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From Rags to Riches [finished]
After presenting my final season with Zualing Airlines as a story, I said I couldn't write another one because I always end up winning everything which becomes pretty boring. But that was a team in its prime and I thought maybe I could take you along for a ride from the beginning of a career and see where it takes us. This time I'll include a few in-game screenshots, too.

I also decided to make the game more difficult for myself, so here are the settings:

DB: IviCycling
Difficulty: hard
Random potentials
No daily form

So I've finally chosen hard as my difficulty and will be curious to see how much of a difference it makes. I've also decided that I won't be using Lachi's editor anymore to check the potentials of riders, that alone should assure I won't be able to dominate as badly as before. It will be frustrating to hire young riders who have already reached their potential, but it will save me a lot of time during contract talks. I paired this with random potentials so I can't hire riders I know will develop well with this DB.

I've been playing without daily form for a while (all throughout the career which ended with the “world domination”). I like the concept, but find it too extreme. Winning with a form of +5 feels like cheating and having a rider on -5 in an important stage is too frustrating.

I also want to thank everybody in the community for making this game even better. IviCycling for the database, Lachi for his invaluabe editor which I've used for a long time, Tiemen for his excellent PCMCE, OlegTinkov for compiling the great variants pack and of course all the individual stage makers who've created some awesome and beautiful variants which makes the career mode easily twice as good.
Edited by Ripley on 05-04-2017 08:11

I'll be starting again with one of the weakest teams, rated with 1 star by the game. There's 4 such teams (with this DB at least) and I've already led Tirol Cycling and the Leopard Development Team to glory, so this time I picked Amore & Vita, which looks even weaker than the others. The only advantage I allowed myself is to edit the contract length of all my riders down to one year, so I can play with a more competitive team in the 2nd season rather than having to wait another year.

I'll still try everything I can to get the best possible results, realism be damned. I expect that the amount I write will vary greatly, I won't bore you with too many details from the early game in .2 racing and pick up if and when I make it to the World Tour.
Edited by Ripley on 16-07-2016 12:52
Season 2014

Sponsor budget: 450k/year
squad size: 15
AVG rating: 63.42 (74th/75)
AVG salary: 2500

This is going to be a pretty short season summary, the less is said, the better. You can't expect too much from a team as weak as this:


I simulated everything except for the sponsor goals – and I missed every single one of them, never even got close. My sponsor was far from happy and when the transfer season started on the 21st of June, he'd slashed the wage budget for the next season down to the minimum of 25k/month.

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However, I had one trump card up my sleeve – the Ukrainian national road race! We all know about the sorry state of the AI in most NC races and the pressure was on to deliver at least this one result.

Only 9 riders turned up for the race and 4 of those were from my team. I let the first rider attack immediately and nobody reacted. Soon he'd built up a lead of 15 minutes and I was getting giddy, sure he'd win – but then I realised I could do even better, attack with my other riders as well. I sent out the next guy, again no reaction, and another and the last one and they ended up taking the top 4 spots, everybody else missed the time limit. Success!


That pacified the sponsor a bit and he raised my wage budget back to 35k/month. However, the rest of the season was a wash, as the objective screen shows, never making it into the top 10 in any race.

I looked around for 12 young riders willing to work for the minimum wage of 2.5k. The rejection rate was probably close to 80% and so the last two new signings would be U23 riders. I picked two from nations which are important to my sponsor, Ukraine and Italy, both with AVG 69.

I couldn't wait to start the second season. Would I be getting any results with this far superior team, with the AVG rating jumping 6 points? That's as good as it gets working with the minimum wage.
Edited by Ripley on 12-07-2016 10:07
Season 2015

Sponsor budget: 421k/year
squad site: 12
AVG rating: 69.43
AVG salary: 2500

The season of truth. The new and improved squad would have to produce some results, otherwise this team will never go anywhere. The AVG rating of my squad's riders increased by 6 points even though I'm still only paying the minimum wage. It's the first obvious weakness of the game I'm exploiting, of course. It's also the first glimpse at playing without checking the potentials of riders and sadly, none of the 12 have much room for improvement.


The average rating puts us at the top of the Continental teams pile, but of course we are missing riders who can actually win races. This season I'll be racing everything in 3D mode. One reason being that the difficulty level only applies for 3D mode, the other being that I expect to get the best results by taking control of my riders.

The simple tactic for the whole season will be: Nobody ever goes into the breakaway, instead we'll stay near the front of the peloton with all riders until we hit the final 20 km, then set everybody on the dot at 80/82 effort, maybe form a couple of mini-sprint trains and hope that some riders break into the top 10, collecting as many points as we can.
Our first success came with the Tour de Langkawi, where our best climber Lechuga (MON 73) ended 7th. However, we had a hard time with our objectives, stage win at the Tour du Haut-Var, top 5 in Murcia, top 5 in Strade Bianchi, top 10 in Roma Maxima... unrealistic, I'd consider a top 25 anywhere a good result.

Even in .2 races like like Paris - Troyes we couldn't even manage that. By the start of April we had no result to speak of except for Langkawi. But then the tide turned. Oostlander was 6th, Honig 7th in the 1.1 Tour du Finistere won by Nicola Boem, Kuznetsov was 6th in the 1.2 Rutland - Melton despite all the cobblestones.

And then came the 1.2 GP Dyachenko, a circuit with a short steep hill with the finish line on top. Our riders knew they had to wait with their sprint until they are already halfway up the hill and they timed it perfectly. Kuznetsov won the race, Pomoshinikov was 3rd, Honig 5th and Oostlander 9th.


Our 2nd ever win after the Ukraine NC last year!
More top 10 results came in the following hilly .2 races, Moscow, Ringerike and Hadeland, though never on the podium. Manan was 10th in the GP Tartu at the end of May. This was very encouraging. We'd missed all the objectives bar one I failed to mention, Santeramo managed a 10th place in the GP Nobili back in March, just enough to fulfil this 2 star objective.

In June we continued collecting points in .2 races, 3 riders in the top 10 in the GP Van Coningsloo and Honig nearly won La Fleche des Ardennes, beaten only by Sander Armee.

With riders from all over the world we would be competing in more NC races this time. The tactic for these races was clear, everybody would try their luck in the breakaway. Lechuga, Santeramo, Honig and Keough had no luck and were all caught by the peloton.

But in Eastern Europe we amassed three victories! Kuznetsov attacked his six breakaway companions 30 km from the finish line and won easily. Janiszewski is a sprinter and could thus wait for the final kilometer to outsprint the opponents. And Anishenko won by a large margin in the Ukraine.
With these three victories the team roughly doubled its Continental and Superprestige Points. We jumped to 8th place in the Continental ranking and 33rd in the Superprestige ranking, which would be enough for promotion! My sponsor was so happy, he decided to increase the budget to 60k/month next season, nearly twice as much as he's paying now.

I wanted to increase the squad size to 16 and was trying to persuade some riders with wage demands up to 5k to join us, but nearly everybody turned us down again. Transfer talks can be very frustrating, as we've discussed in other threads, there's only so many offers you can make at any one time. We did end up with 16 riders but would only be paying them 43k/month, unable to use the whole budget. Well, more money to invest in new trainers, I guess.

However, our faces brightened with the last signing, a U23 rider we'd be taking on as a trainee, the Russian Alexej Smetannikov. An AVG of 72 makes him our best rider, a great allrounder with all stats around 70.

What a talent ShockGrin
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
While in contract talks Lechuga managed to win a stage in the 2.2 Czech Tour, also enough for overall victory. August brought us more good results in these continental races. Our riders didn't have much unused potential but did improve a bit during the season. Oostlander was 4th in the Vuelta a Leon, in the GP Bastianelli we snatched 2nd place with Grabowski as well as 5th through to 10th with our other riders. In Zagreb we came 2nd to 6th, only beaten by Boris Dron.

A 4 star goal was to win a stage in the Settimana Lombarda. Racing against the likes of Valverde (who won the race), Landa, Aru, Rolland and Amador it seemed like an impossible task with one mountain and three flat stages. But on the final day we sent young Smetannikov into the early break and he held off the peloton by 11 seconds to win the stage, a hugely satisfying victory.

Victories were still far and few between, but getting several riders into the top 10 became easier and easier. And thus we accumulated more and more points and promotion to the Continental Pro division became a certainty.

In the end, we completed 5 of the 15 objectives, but the sponsor was extremely happy with our other results. Those included 8 victories: The 3 NCs, the GP Dyachenko, two stages and the overall victory in the Czech Tour plus the stage of the Settimana Lombarda.


Betancur won the WT individual rankings ahead of Quintana and Porte, Cavendish accumulated 21 victories. Kuznetsov placed 12th in the Continental rankings with 237 points. And as a team it was good enough for 5th place (989 points), only behind the well-respected teams Europcar, FDJ, Bardiani and Vini Fantini. The two top French teams were promoted to the WT, they replace IAM and Androni Giocattoli.

Well, that was a bit easy, I have to say, I didn't expect promotion so soon and so decisively. On the other hand, we collected nearly all our points in the lowly .2 races, next season we won't be racing those anymore as a Continental Pro team.
jandal7 wrote:
What a talent ShockGrin

Smetannikov doesn't have much unused potential, he'll never be really good at anything, I doubt he'll ever make an impact in the World Tour. But for now, for Amore&Vita, he's great because he's so versatile.
Ripley wrote:
jandal7 wrote:
What a talent ShockGrin

Smetannikov doesn't have much unused potential, he'll never be really good at anything, I doubt he'll ever make an impact in the World Tour. But for now, for Amore&Vita, he's great because he's so versatile.

Ah OK, bit of a shame but he still looks good for you Wink
30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don’t drink famous people.”

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
Team's progressing nicely now. The budget buys punching above their weight. With the PCT coming up, let's hope some better riders are interested to sign on next season.
Well, let's take a look at the new team.

Season 2016

Budget: 67.2k/month
Squad size: 16
AVG rating: 70.26
AVG salary: 2625


The average rating rose by less than 1 point compared to last season. Smetannikov is the only rider with an AVG 72, he's our best rider in STA, DHI, FTR and COB.

Of the new signings Gross is the most interesting, with HIL 74 he's better than the rest of the team and he has the potential to take it up to 80-ish. However, he really needs to improve his STA 58 and his ACC 64 is already near its limit. Barton, Barwell and Carter can also become good riders, thankfully they are all on 3 year contracts. So watch out for those 4 riders, while the rest won't get much better. For example, Anishenko is our best sprinter at the start of this season (SPR 74), that's already his maximum.
Since we have some room in the budget we let the contracts of our previous coaches, who together were earning 7.6k, expire. We replaced them with two new coaches, the bare minimum for 16 riders, who should help our riders, especially the punchers, develop faster.


Our first race as a Continental Pro team was already an objective, the Volta ao Algarve, the sponsor asked for a top 5 finish. That wasn't going to happen with lots of WT using the race to warm up. Katusha, Sky and Orica took nearly the complete top 10, Meersman winning ahead of Boasson Hagen and Geraint Thomas. Our best rider was Carter as 29th.

But the second objective was the hilly 1.1 Trofeo Laigueglia with much weaker competition. Anishenko (HIL 69) surprised with a 3rd place behind Vuillermoz and Nathan Haas, additionally Barwell (HIL 70 SPR 69) was 5th. The speed of the peloton was slow enough for both of them to keep up and sprint well. A great start to the new season.

Edited by Ripley on 14-07-2016 08:46
We sent our best climbers (MON 70 to 74) to the Tour de Langkawi. It's a 2.HC race which usually isn't well attended and thus a good chance to collect points – another slight weakness of PCM.

With 9 flat stages it was all down to the one mountaintop finish on stage 4. Barguil won the stage and the race, but our best climbers didn't end far behind. In the final classification Locatelli finished behind Barguil, he was followed by Landa, Firsanov, Mohoric and Oskar Svendsen. But Lechuga (MON 73) was 7th, just like last year, and his team mates Formolo (74), Santeramo (73) and Bruno Silva (71) were right behind him, completing the top 10.

The next objectives followed soon. We missed out on a top 10 result in the GP Camaiore by a hair, Anishenko was once again our best rider as 11th on this hilly course, he's obviously in a good early form. Considering the competition – Gallopin won ahead of Meersman and Hermans – it was a respectable result.

A top 5 in the very difficult Strade Bianchi against strong competition looked pretty much impossible, but as the peloton broke into pieces in the finale our Norwegian newcomer Bjorn Tore Hoelm (HIL 73) found himself in the top group and ended 9th, ahead of riders like Battaglin and Sagan. Finetto won, Moreno and Brambilla completed the podium.

Next was a top 10 in the Roma Maxima, a race with lots of cobblestones but usually without specialists turning up. A group of 18 riders made it into the finale, Julian Alaphilippe (COB 63) won ahead of Meersman and Tyler Farrar. But Willwohl and Smetannnikov also made it into that group and finished 7th and 8th.


Already at this early stage things are looking surprisingly good. Two and a half objectives out of 4 completed successfully, I expected to fail them all. And the success continued in our next race, the 1.1 GP Nobili. Michael Schaer launched a decisive late attack and won by 41 seconds, but Amore&Vita took 2nd, 3rd and 4th with Carter, Boem and Smetannikov. At this point we were already 4th in the Continental team rankings with 253 points!
Edited by Ripley on 14-07-2016 08:47
However, the spell of great results broke after the GP Nobili. We didn't stand a chance in our next objectives, neither did we come close to a top 5 in the Settimana Internazionale, which was won by Nairo Quintana, nor did we have any hope of winning a stage in the Driesdaagse de Panne, which went to Debusschere.

The focus was now on the next objectives. A top 10 in Tro-Bro Leon was only worth 1 star, we weren't able to follow to late attacks which brought Nelsen Oliviera the victory ahead of Vakoc and Swolfs, but Smetannikov managed to sprint himself to an 8th place.

Two days later the 2.HC Giro del Trentino started and a stage win here was one of the biggest goals this season. We decided that the first stage offered the best chance to win from a breakaway, it was only 128 km long and flat except for a late cat. 2 hill. Normally breakaways are doomed at such an early stage, but the course might just give the escapees the edge.

Russian champion Kuznetsov (HIL 73) was our choice for this venture, he was joined by 4 other riders. The peloton was still nearly 2 minutes behind at the foot of the hill, just about guaranteeing a win from the breakaway. Kuznetsov was nearly dropped by his breakaway companions uphill, he could barely hold on and had to stay on the wheel of Saramotins and try and outsprint the others with his SPR 63. But he managed and celebrated in style as he crossed the finish line.


On top of that Lechuga proved once again he's the best climber in our team, he was 6th on the tough mountaintop finish on stage 3 and also 6th overall, behind winner Reichenbach, Majka, Jeannesson, Chiarini and Atapuma. Kuznetsov also took home the green jersey, a 12th place on the final stage was enough to beat Reichenbach by 3 points. And Formolo managed to win the white jersey, beating Adam Yates and Bob Jungels.
Edited by Ripley on 14-07-2016 09:41
I dare say I can't feel the difference between normal and hard at this point. The next race was the GP di Industria won by Slagter, but Carter and Boem were 3rd and 4th. Barwell broke into the top 10 in the 1.HC Rund um den Finanzplatz as 8th, Demare won ahead of Rojas and Bouhanni.

At the start of May Amore&Vita (487 points) is 2nd in the continental rankings, only behind NetApp (528) and ahead of Androni (429), IAM (374), Bretagne (368) and An Post (356).

A week later we raced the Tour d'Azerbaidjan and failed to make an impact in the first 4 stages. But on the final day, 116 km totally flat, Barwell was part of the breakaway. The sprinter teams didn't give the escapees much of a chance, in desperation Barwell left the rest of the break behind and narrowly held off the peloton to claim his first professional victory.


Overall victory went to Mikel Landa with Arredondo and Andy Schleck completing the podium.
I find victories like the one from Barwell still very satisfying, which is why I still play this game after such a long time.

A week later we raced the 2.1 Vuelta a Castilla y Leon against some WT teams and things got even more exciting. The first two stages were flat, Debusschere won from a mass sprint on the opening day. On stage 2 the escape group was caught 20 km out and we gave Poutsma the order to attack. Poutsma doesn't bring much to the table, a fighter with FLA 72 as his best skill. But the peloton didn't react to his attack and he managed to gain over a minute before soloing to victory with an advantage of 58 seconds ahead Caleb Ewan and the rest of the peloton.

Would he be able to win the race, our first 2.1 race, having previously only won the 2.2 Czech Tour? The final stage was hilly, but not worryingly so. The team protected him as well as it could, we were unable to follow the late attack of Rui Costa and Simon Clarke. But it wasn't enough to topple Poutsma, Rui Costa distanced Clarke by 11 seconds, Poutsma managed to stay with the reduced peloton which crossed the line 26 seconds behind Costa.

In contrast, our best placed rider in the Tour de la Mayenne was Smetannikov as 27th. His AVG has increased to 73 but so far he has disappointed a little. He is 36th in the Continental rankings, four of his team mates are better placed (Boem, Lechuga, Poutsma and Carter). Bruno Silva was awarded the mountain jersey, he and three other riders all ended with 6 points, so I'd call that fortunate.

Raymund Gross has increased his HIL to 76 but still hasn't been able to turn that into a good result. That changed with his home race GP Aargau, where he finished 8th in a strong field. Moser won ahead of Simon Yates and Villella.

The Giro dell'Appennino just before the NC races was another sponsor objective. A hilly course with a downhill run to the finish line. Here Smetannikov was able to show off his skills by taking 4th place behind Adam Yates, Vuillermoz and Arredondo. With his DHI 77 and SPR 73 he had no trouble holding on and managed to outsprint riders like Brambilla, Clarke, Moser and Bennett.

Then it was time for the NC road races, a great chance for our riders to win a title. In Spain Lechuga was 8th on a brutal course, "only" 8:46 behind winner Contador. Formolo was 17th in the Campione d'Italia won by Ulissi. The Dutch race featured a few cobblestone sections and went to Langeveld (COB 77), Poutsma managed a good 5th place.

And then six of our riders won their national championships, all from breakaways. Willwohl (GER) outsprinted his opponents, Gross (CH) left the group behind to win by 4:44. Barton (USA) similiarly left nothing to chance and was 1:52 ahead. Kuznetsov (RUS) defended his title, a solo ride from start to finish, winning by 9:15. Ukraine was the usual joke, Anishenko's 8 opponents all missed the time limit. And even Bruno Silva managed to win in Portugal. Three riders named Silva were in the breakaway, the one small hill on the circuit was enough to leave everybody bar Daniel Silva behind and Bruno won the final battle of the two non-sprinters (SPR 57 and 56).

At the start of July Amore&Vita has taken the lead in the Continental rankings with 1162 points, just ahead of NetApp (1156), the gap to 3rd placed Cofidis (709) is already comfortable. The picture is a little different in the Superprestige rankings which I believe determines promotion to the World Tour. NetApp leads with 1970 points, we follow with 1583, just ahead of IAM (1456), Cofidis also remains in the running (1260).

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