Professional cycling grand tours, which take place over 21 stages and three weeks, are weird beasts, traditional in many ways but at the same time always looking for innovation.
One of the traditions is that the first week is dedicated to sprinters, with long stages that allow for breakaways to form only to then see teams move to the front and setup a finish where the fast men of the peloton can have their fight.
Even in the real world some cycling fans consider pure sprinting stages to be somewhat boring, with the landscapes of France and solid commentary teams the only reasons to watch anything before the last half hour of the stage.
Unfortunately, this can translate into the virtual world of Pro Cycling Manager 2012, and many people tend to simulate stages like this one.
But, to me, controlling nine riders (or, in my situation just eight after Cancellara’s abandon), means there’s always something to do, from getting into a better position to just making sure that everyone has water bottles at the ready.
This means that many people are waiting for flat routes to give way to mountains, which will happen for the first time during Stage 7.
Until then we have to again see the familiar escape group of 4 riders (the game seems to have decided that this is the optimal breakaway number) get away, build up their gap until it reaches about 10 minutes only to then see the sprinter teams, once gain lead by the powerful Lampre, move in to make it disappear.
In the last 3 km it seemed like the American Tyler Farrar would be ready to win, but a late surge brought Mark Cavendish to the front, only to see his own chances eliminated by Thor Hushovd, who managed to take the stage after some good support from BMC.
Take a look at the final kilometers of the stage and my failure to create a good sprint train below: