February is an important month for the cycling fan, with the end of the cylocross season, the start of the Classics… and the launch of all the Virtual Directeur Sportif games. I’ve written about my love for DS games before, so before I tell you about the 2017 versions of the Podium Café FSA DS game, and ChicaBike, this is why I love them so much:
If you’ve followed the sport for a long time, they’re the perfect opportunity to show off your skills. We’ve all been armchair tacticians, and have views on who’d be the best rider for which race, and this gives you a chance to prove it! Or not, and then sob all season as your favourite rider makes mistake after mistake…
But if you’re not already a die-hard women’s cycling fan, they’re a fantastic way to get to know the sport. You don’t have to have a team you can spend hours over – some people pick their FSA VDS team purely on nationality, all the Aussies, or all the Canadians, eg, and one team that did especially well one year was all riders whose names began with E (with Emma Johansson and Evie Stevens, that was fantastic!). There’s always a huge helping of luck involved, too. Years ago I played a Tour de France game, and as well as my own lovingly-picked team, ran a “Team Random” that was auto-generated by the site, and it was depressing how well that did – and the person who picked the “wrong Feillu” by accident ended up winning a TdF game stage!
DS Games are such an excellent way to get to know more about riders’ skills – even if you don’t know that much when you choose your team, you’ll definitely learn. And with so much live women’s racing being shown and streamed in 2017, you can cheer them on in real time. And most importantly… there will always, always be someone who does worse than you in the game, and hundreds of players, so you don’t need to worry about people laughing and pointing.
So, how do you play?