Manager – What’s it all about?

Welcome to the sad world of Harry Eyre Du Peloton – Directeur Sportif, Introvert, Dickhead.

Have you read Brian Phillips’ Pro Vercelli series on Run of Play? If you have, and if you enjoyed it, KONM’s Manager series might just be for you.

Football Manager stories and associated ephemera are ten-a-penny – albeit rarely to the level of Phillips’ magnum opus – but their Pro Cycling Manager equivalents are yet to reach the same industrial scale in terms of output. And from what I can see based on a (probably too brief) googling session, there’s yet to be a serious attempt at a Vercelli-style epic (possibly with good reason).

That said, KONM makes no claim to being the first to go down this road. Over at PCM Daily, for example, you’ll find a thriving story scene.

All of which goes to suggest that what I have in mind here is neither original nor unique and will, quite possibly, turn out to be deeply monotonous for all involved. But, well, what’s the harm in trying? The worst that can happen is catastrophic failure.

So, where do we start?

First things first, we need a protagonist.

Hence, Harry Eyre Du Peloton*, hereafter HEDP, a freelance directeur sportif who has spent years in search of a role with a World Tour team.

*If this kind of low-grade punmanship is not for you, I’d step away now, to be honest.

Little is known about HEDP’s background other than that he was born somewhere in deepest Vlaanderen. Or perhaps Wicklow. Or perhaps even Myanmar.

Rumours abound of his parentage. Some say he’s the fourth son of an alcoholic alchemist Walloon father and a Swiss genetic physicist mother. Others claim he’s the exiled ruler of a small Central European duchy. Others that he’s just some lad who grew up outside Swindon.

Either way, we join HEDP’s timeline in the moments before he gets a call from a ‘shadowy’ World Tour figure…

Secondly, we need a team.

This wouldn’t be much of a challenge if we were to just pick Team Sky and aim to win a Grand Tour. Besides, I’m not completely up-to-date on the most efficient methods of [insert ‘completely legitimately’ disclaimer] administering salbutamol.*

*Don’t @ me.

There needs to be an aim, and it needs to be difficult enough to sustain what is planned to be a long(ish) series.

Enter Lotto Soudal, the Belgian classics-specialists currently under the stewardship of former national road race champion Marc Sergeant.

Embed from Getty Images

The Lotto team has been around in various guises since the mid-1980s, but has been overshadowed massively in recent times by the bad blue boys over at Quick-Step. Patrick Lefevere’s ‘Wolfpack’ are pretty much the hottest sh*t in cycling at the moment, so it’ll be HEDP’s task to knock Lotto’s Belgian compatriots off their perch and…

Make Belgium Lotto Again.*

*Or something like that.

A few closing notes.

  • I’ll be playing the game on the hardest level.
  • No cheats or rage-induced cheating, such as quitting-without-saving, will be employed.
  • I’ll aim to update the series fortnightly, possibly more frequently during key periods of the game, such as Monuments, Grand Tours, etc.
  • There may be ‘Live Blogging’.

Without further ado, I thrust you into the utterly incapable hands of Harry Eyre Du Peloton.

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Writer featured in/on FourFourTwo, Guardian, The Set Pieces, Sports Illustrated, R&K, TFT, Nightwatchman, World Soccer, Pickles, Cricketworld and more. Twitter: @HeavyFirstTouch