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World Domination 2026 [Done!]
I really wonder if I actually should be sharing this – it's not going to be much of a story, I won't provide in-race screenshots, just the naked results. By sharing this season with you I hope it'll be my last in this career, because there's really nothing left to achieve.

In my very first post on this forum, in the 2009 subforum, I wrote how I've approached this game for the 12 or so years I've been playing it, ever since Pro Cycling Manager 3 (PCM 2003), the way I approach every game, striving for maximum efficiency, getting the absolutely best results I can. So I don't just want to win races – I want to get all my riders into the top 10, claiming as many World Tour points as I can, use every trick in the book to fool the AI. I don't have any domestiques, nobody ever protects a leader, in fact the best riders fetch water bottles for everyone else.

I always start out with a lowly team, in this case OFM rated with 2 stars, having previously already led 1-star-teams to glory. The first part of such a career is the most exciting time, starting with a minimal budget, struggling to win anything, slowly but surely improving the squad until my team rules the virtual world.

The last few seasons were already hugely successful even though I kept the wage bill below 600k/month despite my sponsor paying me over a million per month. For the 2026 season I decided to splash out by raising the wage bill to 750k and by hiring the first rider who earns more than 50k. This means I now have a squad without weaknesses, no young riders who still need time to develop.


My basic setup is to have 17 climbers or stage racers (in two groups), 8 punchers and 5 cobblestone specialists and a very simple season planning, the same riders always tackling races together. Any non-WT-races and all flat stages including TTs are simulated, I have to draw the line somewhere.

Feel free to hate my team and to cheer if I fail to win races, it'll be a rare occurrence, I'm afraid.
Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:43
As luck would have it the very first stage in 3D mode this season goes to show just how ruthlessly successful my team can be. The Tour down Under this season (I use the ASO stage pack, btw) has a classical course with one moderately hilly stage and a stage climbing Willunga Hill twice. I always send 7 of my 8 punchers down under - resting only van der Lam who will ride the Giro - and this season we have 8 excellent punchers.

The most basic trick for dominance is to attack with the whole team on a stage suited to the riders and relay at such high speed that they'll never get caught again. Here I attacked briefly on the only longer climb early in this short stage, then setting everybody on the dot at 70 up to the cat. 2 hill and then relaying at 76 to the finish line. The other good, even great punchers - most of whom used to ride for my team until their wage demands grew too high, like Bodnark, Klaer and Berisha - never stood a chance.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:44
Ian Butler
Haha awesome approach to playing, I love it.
Good luck (nah, you don't need it)!
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Having already settled the general classification the team didn't have to work terribly hard on the stage up to Old Willunga Hill. We went on the dot at 76 on the first climb, creating a group of 20 riders and letting others lead until the final climb, 6 km from the finish I set everybody on the dot at 82 (which doesn't eat into the red bar), since the hill is so steep I let others start the sprint and let my riders go at the 800 meter mark, perfect timing to again take all the top places, with Ciucarelli winning the stage again and taking home the overall victory.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:45
Ian Butler wrote:
Haha awesome approach to playing, I love it.
Good luck (nah, you don't need it)!

Cheers mate! No, probably I won't need much luck. I don't have the very best riders - there are currently 24 riders earning more than Morillas and another 18 earning more than Lorenzen - but with such an evenly balanced team these types of attacks will work quite often - not always this well, we'll see.
Preview of Paris-Nice and Tirenno-Adriatico

Since I only have 8 stage racers/climbers on form this early in the season - the other 9 won't start WT racing until the Dauphine and Swiss Tour - ideally one of the two parallel races doesn't include any mountains, so I can send my 8 punchers to that race and the 8 stage racers to the other one. Sadly, this season Paris-Nice includes both an ITT and a tough mountain stage, Tirenno-Adriatico two mountain stages and an ITT, so my punchers will have a hard time getting into the top 10. I'll try my best, of course.

The race to the sun started with a short TTT where our team came 3rd, losing 10 seconds. A stage for the sprinters was followed by the first hilly stage. The AI is often too passive on such stages with contenders for the overall classification not following late attacks. We waited until we reached the bottom of the cat. 1, rode hard uphill, the pure climbers set on the dot at 84 to keep up with those with higher HIL skill and formed a group of 10 riders who gained 2:39 on most opponents, the stage win going to Accardi.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:46
After another flat stage the queen stage awaited, with three tough climbs in the finale. The breakaway was given a lot of room, we did as little as possible, trying to conserve energy, and it was uncertain if the break could be caught, but the lead couldn't be big enough considering the last climbs.

We led the peloton up the first cat. 1 climb at a tempo the punchers were comfortable with, but halfway up, Brenna (MON 85) attacked and our four climbers had to follow him, Thierry Thil (MON 79 TT 80) also latched on. Thankfully - or disappointingly, whichever way you prefer - nobody else felt like making much of an effort and 3 of my 4 punchers managed to keep the pace with the rest of the riders including several decent climbers, finishing as a group of 27 riders 5:24 behind the winner, only Guilhem lost an additional 5 minutes.

My climbers let Brenna do the work and when he attacked again just followed him on the dot. We dropped Thill, caught the last surviving escapee in the final 2 km and managed to beat Brenna to the finish line. Here's the general classification after the queen stage, still 3 of the punchers in the top 10.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:47
Next up was a short, hilly stage. Guilhem had dropped to 37th position in the GC, over ten minutes behind, so he was sent into the early break, hoping to both win the stage and ideally gain back 5 minutes. Plus we could leave the work in the peloton to other teams.

However, the break wasn't given much of a lead and was destined to be caught. Guilhem fought valiantly, left the the rest of the break behind on the first cat. 2 climb – and was rewarded with the stage win, just rolling over the line before the next group had caught up. It included all our riders as well as Brenna, Klaer and Thill.


The final classification would be decided by a 32.5 km long hilly TT. As I'm sure everybody knows, it's worth playing hilly TTs in 3D mode, using more effort uphill than downhill. I keep handwritten notes on all these TTs so I know which settings are ideal. I usually set the effort at 60 on flat stretches, 50 downhill and between 70 and 80 uphill (in this case 76). Morillas (HIL 82, TT 78) won the stage ahead of team mate Stankovic (HIL 85, TT 67), Thill (HIL 78, TT 80) was 3rd. Morillas also won the overall as well as the points jersey, Irurrarizaga (HIL 75, TT 61) lost 3:41 and dropped down to 4th place, Thill overtook Brenna, the rest of the top 10 remained the same, Guilhem climbed from 37th to 13th to 12th, his climbing (MON 68) was simply too bad to challenge for a top 10 position. Here are the final standings.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:48
Like Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico started with a short TTT, which our team won by 12 seconds. However, it would be pretty much impossible to keep any of our punchers in the top 10, since this edition doesn't include any hilly stages, just two mountain stages and a final flat, 10.2 km short ITT.

After two flat stages two tough mountain stages awaited us. The best chance of keeping other strong climbers at bay usually means attacking as a team rather sooner than later. But to give the punchers a chance to not lose too much time we played it very passively and had to pay for that by conceding both stage wins and the leader's jersey to Daan Olivier (MON 82, AVG 81). Despite my best efforts, none of my punchers managed to stay in the top 10 after these two stages, three of them lost less than a minute to Olivier on the tough mountaintop finish but on stage 5 they used up all their energy downhill to return to the front group after the brutal cat. 1 climb and then couldn't hold on in the final steep ramp.



It was still a good result so far considering the tough opposition, Le Gall is currently the best stage racer in the game (MON 85, TT 80), Beffort (MON 85) and Polyakov (MON 84) were also big threats.
Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:50
Grin This is amazing Grin

Are you going for whole the top 30 UCI rankings goal again? Pfft Grin

"What done is, is one." - Benji Naesen
It was down to the short final ITT whether one rider of mine could win the overall. Olivier's TT skill is only 65 while Lorenzen and Morante are at 79. Morante, the slightly surprising ITT World Champion last year, won the stage, Lorenzen was 6 seconds behind and it was just enough to snatch the overall victory from Olivier. Probably the most surprising result of this simulated ITT came from road race World Champion Gordillo (TT 66), who only lost 31 seconds and managed to squeeze into the final top 10 by the slimmest of margins.


Not quite the total domination I always strive for, but this season's course didn't allow for more.
Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:51
trekbmc wrote:
Grin This is amazing Grin

Are you going for whole the top 30 UCI rankings goal again? Pfft Grin

If I manage that, I should definitely retire this career and start from the bottom again. It might well be possible - the squad is very mature and thus strong this season, no real weaknesses. We'll have to see how the northern classics go, I have five excellent riders but there is some tough competition around.

Also we have 8 great punchers, but not the very best in the world, there's Okorochkov (HIL 84, FLA 76, SPR 73, ACC 80, STA 81), when he rode for our team he won the WT ranking with 1086 points. He's very dificult to beat, he's been riding for other teams for three years now and keeps on beating me in the one day classics. Last season he won LBL and Il Lombardia and claimed 363 WT points, no way all my 30 riders can collect more.
Before we get to Milan-San Remo, for the record (or just showing off) here are the simulated minor races won by my riders so far, a nice distribution: Vuelta a Murcia (Morillas), Clasica de Almeria (Iruarrizaga), GP Camaiore (Stankovic), Strade Bianche (van der Lem), Roma Maxima (Senden), Dwars door Drenthe (Meijs) and Nokere Koerse (Vikdal).

Milan - San Remo

Every variant offers a good chance for the whole team to break away from the peloton and finish with time to spare. The key is to get away before the final hill, push hard uphill on the steeper penultimate climb, attack and then relay at 90 on the final flat stretch. It's easiest with 8 punchers, but since the cobblestone specialists have the fewest chances to score WT points I took 3 of the 5 along (with HIL 70-71) and let them take the 3 top spots with the new addition Zattini taking his first win with us – a monument no less.


Sickening, isn't it? Wink
Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:51
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

This edition of the Catalonia Tour offered a TTT, three flat stages, a hilly stage, a mountain stage and a mountain TT. Our stage racing team for the first half of the season was split up between P-N and T-A but will now ride the next WT stage races together, Catalunya, Basque Country, Romandie, Giro and Dauphine.

Always good to start with a win in a TTT, this time by 14 seconds. 5 of the 8 riders are decent at TT (79, 79, 78, 78 73), so this wasn't surprising.

Stage 2 was the only hilly stage in the race, so we decided to try a late attack, pushing hard up the final hill with Morillas firmly in charge. He's an excellent allrounder with HIL 82, so he had to hold back to keep the teammates on his heels. We attacked on the crest and relayed downhill at 90 with just one puncher leeching, beating him easily with a sprint train setup and gaining 50 seconds on the peloton.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:52
The only mountain stage seemed a straightforward affair, 222.1 km, one early cat. 2 climb and then two late, steep climbs.

However, it turned into a pretty weird race. 12 riders, some just 2 minutes behind and semi-decent climbers, set off to form the early break and that compelled our team to pull the peloton, no leader, so everybody gets to work, but I like to keep the effort at 36, 40 at the most, I don't want my opponents to profit later.

On the early cat. 2 climb I set everybody on the dot at 60 effort to narrow the already large gap - and suddenly a 16 rider group separated from the peloton and nobody was giving chase.

Even relaying at 40 the gap increased further and further, at some point others thankfully took over pulling our group, including the top-favorite for the stage and overall, Le Gall. We didn't complain. But nothing happened in the peloton.

By the time we'd gotten to the bottom of the cat. 1 climb the front group of now 28 riders was 19 minutes ahead of the peloton, which included Olivier as well as Pankov and Polyakov (both MON 84), pre-race favorites, they lost between 18 and 21 minutes on this stage. As always, I set everybody on the dot uphill, micromanaging the effort to keep everybody together, letting others attack needlessly. German champion Lorenzen clinched the stage and our whole team finished above Le Gall, serves him right for relaying so hard earlier.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:53
The last hurdle was a 17.7 km long mountain time trial. I usually like to simulate them, I don't do very well in 3D mode and the time gaps can be big, simulated they are usually smaller. However, this MTT started flat, even included a short downhill section, so I felt it was worth trying the 3D mode, switching between 60 and 84 effort. Sadly, top favorite Le Gall (MON 85 TT 80) beat Lorenzen by a fraction of a second, but nobody in the team lost more than 1:06 on the stage winner, securing all top 8 spots in the general classification, since the last two flat stages didn't create any changes.


Cobblestone races preview

We don't have 5 strong northern classics riders every year, they wage demands rise too quickly, but for this season our group is very competitive, all with COB 83 to 85. However, the game refuses to create riders who are also good uphill, nobody with COB of 75 or higher has HIL over 74 and vice versa. So the three punchers (HIL between 81 and 85, COB 70 to 74) who join the group for these races might also have a shot at reaching the top 10 everywhere but Paris-Roubaix.
Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:54

I admit, I restarted this race. I thought I'd made it hard enough on the first attempt but suddenly found myself in the finale in a group of 27 riders including top sprinters who are mediocre on hills and cobblestones.

So, on the second attempt I really went all in and attacked after the second cobblestone section with nearly 150 km to go, relaying at 76. It did not look good at first, the peloton was chasing hard and my riders were only ahead by 30, 40 seconds. But we persevered and as we hit the hellingen the gap started to grow steadily.

The punchers were out of energy and unable to follow on the Kwaremont, the last but tough cobblestone hill, and would be caught by the chasing group. But our 5 specialists made it onto the final flat stretch, could relay at 80 to the finish line and were safe. I gave the victory to Trishin, his first ever victory in his 6th professional season.

Gordillo and Kotsovolos had even regained enough energy to follow a late attack by Kompalla and top favorite Legeay (both COB 85, AVG 80 and 82), unable to beat them in the sprint but staying just ahead of the rest of the chasers.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:54

The course seems quite straightforward with only the few climbs, but the cobbled Kemmelberg, which has to be climbed twice, is absolutely crucial. You don't want to be caught behind slower riders, large gaps can open up.

So we made sure to attack before the first ascent and micromanage the effort to keep everybody together and then relayed at high speed, overtaking the escapees before the second ascent which is absolutely vital. Zhak, our worst rider (COB 71), was unable to keep up and would be overtaken by a number of riders to finish 15th.

The other 7 relayed at 80. The chasers weren't far behind at this point, but as they like to do, wouldn't cooperate and kept attacking each other and slowing down again, something I'm always happy to see. Victory went to our best northern classics specialist, Vikdal.


So far it's been the promised domination, I believe. Here is a look at the WT rankings on the 1st of April.


Edited by Ripley on 05-06-2020 11:56
Ian Butler
I'd love to see Team Standings, also Grin
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