With the field of the Ronde only hours away from rolling out, get into the spirit of the Classics by selecting your own dream team in the 2006 Cyclingnews Spring Classics Fantasy Game.
Appropriately, the winner of this year's Spring Classics Fantasy Game game will win a Specialized Roubaix Pro Bike, equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace 10-speed groupset and an FSA all-carbon compact crankset, worth US$4400. Plus, the top player also wins a team-issue Specialized Decibel helmet and a pair of Specialized optics for a total prize value of US$4710 (that's probably the same money as 20th place in the actual race - and you don't have to grovel up the bergs.)
The Roubaix has become one of Specialized's most popular road bikes, with its combination of light weight and supple ride. It's based on the 'FACT 7r' carbon frame with compact race geometry and Zertz vibration damping seatstay inserts, matched to a carbon fork (also with Zertz inserts). It has an S-Works FACT carbon stem with magnesium face plate, and carbon aero handlebar with Shimano Dura-Ace 20-speed group.
The Roubaix Pro also features the FSA K-Force MegaExo two-piece carbon crankset with compact 50x36T chainrings, plus a Dura-Ace wheelset and Specialized 'Body Geometry' Avatar saddle with titanium rails.
And the most important part - more prizes!
In addition to the Roubaix Pro bike-Decibel helmet-plus-optics from Specialized, there is an array of some of the finest cycling products on offer to players in the 2006 Spring Classics Fantasy Game.
From HED comes a pair of beautiful Bastogne wheels worth over US$600, as well as helmets from Giro, saddles from fi'zi:k, pedals from Speedplay, tyres from Maxxis, Pro Cool mesh sleeveless base-layers from Craft, and for each race, there is a pair of Smith Reactor Max-Team CSC Edition glasses for scoring the highest in each of the seven Spring Classics.
You can win prizes for each of the individual races and for competing in all seven races. Remember you don't need to enter all seven races to win prizes. Have a look at the tactics and prizes of last year's winners.
'Via Milano' takes first win
The first prize winner of the Spring Classics is manager "VeloEspresso" with his team "Via Milano". He wins the pair of Smith Reactor Max-Team CSC Edition glasses for scoring the highest in the first race of the seven Spring Classics. These are the limited edition Team CSC racing glass worn by the guys on the team. Manager "VeloEspresso" was narrowly beaten by our own manager, Jeff 'Doctor Maboose' Jones, with team "Cyclingnews", but obviously we don't allow our own guys to win. Manager VeloEspresso "promises to give Jeff a run for his money in the Tour of Flanders"!
Once again you will have 4000 points per team to select your eight riders with. This year, in the light of the new UCI ProTour points system, we have had to make some changes. We have taken the final 2005 rider rankings from the UCI ProTour and have multiplied them by ten. Riders that did not score UCI ProTour points have been awarded nominal points (lower than those of the scoring UCI ProTour riders). We appreciate this might not best reflect some of the skills of the non scoring UCI ProTour riders in the coming races but we hope that this will set us up better for the future as the scoring system becomes more accepted. We have also limited the number of teams people can enter in this year's Spring Classics game to five per manager. We've done this to ensure the competition is open to all, spreading the prizes to an even wider range of players.
How to play
Yes, you too can be a professional team manager. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with fantasy managers from around the world. All you need to do to take part in the latest of the Fantasy Games at Cyclingnews is register and, once the provisional race list has been announced, select 8 riders for each of the following races:
Milan - San Remo: March 18
Ronde van Vlaanderen: April 2
Gent-Wevelgem: April 5
Paris - Roubaix: April 6
Amstel Gold Race: April 16
La Flèche Wallonne: April 19
Liège - Bastogne - Liège: April 23
Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. For more details on how to play go to the rules section for more info. To register your teams for the game go to http://fantasy.cyclingnews.com/
It's a great way to follow the Spring Classics.
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team