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Tour De Jeux: Learning from cycling strategy games

Tour De Jeux: Learning from cycling strategy games

Alongside the Tour De France, I’m riding my own Tour De Jeux , a celebration of cycling in games and in life. Saddle up and…

Saturday, Jul 16

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Alongside the Tour De France, I’m riding my own Tour De Jeux , a celebration of cycling in games and in life. Saddle up and join me! As much as I enjoy watching the Tour De France, I have a weak grasp of professional cycling’s strategic level. While individual riders get the fame, it is a team sport with complex tactics and strategies across each stage and the overall race—which sometimes leave me flummoxed. So to help me better understand, I’ve been playing two strat-o-management games: the flashy Pro Cycling Manager 2022 (from the makers of the official Tour De France game ) and the board game-esque indie game The Cyclist: Tactics .

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I know the broad basics, I think. Most cyclists in the Tour De France are not riding for personal victory, with only a few on each team seriously competing in the various sub-competitions. Their teammates run support: trying to control the pace of the race; helping or hindering breakaways; mounting attacks; fetching and delivering water bottles; and straight-up doing the hard work. Air resistance is killer in this endurance sport, so support riders take the lead and cut through the wind, letting stars draft behind them and save energy for key moments. And that’s just on one day. Each rider is a resource to be strategically deployed for the good of the team, their energy consumed intentionally and carefully across individual stages, the weeks-long tour, and the wider competitive cycling season.

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