‘Cycling Manager’ is ranked in the top three PC games in France and Italy. Now it has been translated into English and the UK publisher is seeking distribution in the bike trade. Halfords is getting the sales spiel next week. IBDs could stock the title right now. Will ‘Cycling Manager’ be this year's perfect stocking filler for road race fans?

IBDs sell mags, what about PC games?

‘Cycling Manager’ has been getting rave reviews in cycle-mad countries such as Italy and France for nearly a year. An Eric Zabel version has been wowing PC gamers in Germany for the past few months.

Now Singularity Software of Henley on Thames has bought the UK rights and has released an English-language version.

‘Cycling Manager’ was developed by Focus and Cyanide of France, the heartland of European cycle sport.

The game is Fantasy Football for followers of road racing.

It has three modes: single race, single stage race and whole season. Over 120 stages are modelled in 3D and playable in real time (if you’ve got six hours to spare…)

The computer opponent throws in variables such as falls, riders packing and crashes.

You, as the team manager, apportion skills to your chosen riders – you can pick up to 40 -and define them as climbers, sprinters, one-day racers or likely Tour winners. You manage the ‘punch’, speed and fatigue levels of your riders.

There are ten camera angles to play with and, if you compete over a whole season, you can enter your team for the virtual Tour de France.

The game allows for in-depth management of teams with rankings, a true-to-life calendar and transfers. However, in the FAQ it’s made plain that one form of race strategy is a no-no: doping is disallowed.

The game can be played with other ‘managers’ over a LAN network or over the internet. There’s also an extremely well used bulletin board for picking up tips and expressing opinions.

‘Cycling Manager’ is distributed by Bigben Interactive, software gaming specialists. The title is ranked 360th on amazon.co.uk (it was only launched two weeks ago) and costs £24.99. IBD stockists would pay £TBC per copy.

Halfords is said to have expressed interest in stocking the game and is having a meeting with Big Ben next week.



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