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2021 Pro Tour Preview
Thanks a lot for all the comments lads. I appreciate it, and definately makes it more fun to actually do the job when you read and comment Smile

Next 5 is up:

Thanks for doing this, SotD! Great insight as always.

For my own team, I'm glad that you see us end up in the safe zone. Not really sure how the smaller division will play out, but in general I would say that we are weakened in the TT(T)s and that we will have to cope with Würtz having way fewer racedays this season. So unless we avoid Phinney a lot, we can't expect to have the same scoring as last season for him. That being said, I've a clear hope that we will make up for that on the cobbles. The schedule this season should be much more suited to Wisniowski than last season and hopefully Pedersen will get to play his own chances more than he did last year.

We lost some decent climbers, but also brought in some, so I guess we're about the level from last year. The positive thing is that the team should have more of those riders that can hang on decently and grab some "free" points, an area where we often have been quite weak.

Think you're quite right with the range of predictions so far, with possibly EA as the team I'm a bit unsure about. Should be interesting to see how Wirtgen will be planned.
Great preview so far and I'd say a pretty fair assessment of my team. After the stunningly bad renewals I had, surviving is all I could aim for so I think I tried to build a safe midtable team with all solid depth riders.

Looking through the team one major oversight though is the lack of a puncheur

Totally disagree here though, the lack of a puncheur was definitely not an oversight and it was actually carefully planned Pfft
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What can I say, except spot on!

I don't think I sent Van Poppel to any race that Grosu is also in. So it will be all about van der Kooij when it comes to lead outs.
Another 5 teams are up, just 5 more to go!

As I have some more time on my hands today I'll be happy to finally comment on your words, thanks a lot for taking the time to both read and comment. That means a lot!

Thanks a lot mate. I have decided to work a bit further into details this season. Hope it works better in the overall rating.

Hehe yeah, it was reserved - But didn't quite make it. I'm ready for your damnation.

Thanks a lot - Yup you are in serious trouble being similar to Evonik almost Grin

Sorry about that - the end is nigh though, so you'll be up soon Smile - Thanks for the kind words!

Thanks a lot. Nice to see others enjoy it - and cool to see PCT managers join the read aswell! Yeah that spot isn't too hard to guess I suppose Grin

Thanks for the comments mate. You can't run from a bulletproof rating! You have forgotten where you come from, with the signing of TT quality and GC leaders! Smile

Thanks for the in detail thoughts of your vs. my take - Those are great reads for me. It's always difficult with those 81-82 MO riders, as each an everyone could in fact end up scoring significantly better than the next. I hope De Bie will perform better now he's not the sole favorite. Might make him act a bit better in his attacks (if he does them). Personally I think you'll be safe, but the figures doesn't clear you entirely. Your management experience hasn't been included though, and we have seen in the past that good management is half the job.

Thanks for the comments Smile - It always intruiges me when I look at your team how you can make it work, but the riders individually are strong. It's just the MO and HI part that have always been my key areas of focus, so it leaves me wondering how others can completely ignore that at a relative top level. The team of yours ride super aggressively though and it's really fun to follow!

Thanks a lot Smile I can't see you being in imminent danger with this much quality. Hehe true oversight might not be the propoer word in this case indeed Smile

Thanks - Means a lot Smile Interesting to see that Grosu won't be needing the help from van Poppel. I guess we have a very similar sprint train setup for Grosu and Coquard then. It will be very interestin to see if the new game version will change anything significantly.

Nice writing, SotD!

Isostar definitely start the season as the #1 favourite for the title, at least in my eyes. Their leaders have proven themselves previous seasons, and their depth and Per should also score well for sushi riders.

Also agree on Mapei. They had a great transfer window, at least for this first comeback PT season. Though, at the same time they’ll be forced to rebuild again with their leaders declining/being close to declining the following years.

The final 5 teams have been updated. Sorry for the hold up I meant to do it saturday, but got annoyed with finding jerseys as you might read out of the last preview Pfft

Later today or tomorrow the final prediction and mathematical ranks are posted too.

Skeptical of this predictor's creditability... wrong team jersey and spells the manager's name wrong :lol: I hope this means we won't even get close to relegating. Pfft

Final part of the preview is the rankings. Feel free to comment Smile

Thanks mate Smile Yup, there's no two ways about it. Isostar is the clear favorite. Mapei indeed need a lot of rebuild next season, but some of the riders still have a clear value, so selling/trading could become fairly easy for them I think.

Ouch. Sorry about that one Pfft

Interesting approach to include training expenses into the rankings. Don't think i really agree with it because e.g. the Gaviria training should have a much higher added expectedPoints than the Herklotz training and the effect of any training should already be visible in the weighted OVR. However, since it aligns nicely with the subjective ranking this year, the effect of it should be neglectable.

The final prediction looks very good. Thanks for a great read!
A Big Thank You To All MG Reporters!

I would argue we spent our money this off-season making the roster worse, not better, by shipping off Pidcock, but whatever :lol:

Really great read SotD, thanks a lot for writing it - sure it'll be one I return to during the season. As I said to you thanks for being nice and trying to find positives in our set-up - I know it would have been easy to roast our weaknesses. And for the nice line about Schomber I will forever be grateful.

The really harsh bit was pointing out Farfetch has a lower average age than us Sad But I like to count the loan-outs and make it 25.7 so maybe I can call it a win that way Pfft
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.”
8/12/13 - welker3257 said [when asked for a cyclist beginning with K] "Tom Boonen."

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

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
Very cool preview. I disagree with quite a lot of your assessments, but I didn't look into teams that much so far. Glad you put out this great piece of work.
I know money isn't 1:1 the best indicator, but I thought it was a way to give a bonus for especially top end performer, which imo isn't represented very well in the OVL vs. point scales. Could have been done in other and more thourough formulas for sure, but didn't want to invest that much time into a paradigm, so this was mainly to give the rankings meaning, rather than just having them for the sake of nothing. Herklotz is a special case, as I fully agree that he won't score a higher amount of points due to +2HI, while MAL and Gaviria surely will. I must admit I tweaked a bit here and there to make the formula make sense. I think it did in the end, although it isn't accurate.

Thanks Smile - Yeah your money spending isn't really calculated as a bonus though Pfft - You have to keep your youngsters if you want to compete hehe - I also have a lot of youth away on loan out.

Thanks a lot. That's fair, it isn't all that accurate anyway. I thought it would be more fun to mix it up, anyone can calculate the OVL and just make a qualified estimate out of that Smile

You know I've always loved your analytical approach to the game SotD, and you delivered here once again! Smile Thanks a lot for spending the time on this.

Even with the new approach, I think your final ranking could again be very close to reality. At least I don't see a glaring difference to my expectations at first sight.

I thought that with our history of steady sponsoring, it would've gone without saying that we retain our jersey from last season, so feel free to paste that into the preview. I just wanted the main focus to be on the WC jersey this year.

I absolutely agree with you and everyone else that the Herklotz training is simply a comfort move and should at best just consolidate the wins he already gets, but I still think that's the best way to spend the money long-term if his wage doesn't increase even more.

Demare sadly won't stay in the team quite as long as Herklotz, and everyone below them is either not training eligible or has hit a sweet spot regarding their points/wage-ratio, with a cap bottleneck coming up soon that could shake up the team quite severely if I'm not planning carefully.

With that being addressed once again, I'd like to focus on the personally most relevant part of any of these previews: the average age statistic, where I'm always very proud to feature in the top echelon. Smile
Thanks for the kind words in that regard! Besides the nationality thing lately, it's indeed my main goal to focus on talent fostering within a solid PT roster that gives me the freedom to pursue intriguing youngsters.

I'll get around to posting my goals later, but I can again honestly state that another podium spot would be a surprise as that isn't my main team building objective anymore, but I can see why we're still a favorite for one of them and would certainly enjoy the budget that comes with it. Pfft

At the top, I very much welcome the addition of King Power as a main contender as their rise has been great to follow, and I do agree that several teams seem to have opted against attempting to make the final jump to that category, or simply didn't have a feasible way of improving their roster to that point at the moment.

Nevertheless, we've seen from teams like Gazelle and Generali how powerful depth and planning can be, and I'm excited to find out which teams get blessed with (deserved) good luck at various points in the season.
Although certainly neither Isostar nor Evonik will need such an amount of luck to feature at the very top once again, and both teams deserve to be where they are.

At the bottom of the division, with less relegation spots and Xero's decision to focus on the future which I very much admire and will defend with my life, I agree that it'll be tight for Aegon and Tinkoff again, although I wouldn't hold that against their managers as both have a clear strategy behind their decisions and/or just got unlucky with how the game has unfolded in general these past seasons.
Particularly de Bie should love the weaker opposition this year though.

And as always, I'm intrigued to see the new teams perform on the biggest stage.
Mapei really has made quite the move, and it indeed does remain to be seen if Zwift's choice to rely on two low-hill stage racers will have been a good one.
Demare certainly would've preferred Eastman training! Wink

I was expecting MOL to go ham for Valter, but opting for survival is a fair choice, although they do need Theuns to make use of his sprint stat and Lo Cicero is a gamble.
And finally, I do agree Farfetch could play a solid midfield role, and I'd love to have jph around long-term.
Ulrich Ulriksen
Thanks for the preview, while I don't have an opinion or stake in the PT, I will probably do a fair amount of reporting, so I love this preview as an education.

One thing I do have a opinion on is sprinting and I had noticed Scorchio's focus on multiple sprinters. I wonder how much that contributed to his over-performance in 2020, as he invested in sprinters while most of the PT was moving away from them in reaction to the PCM18 chaotic sprints. The Vuelta sprint field was barely of CT quality.

For selfish reasons I was hoping the PT would reinvest in sprinters this season but instead the trend has continued resulting in an even deeper CT field (fewer teams has offset the impact of fewer total sprinters). Data below.

There was some comment on the failure of CT managers to pick up a rider like Kupfernagel in the CT draft. I think the same comment could be made about the failure of PT managers to sign him for 50k. From a pure pts perspective it seems like he ought to have more upside than a lot of other 50k riders by just leveraging his race days to have a sprinter in every race and hope to hit the jackpot. Although I have not thought about how this plays into PT point scale.

Number of 79+ Sprinters per Team

20192020202119 to 21
CT 1.00 1.15 1.47 47%
PCT 1.96 1.84 1.69 -14%
PT 1.64 1.41 1.30 -21%
Total 1.62 1.54 1.56 -4%

Number of 77+ Sprinters per Team

20192020202119 to 21
CT 2.12 2.70 3.00 42%
PCT 3.08 2.72 2.38 -23%
PT 2.55 2.36 2.20 -14%
Total 2.80 2.99 3.15 12%

Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
@SotD Sorry for highjacking the thread a bit with this but i thought this was a very interesting topic where i wanted to comment on.

Ulrich Ulriksen wrote:
There was some comment on the failure of CT managers to pick up a rider like Kupfernagel in the CT draft. I think the same comment could be made about the failure of PT managers to sign him for 50k. From a pure pts perspective it seems like he ought to have more upside than a lot of other 50k riders by just leveraging his race days to have a sprinter in every race and hope to hit the jackpot. Although I have not thought about how this plays into PT point scale.

I am a manager that likes to have multiple sprinters in the squad for exactly that reason and worked the entire FA window to sign a 2nd sprinter like Holloway, Boivin or Hofstetter. But as you mentioned: The PT point scale. In the PT it becomes very valuable to avoid DNFs due to every finisher getting points. Finishing a stage race or classic is about as valuable as a 5th place on a stage depending on the category.

Someone like Kupfernagel is not good enough to compete with the absolute world class in sprint races so would likely have to be planned to the races that are unattractive for better sprinters which with the PT schedule is usually mountainous stage races (plus races like Tasmania, Paris-Nice or ToNE) and all of those still attract some far superior sprinters too.

With 52mo, 64res he is a huge liability to get finishing points. Example: The T-A route this season has two sprint opportunities and two tough mountain summit finishes where he could likely drop out. The route is quite similar to Paris-Nice last season where 6 80+ sprinter turned up including top sprinters like Coquard and Groenewegen as well as 8x 78-79 of which every single one has far better backup stats than Kupfernagel so the odds of scoring big is not that much. Meanwhile other unpicked FAs like Lorenzo Delco (71FL, 71Mo, 72HI, 69TT, 66CB), Henrique Avancini (all stats between 69 and 71) or any of the 74-75mo riders with decent backups will be almost guaranteed finish every single race and can easily pick up sth like 50-100 points throughout the season that way depending on their number of races. He also has the potential to throw in the random bigger score from breaks, KoMs, finishing top 100 or higher and possibly U25 classification which Kupfernagel almost guareented won't. Add the chance that the other FA option could also improve the scoring of your leader via better chasing, being a stronger rider in TTTs etc. So for many teams it does make more sense to invest in other options.


I'm assuming a bit that all riders will have to use the big majority of their race days as they usually have for me when i'm planning with 20-22 riders. If you have already 24 other riders, the whole calculation changes as this new rider might not have to fill up the lineup in races like Roubaix, Copenhagen TTT or Liechtenstein (depending on where you are weak) and can simply race the 30-45 RDs where it makes the most sense.

If i were looking for an unpicked FA sprinter for my PT team i would almost surely rate someone like Boev (63mo, 68cb) far far higher than Kupfernagel due to the ability to collect finish points. I'm guessing riders like Raymond Kreder (71hi, 65mo, 66cb, 76sp), Marc Sarreau (70cb, 60mo, 76sp) or Oka (77prl, 72prl, 65mo, 75sp) will also be higher on the list of many PT managers due to being able to contribute (or at the very least finish) on other terrains. That is less important in PCT and CT where there is basically no difference between finishing 31st and DNFing outside of providing better support so Kupfernagel might make far more sense for a CT or PCT team (depending on the specific team setup, planned race selection etc)
A Big Thank You To All MG Reporters!

Ulrich Ulriksen
Edited by Ulrich Ulriksen on 14-10-2021 02:52
Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
Ulrich Ulriksen
Ditto on hijacking the thread but since we are talking about what makes a PT team successful I guess we are vaguely on topic and wanted to respond.

Take your point on the points scale and I knew that was a factor but wasn't sure to what degree. It is a little perverse that just finishing a stage race is more valuable than finishing 5th on the stage, as I am pretty sure none of us would vote that way in real life terms, but recognize many things go into the point scale.

I just used Kuperfnagel as an example as the best undrafted pure sprinter, agree there might be many more suitable sprinters in the draft or available as a late signing. I took Tivani in the draft he is 63/66 mt/hi with high res, pretty sure he won't DNF many races but could maybe snatch a surprise or two with 77/78 sp. While also being a useful domestique.

I do wonder if the risk of DNF is over played in the newer versions - I am not sure any riders DNFd any of the short PT stage races I reported last year.

I don't think the point scale has changed since 2019 and yet PT teams are 20% less invested in sprinters. I assume that is because the perception of values of lead outs has changed (appropriately), I just wonder if PT teams have strayed too far in the other direction.

Obviously I have am not unbiased, the more higher level teams either or wrongly or rightly ignore sprinters the more they filter down to CT and you end up with total clutter at the low levels and the weird situation my table shows where the CT teams have more sprint depth than the PT teams.
Edited by Ulrich Ulriksen on 14-10-2021 03:05
Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
Great reading Sotd. Always love to read your assasments of the season. Will be quite happy if you are right about my team, lack of time meant I went into transfers with no plans at all and just winged the entire thing. A top 10 would be awesome Grin
Thanks for the comments guys - and feel very free to take these talks inhere Smile - I enjoy them every bit as much as you do.

I agree with knockout here in terms of which sprinters make sense at PT level. No doubt that a rider like Kupfernagel COULD be a good investment though, if you get lucky with a combination of planning and his daily form.

What you also get by having 79-80 SPR riders in races with hardly any competition is the risk of your team working for that sprinter and thus not participating in breakaways. So IMO the combination of DNF and risk of having to work for a sprinter that isn't likely to perform (Eg. Nizzolo for us last season) isn't necessarily the best option in the long run.

I have had these secondary sprinters numerous times, and with mixed succes. No doubt that you from time to time can have a good rider from it. Bouglas did reasonably well last year while Nizzolo as the better sprinter didn't. Bouglas had very limited freedom to sprint for himself, while Nizzolo almost had the entire season. Even when he was (on paper) among the top 5 sprinters he hardly scored any points, while Bouglas was never a top 5 contender, but scored atleast similar to Nizzolo in sprints - and then also collected some finishing points Nizzolo didn't.

Like you mention, Ulrich, DNF's isn't nearly as much of an issue now than it used to be. There was always 10% or so that didn't finish GC races before we switched to PCM15, now it feels like 5-7% isn't finishing GT's and maybe 2-3% isn't finishing difficult GC races. So the risk is definately smaller in that regard.

The risk of not being able to play out a certain scenario with a small time sprinter though is significant. Maybe not with the 77-78 SPR riders, but once you hit the 79-80SPR stat it's very likely that you won't send riders into the break if only 3 other sprinters are in that region or better. And that isn't ideal in a GC race.

Like knockout I tend to pick either leadout types, or sprinters that can also TT, COB or HI to make them useful in multiple terrains. If I can't find that I would rather skip them altogether and focus on a breakaway rider or maybe to fill out a TTT gap.

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