The PC game Pro Cycling Manager 2018 was launched right before the Tour de France. It’s a game where you can have a crack at all of the different cycling races. You can join an official team, create your own team, or you can start a career as a solo cyclist.
I (editor of The Prologue) have been playing the Pro Cycling Manager series since 2008 and not much in the game has changed. For example, if you choose to play with a full team, then you have to create training schedules, get strategic about the most important races to win, handle budget negotiations with new riders, and decide who will compete in which competition.
A lot of time in the game is spent waiting. Especially since most races are decided at the very end of the game. So if you don’t have a rider in the breakaway, you have to fast forward about 80 percent of the race. At certain times you have to make sure that you give water bottles to your riders or you may have to intervene when your GC contenders are involved in a crash, but besides that there’s a lot of skipping.
Fortunately, the end of each stage makes up for it. You need to place your sprinters strategically—it helps to choose the rear wheel of the top sprinters and pass them at the last moment. With mountain stages, it is primarily a matter of maintaining your strength for as long as possible and making sure that you don’t tire your climber out. If your rider has good legs that day, you can try to go on the attack at the end in order to win time on the competition.
The game is equipped with all the Grand Tours and Classics, but you also have the opportunity to ride smaller races. You do the latter especially when you are running a small team or choose to get started with your own solo rider.
Build your own career
You can also begin a virtual career that starts with riding for a small team. In my case, United Health Care. In the first year I had to mainly help the others. When I achieved all of my goals, I got some experience points at the end. If you have enough points, you will level up and improve your skills. Currently I am in my third year and I ride with Team Sunweb, where I won the youth jersey in races like the Tour de Romandie and Paris-Nice and finished top 10 in the general classification. Now I get to ride the Giro.
The game is entertaining, and as a connoisseur you will recognise many of the details. However, we must also say there are some faults: sometimes the game crashes and you lose all of the progress you’ve made during that stage race. In addition, it’s too bad many riders don’t use their real names in the game, which just seems strange. Besides these things, the game is great for many hours of fun!