my own step 1 - try and do it without U23 riders or only allow myself one or two per season. That would make things harder. Though even on the normal market you can find riders who are simply undervalued (= demand less wages than they should). I recently picked up a potential Paris-Roubaix winner, very young, COB already at 79, who only wanted a wage of 4000/month.
Try to play extreme mode never simulating ur races! This is amazing. U can simulate races only with no orders (no attack set up for all raiders) u have not get any result in simulated races because in extreme mode the simulation is a cheat.

Change db dont use original one with huge sponsor budjets but try to use the FDB db using a custom team.

Just a very negative point of FDB db: if u pick the best young raiders to form ur custon team u will have at least 8-9 potential 7 raiders so this is not realistic! The solution is easy I changed to 1 the potentials of all my starting raiders
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