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Hey-Ho, Let’s Go! It’s the 2020 FSA Directeur Sportif Competition!

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The world’s best fantasy cycling experience starts again... NOW

CYCLING-FRA-TDF2019-LINE Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP via Getty Images

It just feels so good to type this... THE FSA DIRECTEUR SPORTIF COMPETITION IS ON FOR 2020!

Huh? What in God’s name am I blathering about? Oh, just that the FSA Directeur Sportif is a season-long fantasy game where you pick a team of 25 actual pro riders by spending a budget of points to assemble your roster. You have to submit your team by Midnight (CET) February 29! [Which is the end of the day known as Friday, February 28, and is 3pm Frday in Seattle time.] After that, your team is entered and scores points based on the performance of your riders throughout the 2019 Cycling season. There are competitions based on both men’s and women’s professional cycling. It’s free and easy to enter either or both, and compete against your friends as well as our community of players from all around the world!

FSA VDS logo PLEASE USE THIS ONE!

Whoa... that February 29 deadline! This is a very auspicious year for the FSA DS. Not only is this our tenth season with FSA as the sponsor — and who among us in our high-tech world doesn’t love the number 10? — but it is the first time we have ever started our playing season on February 29. The odds of our opening race happening on a day that itself only occurs every four years is something like one-in-5000, if my math checks out. So enjoy this, because it will never happen again!

Oh, and a programming note: we decided to exclude the UAE Tour, in order to start on the 29th with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (and the Faun-Ardeche Classic). The UAE Tour is cool enough, but we would have to have closed the game for entries on February 22, and it didn’t seem worth doing that and maybe excluding some players just for that lone race. We will take it year-by-year as to how to make this decision, but let’s just say I got Ursula to agree to not putting a certain Belgian rider into the double-restricted zone in exchange for not having UAE in there. You’re welcome.

To start with the Men’s Competition GO HERE

To start with the Women’s Competition GO HERE

About our Beloved Sponsor Full Speed Ahead!

This marks our TENTH (!) season where I am proud to open this competition in conjunction with our most excellent sponsor, FSA. Known formally as Full Speed Ahead which under a few different brands manufacture and create a wide variety of components for all cycling disciplines. FSA is one of the few real leaders in cycling componentry. To wit:

  • FSA is the main line of world class Road and MTB components. They proudly welcomed the K-Force WE full electronic drivetrain to the lineup in 2018 and moved steadily up the ranks in 2019 with WE’s first World Tour victory on stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana, courtesy of BH Burgos rider Angel Madrazo.
  • Vision focuses mainly on road and triathlon with components engineered for aerodynamics and speed. My bike is covered in Vision parts, particularly the Metron wheels that have made more than a few Tour de France appearances and have been used in the professional ranks since 2013.

These guys know cycling from all angles. Based in Italy, Taiwan and Mukilteo, Washington, their reach stretches across the globe. How far? Enough so that some or all of their cockpit parts, cranks, wheels and/or drive train will be powering the bikes of EF Pro Cycling, Bahrain-McLaren, Jumbo-Visma, Novo-Nordisk, Burgos-BH, Cofidis and many more. They’ve won all over the world, on the road and in the dirt. This year’s FSA Directeur Sportif winners will receive a prize from the company, typically one or more of their top-line products or clothing.

CYCLING ITALY TRE VALLI VARESINE
Primoz Roglic on his FSA cockpit
Photo by YUZURU SUNADA/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

About the Game

The full set of rules are here, but I’ll highlight the biggies.

  • You cannot play without first registering at the Podium Cafe! That’s our one requirement. This helps assure that there is one team per person (nobody can have multiple teams), and to assure that you’re part of the community for whom we do all this stuff, free of charge. Are you lurking here? That’s cool, but you need to click on the Sign Up button in the upper right corner before you can play the game, and create an actual login. Once you have set up your login, which is very fast and also completely free, you can then start at the Game Site.
  • As you can see, the game site is a separate entity. Go there to make your team, come back here to chat about it.
  • Basic structure for the Men’s game: you have up to 150 points to spend and you must compile a roster of 25 riders. You can only have one rider who costs 24 points or more, and only a total of three at or over 18 points (including the guy who costs 24+). Until your team meets all of these requirements, any attempt to submit it will be rejected.
  • Basic structure for the Women’s game, which is quite different than the men’s game: 150 point budget to spend on 15 riders, and you can spend up to 100 points on riders valued at 20 points or higher. And yes, these are known as the Vos Rules. Another note on the women’s game is that some riders may not be on the list — we removed some names of people who haven’t scored in a while. But if you want someone who you don’t see listed, contact us ASAP and we will add them.
  • Having both a men’s team and a women’s team will also make you eligible for the Combined Rankings, another possible feather in your cap!
  • Team-building: you have nearly three weeks to mess around, swap riders in and out of your lineup, and so forth. Until you hit “submit” — and you will know when you have done so because a prompt will ask you if you’re sure — then your team is still open to changing. Some people go with their gut and submit today (like, before I can even finish this post). Others tinker right up to the deadline. Both are valid ways to make a team that loses to mine. But at some point you have to hit submit. Remember... if the team fits, you must hit submit.
  • Or just make a random team! That was a thing we created a couple years back. OK, Superted, our Game Designer and Chief Executioner, came up with. When you go to the page where you can start hiring riders, with “My Team 2019” at the top of the page, you will see a line under “Roster” which has a link to create a random team. You can play around with that all you want, and it won’t actually become your team unless and until you submit it. But try that before you start carefully building your team, if you don’t want your half-baked roster to disappear.
  • There are no in-season adjustments, no game-day decisions. Just submit your roster and follow them. This is pretty much how cycling works: everyone is riding a race somewhere for most of the season. There are no injury lists and no trades; you just ask the fittest person on your roster to try and win.
  • The DEADLINE is Saturday, February 29 at MIDNIGHT, Central European Time (CET). That’s 12:00am, or 00:00, in Western Europe. Which means it’s Friday, February 28 for everyone significantly west of Koksijde! Or I think maybe 11pm, February 28, in the UK. In the US, that’s also known as 6pm Eastern time, and 3pm Pacific. Teams submitted after that point will not be accepted.

If you have some sort of problem, please try the comments for a quick response or email me (fsadirecteursportif[at]gmail[dawt]com) and I’ll help you out as soon as I can. We also posted a Troubleshooters’ Guide three years ago which may be of some use. This stuff works pretty simply so the solution probably lies therein. We have the capability to “unsubmit” teams but consider that a late, if not last, resort. This is a very busy time of year, including my desire to cover races. But rest assured, we want to help everyone play if possible.

And by everyone, I mean once. The one-per-customer is the key to the game’s integrity. We ask that you all respect the letter and the spirit of this rule. We have some policing capability, and may be emailing you if there’s a possible issue, but that’s pretty rare. On the spirit side, I get that families play — my kids have had teams of their own. Just as I don’t do their homework, I don’t fill out their rosters. In that spirit, we are happy to have your whole family play!

And most of all, take advantage of the features that make it extra fun! Once you have submitted, you can create your own small group where your team page will track a list of other submitted teams you want to pit yourself again. I know at FSA they use this feature to track how all the people in the company playing the game are doing. As you can imagine, that makes for some very fun chatter. Be it family, company, friends or whatever, make your group! It can even be people who don’t know you or agree to it — only you can see your group. But ideally it’s something where you and others are all grouping together and each making that group. You can play around with this feature all season long.

Also, there are Draft Teams. For well nigh a decade the Editors have been running an Editors’ League (last won by Ursula, as he nailed his Pogacar and Higuita picks, outdistancing Majope for the title). The last few years I know a few others got together and made draft leagues. Basically, a draft league tosses out the rider point costs and budgets, and lets you select riders for your team, like various sports drafts, whereby that rider is only on your team and unavailable to your competition. The Game Site does NOT have this capability per se. You can use our rider list and our points scoring system in your game, but you have to figure out a way to actually set up the teams — Google Spreadsheets has some functionality there. Others of you may have ideas. And if you are anxious to do this but are stuck on how, contact us and we can help. But here too you aren’t under any deadline pressure unless you establish one.

Ready? Set?

GO!!