The Prologue is one of the weirdest traditions when it comes to stage-based cycling tours and it also tends to create some of the weirdest results when it is translated into a virtual environment like Pro Cycling Manager 2012.
This year Le Tour de France starts in Belgium, the prologue is set in the Liege region and I have finally decided that I will lead Radioshack Nissan Trek (without Andy Schleck) in a quest for stage wins and a good overall placing for brother Frank.
It is just 6.4 km long (a prologue can never be longer than 8 km, otherwise it becomes a normal time trial stage) and there’s hardly any climbing (the highest spot on the course is at 69 meters).
Yet, there are enough corners and straights to allow the specialists to put some time into their competitors and create a general classification that will shape the coming week in many ways.
Prologues are simulated in PCM 2012 via a special stat for every rider and that’s one of the features of the series that I always found somewhat peculiar.
In the real world prologue, specialists do not actually exist and that makes Cyanide’s choice to include a special statistic odd.
If the prologue is on the short side, usually until the 4 km mark, then the sprinters, especially those who can perform well on cobblestones (which tend to show superior endurance) are often favorites.
If it’s a little long, then the race is usually won by a rider who has a good combination of actual sprint and long time trial abilities (the period of the year, the altitude, the form on the day and the team orders are also important factors).
In my simulated prologue, the win has gone to Lars Boom of Radobank, with my own Fabian Cancellara getting second place.
At the exact moment I am publishing this article, I cannot tell you who won the real-world prologue of Le Tour de France, but I will rectify this omission in tomorrow’s Pro Cycling Manager 2012 Gamer Diary.
My prediction for the next real-world stage: Philippe Gilbert.