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[PCT] Minions '19

This is how we introduced ourselves:
Once upon a time, a little yellow single-celled organism was searching around for some food for his friends, the other little yellow single-celled organisms. He found a tree full of bananas, and it became the most holy food for them; only apples (or babbles, as they would pronounce them) came close afterwards, but the bananas stayed on top forever. They could continue to eat bananas without anyone noticing, until capitalism.

A bunch of Americans found out about the bananas, and decided to eat them as well. The organisms weren't too happy about that, but the Americans only wanted to sell bananas to them for ridiciously high prices. The organisms agreed on the deal, because they just couldn't live without bananas. The Americans founded a company called United Fruit Company, which would later be known as Chiquita Brands International.

After the deal, the little yellow single-celled organisms were living in peace again, even during both World Wars and the Cold War, but their rest was disturbed again in the 21st century when an American/French film crew decided to use them for a movie. The company, who named theirself Illumination Entertainment, had a big plan with them, and they even gave them a name that will always be recognized, the Minions!

Illumination Entertainment became a subsidiary of Universal Studios, a rich and famous American company. The film, called Despicable Me and released in 2010, became a hugh success, and the Minions became rich. A sequel would follow 3 years later, and that made them even richer. In 2015, the Minions will finally get their own movie, suprisingly called Minions, where they will finally be main characters. Despicable Me 3 is scheduled for 2017.

One of the Minions was a big fan of cycling, and decided to found a cycling team with the money he earned from the movies and the bananas. He, however, did not have enough money to it, neither did all the Minions together. They first asked Universal Studios to sponsor them. They decided to help, but they didn't offer enough money to fund the entire team. Then Chiquita came to rescue, and offered an amazing amount of money for the team, accompanied by a giant raise in the price of the bananas. Team Chiquita-Universal was born!

This is how the story continued:
The Minions began strong, designing jerseys, making goals and selecting races. Riders were signed, but they made one critical mistake. Instead of human currency, the riders were paid in bananas. This did not only effect their health, but it also resulted in some angry Minions who had to either go to rehab or switch to babbles. And things didn't get better when a film crew showed up to make a new movie about them, which is to premiere soon.

This slight controversy resulted in a big mess. Minions weren't motivated to watch races or write about it, riders weren't performing due to the lack of support from the Minions and organizers threatened to take our license away. Our season marked just four highlights, though that's more than none. The victory of Chad Haga in a TT in Algarve resulted in a mass celebration in our lab and a daily pilgrimage to Portugal. Carter Jones won the mountain jersey in the Tour de Beauce, but those 2 wins were all there would be last season. There were some minor celebrations when Jakob Rathe achieved our goal in a for Minions impronouncable race (Cigar City Brewing Twilight GP) and some decent performances in our home tour: the Tour of America.

It didn't look good for the Minions though. 24th out of 26 was definately a big bummer, though higher than most critics expected. It was a nail-biting offseason, but their but-jokes, banana-bribery and cute smiles managed to secure a new license for this season. We managed to keep both our main sponsors and secondary sponsors aboard (Chiquita, Universal, Illumination Entertainment and Gameloft). To keep the Minions happy, we decided to change our name to Chiquita - Universal powered by Minions, after we were already informally called Team Minions last season. We were given a new appearance as well, with a new jersey designed by renowned artist Bikex. Last season was trial-and-error, this season will be trial-and-succeeding!

The Minions aren't dead. The Minions are alive. The Minions are more fond of cycling than ever and extremely driven to perform this season, and of course gain more bananas. Or babbles. Or both.

And then, all this stuff happened:
Now, the Minions cycling team is in their third consecutive season in the lowest level of cycling. The Minions are losing hope, but is there a Minion who can stand up and lead them to promotion, finally?

Where did it go wrong last season? The start was promising, with our license renewed and Minions being added to the official team name. However, there was some controversy regarding the not very child-friendly abbreviation. We would like to maintain a good relationship with children, and therefore we rectified our error immediately. We also found out that Piamonte didn't like bananas. He was thrown out of the HQ immediately.

Transfers went better as the year before. The PR-Minion didn't mess up the validation process and got it right in one go. Some star riders were signed, such as Martinez and Kinney. Yet, there were also failures. Jones was loaned out to a even worse team where he couldn't progress. 500,000 bananas were invested in sprinter Tolleson, but his stack of top 10's were limited, if there were any. The old and decreasing Duggan was signed to provide experience, but can he be useful for another season? And in the closing stages we signed the overpriced Italian fighter Santambrogio. Our 200,000 bananas donation to Festina might have been the key to their ProTour victory.

Resultwise the season also went better. Our first season resulted in 1 stage victory, the second season that increased to 3! Kinney won a stage in Pologne, Haga the TT in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Montenegro won from a breakaway in our favourite race, the Tour of America. He and Haga also fought for the mountains competition, but where a few places away from victory. The race has given us some great memories, and we will certainly return this year. Martinez had some great stage race results, including a sixth place in the prestigious Vuelta a Tachira.

On the other hand, Tolleson couldn't impress in the sprints. At one point, Santambrogio managed to outdo him on a regular basis. The lack of points in sprinters races is the reason we couldn't compete for promotion positions. It will now be a Mexican standoff between Carlsberg, Lierse and us to decide who will be the last team to promote from the 2014 entrants.

We lost 16th place in the standings on the final race, yet 17th out of 26 is much better as our 24th place. If we can improve by the same margin this year, promotion will be within reach!

For the Minions themselves, 2015 was quite successful. The eponymous film was a box office hit, and grossed billions worldwide. The Minions now have some time of before they start working on their new movie, Despicable Me 3. Kevin the Minion was knighted by the Queen of England, and is now known as Sir Kevin. He will replace Dave as general manager, who has decided to move on and seek new challenges in the world of the yellow single-celled organisms.

In 2016, the team will revert to its 2014 name, but without the Team prefix. Due to new restrictions by the MGUCI, a character lenght was introduced, which made our team name too long for their administration. The team will officially be known as Chiquita - Universal, but as always the media will always associate us with the Minions, who will not leave the world of cycling in the near future! The team is now officially based in Guatemala, because the Minions want to be in a banana republic. This will mean an increased focus on Central America, but we will not forget the most important market on the earth, the United States of America!

However, we must be realistic. Some Minions are getting depressed. Promotion has to be achieved, otherwise who knows what will happen. Complete Minion breakdown? The apocalypse? It is up to Sir Kevin, team manager Stuart and the directeurs sportifs, including Bob, to find the most despicable master to... ehh sorry, that's the plot of the movie.

To get the team to the top of the world of cycling, that's it!

And then, this stuff happened as well:
They say third time's the charm. Well, it certainly was the case for us. We are now allowed to add a P in front of our opening abbreviation because we promoted to the Pro Continental Tour in the MGUCI system. But it's a miracle we got to this place at all. Here's a quick reconstruction:

On the bike things went pretty well. We managed to sign two great sprinters in Drapac and Manarelli, and three cobblestones specialists in De Haes, Marcos and Matthews. This meant that we were able to participate on all terrains for once. Yes, there were also some less successful acquisitions this season but far less so than the previous years. Haga and Selander were send on loan to a ProTour squad, and would come back to us having gained valuable experience.

Over the first two season we scored a total of four victories. However, we knew very quickly that this season would be much better, as we had already won three stages when we came to March. Barton and Sarmiento, two new riders as well, both won a stage in the Tour of the Middle East, and De Haes won us our first classic: the prestigious Geraardsbergen - Bosberg. But the big fish came from New Zealand, the Tour of Southland, where Martinez won the fourth stage and consequently the general classification. You could imagine the celebrations, fireworks and Minions who drank slightly too much at the headquarters.

And it didn't stop there, as our sprinters delivered on their promises as well. Drapac won a stage in Circulo de Juarez and came close to the overall victory. He also won the opening stage in the Tour of Denmark, taking the leader's jersey before losing it on stage three to our very own Kinney, who won that stage as well. Unfortunately he also couldn't win the overall classification. Manarelli managed to rack up four victories over the season, one in the Tour de Pologne, one in the Herald Sun Tour and two consecutive stages in Ruta America del Sur. Martinez also won a time trial in the USAPCC, the exact same one Haga won the year before.

This did us well in the rankings. We were within reach of automatic promotion all season, and although we couldn't challenge for the title which went to Ferrero, we still finished in fourth place, one place ahead of our rivals Carlsberg, after Lierse chickened out of a battle of the last team of the 2014 generation to promote. Fourth place means we could finally kiss goodbye to the bottom depths of the CT, and start mixing us in the midfield of the PCT.

However, off the bike things went a little bit less well, understatement of the year. First there was a bit of a miscommunication with Esmaeli regarding his future, and he left the team midway through the season after only participating in two races. Then, our sponsors started to withdraw, all for the silliest of reasons. Universal withdrew because they though we favoured Chiquita, and that wasn't true, and they knew it, but they wanted a way out for something else. Because our operations were moved to the glorious banana republic of Guatemala for tax reasons, our team became, let's say a lot less liked by some organisations. The people of Guatemala noticed their bananas became extremely expensive due to some of our employee's habits, and soon we had some major riots outside our building.

We knew we had to bail when even Chiquita, our most beloved sponsor (sorry Universal, you had this coming), left us and joined the side of the protestors. We took our stuff and got the hell out of the country, before they burned our HQ to the ground. Back in the US of A we couldn't find a place to stay, we couldn't find a sponsor to work with and we couldn't eat bananas because we didn't have them anymore.

Then, as an angel descended down from heaven, Tareq Esmaeli came back with money from his dad, who apparently is a super rich oil Sheikh from Qatar. He bought the license and saved the Minions from bankruptcy and most likely prison. This means we're once again on the move, towards Qatar, with our new sugar daddy paying for everything we need (including apparently a mountain made of oil for a new race). We have no sponsors who could direct where we go and what we do, it's just the Minions from now on. And Tareq the banana lover is back with the team, and we will never ever threat him the way we did last season.

Long story short: we're on the most wanted list of the CIA, FBI and Interpol, we have both Chiquita and Universal suing us, the governments of the United States and Guatemala want to see us extradited, and for some reason the Walt Disney Company has send mercenaries to kill us. But that won't stop us. We're going to continue were we left off: to conquer the world of cycling, whether you like it or not!

Another season, more stories:
Let's start with the good news (pun intented): we survived our first season in PCT! How? Well, read below.

We realised our squad was in need of a major make-over, since our CT leaders would not be good enough to lead PCT. Our two major signings were Úran for the mountains/stage races, and Betancourt for the hills. Albert was brought on to lead at the cobbles, and Drapac remained sprint leader though we knew he would struggle more. A leader in every discipline, what could go wrong?

A lot, actually. We spent over a million bananas on helping Betancourt lose weight so he would be in top shape going in this season, but his performances were not what we expected. We wanted constant scoring while he only delivered a few good result contrary to many bad results. Albert didn't have the best of seasons either but at least he tried. And our support riders didn't really get themselves inside the break or in a low points-scoring position for them to be of any help for the rankings.

We made mistakes, we'll admit. We left over 150k in our wage cap to afford Betancourt's training, money we could have used to sign better riders. And the riders we did sign weren't scouted that great either. We signed Goodnews Clifford purely because of his first name and the laughs we would have, not because of his skill. Jeandesbosz had previously been signed by us but never raced, so we brought him back to close the chapter, but his age had already caught him and he wasn't as good as he used to be. Albourdainy was signed because he's friends with the Sheikh's son and while he wasn't too bad, we could've signed someone with more pedigree.

That still doesn't answer our earlier question though. How did we survive? Well, a large part of it is down to one man: Úran. He scored well in every race he participated in, but in August he delivered big-time when he won Deutschland Tour in the PTHC category, against ProTour opposition, and single-handedly pushed us out of the relegation zone we'd been spending in since January. A statue for him has already been erected outside the HQ.

Other two silver linings were Drapac, who caused an upset when he won Nahakon Rahamanakon Classic in Thailand (that's not how it's spelled but we've never done it correctly and you probably never noticed), and De Haes, who won three stages in three different races from the breakaway. Those fringe points proved to be just enough to stay above the five bottom places.

In the end it's twentieth place, two places and just 237 points ahead of relegation. This year we have to do better, this year we have to sign riders better, this year we have to plan races better, this year we have to race races better, this year we have to be better!

Because we're not going down, we're going up!

And so we made it to our sixth season. Can you believe it, six years already. We started on this adventure knowing absolutely nothing, which showed in our first seasons, but now we're at a spot where we know what's going on and how to improve.

Take our fifth season. We barely avoided relegation in our debut in PCT, and improvements were necessary to improve on our ranking position. We knew we had some additional cap space held behind by Betancourt, but selling him for a record fee opened up some real possibilities. In response we bought Zepuntke for a record fee and assembled a strong cobblestone squad. Additionally, we focussed on time trials to avoid the painful moments whenever they took place.

The season indeed went a lot better than before. Not only relying on Úran to score points, but he was still our top scorer. Despite not winning a stage race this season he was a lot more consistent and finished second and third almost every stage or race. This brought him to eighth place in the individual rankings. The cobblestone squad also took a lot of points, including Zepuntke and Albert as second- and third-best scorers respectively.

But it were the little guys who made it into a great season. Loanee Moulingui finished third in Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Third for an unmaxed, 23 year old in the highest category possible is a wonderful performance, and meant he finished sixth on our end-of-season rankings. Drapac also picked his race where he overperformed, winning a stage and finishing third in the GC at Baltic Chain Tour.

Not everything was bright though. We made our GT debut in the Vuelta, but largely remained anonymous except Úran taking seventh place in the GC. Betancourt's replacement, Quevedo, was not up to standards and scored even less. This means we have to look for a new lead puncheur for the third year in a row. But you know what they say, third time's a charm.

Put everything together and we have a solid midtable finish of thirteenth. Way ahead of the relegation spots but also behind the (disband) promotion spots. For a while we looked to battle for the promotion spots, placing sixth or seventh midway through the season, but with less racedays in the latter months we dropped back a bit. That's not a shame, it shows we have a great base and with a little tweaking, we can promote to PT this season.

Third time's a charm, we'll promote to PT!

This story is completely fictional. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious as well. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental, but I hope the little yellow single-celled organisms are real Pfft

Manager of Minions

Team Chiquita - Universal
[CT] 24th


Team [19 riders]:
Fredy Piamonte Roman Kilun
Fabio Montenegro Bjorn Selander
Gert Rajala Carter Jones
Sébastien Chavanel Mark Griffith
Marco Bandiera Nathan Brown
Wim Stroetinga Jakob Rathe
Tareq Esmaeli Rahsaan Bahati
Chad Haga Mike Friedman
Alex Howes Nathan Wilson
John Murphy

Chiquita - Universal p/b Minions
[CT] 17th


Team [19 riders]:
Yasmani Martinez John Murphy
Nick Kinney Mark Griffith
Chad Haga Sebastian Salas
Taylor Tolleson Simon-Pierre Gauthier [Stagiare]
Bjorn Selander Fabio Montenegro
Timothy Duggan Maxime Le Montagner [Loan]
Alex Howes Mauro Santambrogio
Jakob Rathe Shaquille Sinclair [Loan]
Mike Friedman Tareq Esmaeli
Loaned out [1 rider]:
Carter Jones

Chiquita - Universal
[CT] 4th


Team [19 riders]:
Yasmani Martinez Damion Drapac
Leandro Marcos Jay Major
Nick Kinney Darren Matthews
Chris Barton Kenny De Haes
Ethan Weiss Carlos Alexandre Manarelli
Jakob Rathe Edwin Avila
Mark Griffith Cayetano Sarmiento
Diego Milan Tareq Esmaeli
Jhonnatan De Leon Gracjan Lejman
Nervin Jiatz [Loan]
Loaned out [2 riders]:
Bjorn Selander Chad Haga

[PCT] 20th


Team [25 riders]:
Rigoberto Úran Chad Haga
Carlos Betancourt Bjorn Selander
Jarlinson Pantano Gómez Nick Kinney
Edwin Avila Chris Barton
Cayetano Sarmiento Ethan Weiss
Yasmani Martinez Jay Major
Leandro Marcos Niels Albert
Diego Milan Kenny De Haes
Fabrice Jeandesbosz Oliver Naesen
Shaquille Sinclair Carlos Alexandre Manarelli
Salah Eddine Mraouni [Loan] Tareq Esmaeli
Goodnews Clifford Ahmed Albourdainy
Damion Drapac

[PCT] 13th

To be added

Edited by Marcovdw on 18-09-2019 21:25
Manager of Minions

Niels Albert334.10074,29€ 75.000
Edwin Avila304.10073,50€ 50.000
Chris Barton314.10072,61€ 50.000
Fulgencio Bru284.10073,63€ 50.000
Dimitri Claeys324.10077,98€ 460.000
Damion Drapac314.10074,29€ 75.000
Tareq Esmaeli324.10070,70€ 50.000
Andzs Flaksis314.10072,49€ 50.000
Chad Haga314.10074,42€ 70.000
Alvaro Hodeg233.2469,99€ 50.000
Borislav Ivanov304.10073,68€ 50.000
Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg304.10074,62€ 75.000
Metkel Kiflay284.10072,90€ 60.000
Bert-Jan Lindeman304.10074,22€ 75.000
Jay Major244.8372,49€ 55.000
Leandro Marcos284.10073,24€ 50.000
Yasmani Martinez324.10075,09€ 95.000
Laureano Rosas294.10072,06€ 50.000
Bjorn Selander314.10074,31€ 70.000
Rigoberto Uran324.10078,99€ 600.000
Maxime Vantomme334.10075,76€ 150.000
Ruben Zepuntke264.10076,92€ 190.000


Edited by Marcovdw on 02-10-2019 21:14
Manager of Minions

Clasico San CristobalC210
Tour Down UnderC114-19
Tour of East JavaPTHC28-29
Clasique Pico BasileC131
/Copenhagen-Malmo TTTPT3
//Tour of the Middle EastHC5-8
Omloop Het NieuwsbladPTHC6
Gent - WevelgemC18
Ras TailteannC110-12
Classique du Grand-DuchéPT15
Volta a CatalunyaC118-23
Tour of SouthlandC124-28
Barbados Cycling FestivalPTHC1-4
KBC De Panne TourC12-5
Le SamynC110
Vuelta a ColombiaHC11-16
Kuurne - Bruxelles - KuurneHC30
Tour of CaliforniaHC1-7
Tour de PolognePTHC9-15
Tour of UkraineHC13-15
GP LiechtensteinPT17
GP WallonieC127
Corsica InternationalC128-30
Veenendaal - VeenendaalHC29
Cheshire Cycling TourHC1-5
1 Jour de DunkerqueC27
Chrono d'ArenbergC19
Berlin ProRaceHC16
Tour d'AndorraC119-23
Frankfurt EschbornC125
Tour of NorwayPTHC27-31
Malopolski WyscigC13
GP KigaliHC5
Post Danmark RundtHC10-14
Tour of South AfricaC118-23
Hanko ClassicC126
Colombo ClassicPTHC27
Monterrey TTTC130
Kenya Mountain ClassicHC20
Tour of BeijingHC26-29
Chrono des HerbiersPT29-30
Nakhon Ratchasima TrophyPTHC2
Macskako KerekparversenyC14
Clasica San SebastianHC7
Int. Osterreich RundfahrtHC7-13
//Baltic Chain TourC117-21
Tour of BritainC11-5
Deutschland TourPTHC20-24
Ronde van het IJsselmeerC224
Tour of the BattenkillPTHC27
Tour de MarocPTHC1-9
Giro dell'EmeliaHC3
SAA Tour d'AfriqueHC12-15
Japan CupHC18

Edited by Marcovdw on 09-08-2020 16:35
Manager of Minions

Edited by Marcovdw on 10-09-2020 21:44
Manager of Minions

The riders have just finished renewing their contracts. Most of them resigned for the same amount or even less, only two riders got minor wage increases. Overall we think we've got quite a bit of money now to invest in new riders

Renewed riders

RiderOld WageNew WageDifference
Niels Albert€ 100.000€ 75.000-€ 25.000
Edwin Avila€ 60.000€ 50.000-€ 10.000
Chris Barton€ 50.000€ 50.000€ 0
Fulgencio Bru€ 55.000€ 50.000-€ 5.000
Damion Drapac€ 95.000€ 75.000-€ 20.000
Tareq Esmaeli€ 50.000€ 50.000€ 0
Andzs Flaksis€ 55.000€ 50.000-€ 5.000
Chad Haga€ 70.000€ 70.000€ 0
Alvaro Hodeg€ 70.000€ 50.000-€ 20.000
Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg€ 100.000€ 75.000-€ 25.000
Bert-Jan Lindeman€ 125.000€ 75.000-€ 50.000
Jay Major€ 50.000€ 55.000+€ 5.000
Leandro Marcos€ 50.000€ 50.000€ 0
Yasmani Martinez€ 95.000€ 95.000€ 0
Laureano Rosas€ 50.000€ 50.000€ 0
Bjorn Selander€ 75.000€ 70.000-€ 5.000
Rigoberto Úran€ 600.000€ 600.000€ 0
Ruben Zepuntke€ 175.000€ 190.000+€ 15.000

Departing riders

Some riders did not enter the contract renewal procedure, and some refused our offer. The following riders will not be riding for us next season:

Kenny De Haes


The Belgian breakaway king will most likely retire, having spend three seasons on the team. In his first season he won the Geraardsbergen-Bosberg classic, and on the second season he won three times from a breakaway. His last season he spend most of his team assisting the youngsters on his new cobblestone squad. We wish him the best in wherever his career takes him!

Farzad Khodayari

The Iranian was signed last year for geopolitical reasons. He was a decent mountains/hills domestique but we realise we don't have to give in to governmental pressure.

Carlos Alexandre Manarelli


Instrumental in our promotion season, the Brazilian sprinter did not get his feet in when we moved up to PCT. Unlike Drapac, who managed to win a few races and score top tens, he never got close to winning again. As he's unwilling to act as lead-out, we've decided to let him go.

Cayetano Sarmiento

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2017/Races/PTHC/Portugal/TDPS9 26.jpg

The Colombian pure climber joined us in the 2016 season as well, and went on to win a stage in the Tour of the Middle East. In 2017 he won a stage in the Volta a Portugal. Last year however, he didn't win any stage and was often dropped too early to assist Úran in the high mountains.

Nico Schinker

Part of our sprint train which most of the time didn't materialise. He was our best finisher in the horrible Danmark Rundt but other than that he's a rider to forget, as he scored exactly zero points.

Shaquille Sinclair

In his second stint at our team (having previously raced for us as loanee), he finally completed his development. Now it's time to spread his wings and let him fly.

Xavier "Carlos" Quevedo

Our annoyances with him have been well documented, but we realise it was overambitious to think of him as a lead puncheur. We offered him a new contract, with a slightly reduced wage. Not only did he turn it down, he demanded a raise! A raise after such a terrible season, what are you thinking? Obviously we threw him out of the building and took away his bananas. For all we know he's been living on the streets for a few weeks.

Edited by Marcovdw on 30-09-2019 10:59
Manager of Minions
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story about the Minions and look forward to sharing the road with you in the PCT this season.

Just don't throw any banana peels on the road Pfft


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogačar
Via his management company Xavier 'Carlos' Quevedo has expressed relief at having escaped from the season of hell spent with the Minions.

"Jeez, these guys can't even get my name right after all this time WTF!

I knew the writing was on the wall even after the first few months of the season; I like bananas as much as the next man, but not enough for these folks. I made the mistake of asking the soigneur for an apple or orange alongside the bunch of bananas in my musette one time at an early spring race, and none of the team staff spoke to me afterwards for weeks.

This team works for some, but make sure you're ready for bananas breakfast, lunch and dinner. As for me, finally I can have a steak for my tea!"

Manager of ISA - Hexacta in the MG
@redordead - Thanks, looking forward to race against you as well. We used to throw bananas as legit tactics but then MG banned crashing...
@Scorchio - Carlos is our nickname for an underperforming puncheur now! And he knew what he was signing up for, we're all about those BananaBananaBanana

Manager of Minions

None of the riders who we renewed decided to leave during the transfer season, and we signed four riders to take the total of riders up to 22. We'll present our new acquisitions below.

Dimitri Claeys


We made it no secret we were looking for a new puncheur, for the third year in a row. While we had other targets, we ended up signing the 32-year old Belgian Dmitri Claeys. We signed him for a fee of 750000 bananas to the owl from hell currently running the Duolingo team, and he takes a wage of 460000 bananas. He's definitely the best puncheur we ever signed and we hope he can make us forget about the losers who came before him.

Maxime Vantomme


Another experianced Belgian, our new lead sprinter Maxime Vantomme. Last year he relegated with the Netia team, but he wasn't to blame. Though his stats have declined a bit, we believe he has what it takes to lead our team to the top of the tables. He takes a wage of 150000 bananas.

Borislav Ivanov


The white/pink guy in the picturre managed to promote with Podium Ambition last season but was traded off to Festina for some young blood. Festina pretty quickly changed his mind and wanted to sell him, and that's where we took the shot for 250000 bananas. Borislav Ivanov is a Bulgarian climber who fills the gap as helper in the mountains department. Other than that we can expect him in breakaways, he's being paid 50000 bananas to do so.

Mektel Kiflay


Lastly, Metkel Kiflay is a time trialist from Eritrea. He is the national champion and won a TT in the Tour of America last season. He signs for 60000 bananas from free agency after his previous team folded. He'll be part of our TTT setup, but will get to ride wherever his services are required.

Manager of Minions

Welcome the the 2019 Minions Presentation Event. I hope you all enjoyed your bananas, but it's time for the main headline of this evening. We will present to you, exclusively, the Minions squad which will dominate the 2019 Pro Continental Tour!




Not many changes in this department. Uran still the team leader and probably our highest scoring rider of the season. We wanted to sign a good lieutenant for him but all options quickly went beyond our reach, hence we stick with largely the same support as last season. Martinez his main helper, Ivanov replacing Sarmiento and both Haga and Barton there to help in stage races.



The main area of work this season. Quevedo turned down a contract renewal and was not picked up again by us. Claeys was brought in to be our third and hopefully final attempt at securing a lead puncheur. His support consists of Bru, returning from loan, and Selander. Not much, but hopefully enough. The likes of Ivanov and Marcos jump in whenever they're not racing elsewhere.

Time trials


Uran is the strongest time trialist on paper but will hardly ride any given his necessary presence in mountain races. Janse van Rensburg will get his individual chances again, but our main priority has become TTT's. We were vunerable there in the past, but last year we scored a second place in Vancouver. However, our effort in Monterrey only resulted in a mid-table finish, so we brought in Kiflay to be part of the squad beside Haga, Barton and Rosas. A very dangerous squad.



Zepuntke leads and has spend a lot of time training his acceleration. Albert is our experienced second-in-command, and Lindeman, Flaskis and Marcos all stayed on board. Compared to last season we have two specialists less, but they were at the lower end of the list so we don't expect to have lost quality here.



Drapac's performances were reasonable, but there was room for improvement. The Australian now has competition in Vantomme, who will be our leader in the main events with Drapac acting as lead-out with some opportunities for himself as well. Avila will still be a valuable asset in the train, while Major and Hodeg are talents with a lot of potential.



What would this team be without the banana loving, everyone's favorite cyclist from not just Qatar but the entire world, the team owner's son and the Greatest Of All Time: Tareq Esmaeli.

Manager of Minions
Wow, that is a stacked roster. 81+ leaders on all main terrains, with solid depth. Promotion candidates for sure.
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
Well, of course having 81+ in main stats is very nice but I'm obviously a bit worried about the secondary stats. Hopefully PCM 18 treats them well.
Manager of Minions

Main jersey


Argentinian NC worn by Rosas (TT)


Bahamian NC worn by Major (RR/TT)


Colombian NC worn by Uran (RR/TT)


Cuban NC worn by Martinez (TT)


Eritrean NC worn by Kiflay (TT)


Qatari NC worn by Esmaeli (RR/TT)


South African NC worn by Janse van Rensburg (TT)


Manager of Minions
Nice, simple Banana jerseys. Will we see all of them in one single TTT? 1 "normal" Minion, 7 TT NCs Pfft
Major and Esmaeli may be TT champion but that's more for a lack of competition instead of quality Pfft
Manager of Minions

Over the past few years, our goals were usually spread out over the terrains. This year, we're betting on Uran for the most part, as he's been our best rider over the past years. Even though we now have great leaders on all terrains, we had to submit these goals before transfer season, hence focussing on those we knew we would have in our team.

Tour of the Middle East - Win


Our home race, accompanied by our obligatory win goal. Uran fell short last season and is out for revenge.

Omloop het Nieuwsblad - Top 10


We were forced to take a PTHC goal and with many mountain races not really to our liking or in horrible bands, we went for a cobblestone goal instead. Zepuntke has the quality to achieve a top ten.

Vuelta a Colombia - Top 5


Uran's home race is also worth a goal, finishing in the top five. Last season he finished on the podium and we see no reason why he shouldn't do that again this season.

Int. Osterreich Rundfahrt - Top 5


A stage win and an astonishing second place. This year, all Uran has to do is finish in the top five. Or any other rider on the team, of course, but most likely Uran.

PCT Team Standings - Top 10

And the traditional "finish top ten in the division" goal. Last year we fell just short, but the third time in CT we achieved promotion, and the early predictions have us well inside the top, so not achieving this one will be considered an enormous failure.

Manager of Minions

Clasico San Cristobal

Cuba | C2 | Classic | Hill | January 10


Niels Albert
Fulgencio Bru
Tareq Esmaeli
Andzs Flaksis
Borislav Ivanov
Metkel Kiflay
Leandro Marcos
Bjorn Selander

Tour Down Under

Australia | C1 | 6 stages | Hill / Flat | January 14 - 19


Edwin Avila
Fulgencio Bru
Damion Drapac
Bert-Jan Lindeman
Jay Major
Bjorn Selander
Maxime Vantomme
Ruben Zepuntke

Tour of East Java

Indonesia | PTHC | 2 stages | Mountain / Flat | January 28 - 29


Chris Barton
Damion Drapac
Tareq Esmaeli
Chad Haga
Alvaro Hodeg
Borislav Ivanov
Yasmani Martinez
Rigoberto Uran

Clasique Pico Basile

Equatorial Guinea | C1 | Classic | Mountain | January 31


Chris Barton
Tareq Esmaeli
Andzs Flaksis
Chad Haga
Borislav Ivanov
Metkel Kiflay
Yasmani Martinez
Rigoberto Uran

Manager of Minions

Cuba | C2 | Classic | Hill | January 10


Niels Albert
Fulgencio Bru
Tareq Esmaeli
Andzs Flaksis
Borislav Ivanov
Metkel Kiflay
Leandro Marcos
Bjorn Selander

Official preview
Official report

Our season opener is almost a tradition by now, Clasico San Cristobal in Cuba. We battle against the new teams in the Continental Tour, which grows stronger every year. Due to restrictions imposed by the MGUCI, we can't send our strongest rider so newly maxed-out Bru will get a chance to lead on his team debut in his home race. Other debutants are Ivanov and Kiflay.

Bru wasn't feeling too well, and it turned out he couldn't handle the longer climbs too well. He would finish the race but outside the top 100. The top riders in the race are on another level compared to our domestiques, who could play leader for one day.

Our best finisher is Ivanov in 27th place, ahead of Selander in 43th. Unfortunately, no points for these positions, so we leave our first race with empty hands. Not even a picture of one of our riders.

1Johan Esteban ChavesAzteca - NBCSN5h25'50
2Evaldas SiskeviciusDK Zalgiriss.t.
3Rui CostaEuskaltel - Eliors.t.
27Borislav IvanovMinions+ 2'30
43Bjorn SelanderMinions+ 3'00
94Tareq EsmaeliMinions+ 5'30
118Metkel KiflayMinions+ 8'00
148Fulgencio BruMinions+ 14'34
149Niels AlbertMinionss.t.
154Leandro MarcosMinionss.t.

Let's call is a false start.

Manager of Minions

Australia | C1 | 6 stages | Hill / Flat | January 14 - 19


Edwin Avila
Fulgencio Bru
Damion Drapac
Bert-Jan Lindeman
Jay Major
Bjorn Selander
Maxime Vantomme
Ruben Zepuntke

Official preview
Official reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Six stages Down Under with a mix of flat and slightly hilly stages. Vantomme makes his debut as lead sprinter, while we didn't feel like bringing our best puncheurs due to limit chances and erratic bonus seconds, thus Bru gets another shot.

We got it right that the puncheurs wouldn't be battling for the GC. Holloway, one of our sprinter targets in the transfer season, won the race due to bonus seconds. The top twenty was a nice mix of sprinters and puncheurs, but not one of ours. Bru and Selander finished 59th and 60th after losing time on stage three. It was Lindeman who gave us our only breakaway appearance of the race on that stage.


Vantomme got off to a mediocre start of the race, finishing outside the top twenty. He did better on the second stage, finishing tenth and picking up one bonus second. An eleventh place on stage four was followed up by another tenth place on the sixth and final stage, which is where he was to be expected given the strength of the field. For a while it looked like he could battle for the win on that stage but he was overpowered in the final hundred meters. The hilly stages meant he fell down the order in the GC.


1Dan HollowayMcCormick Pro Cycling19h41'26
2Bruno BorgesDuolingo+ 5
3Cyril GautierValio - Viking Genetics+ 8
59Fulgencio BruMinions+ 3'52
60Bjorn SelanderMinionss.t.
90Maxime VantommeMinions+ 4'56
132Edwin AvilaMinions+ 8'19
142Jay MajorMinions+ 9'44
159Ruben ZepuntkeMinions+ 12'32
168Damion DrapacMinions+ 13'46
173Bert-Jan LindemanMinions+ 19'57

Pointless so far but not bananaless.

Manager of Minions
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