After our last Flamme Rouge tour, Catherine was up for another one - I think she's run out of old episodes of 'Endeavour' to watch - so I obliged by downloading a five-stage Tour of Sardinia from Boardgamegeek. Once again we played one team each, and had two bot teams - one Peleton and one Standard from the 'Peleton' expansion.
This is the course for the first stage - the 'A' tile is the start and the 'U' tile the finish. Red areas represent ascents and blue ones descents. Corners are immaterial in Flamme Rouge (these are races of 150km or more), but the game includes them because it keep the course on the table.
I took photos roughly every other turn.
At this point I made my attack. I'd saved up my higher cards for this point on the track - a long straight run to a series of ascents and descents that almost go to the finish. I would play these high cards, break through to the front of the pack and risk the final hills on my own with the cards I'd saved.
Except that everyone else chose to do much the same on the same turn, so all that happened was that I ended up in the same relative position as I was before.
We went into the final set of slopes, labelled as Burgos on the map.
The final run to the finish. Catherines rouleur had burmed out, but her sprinter was still in the main pack. I had high cards saved up for both of my riders for a powerful sprint finish.
But the deck was unkind to both of my riders, and I failed to draw my best finish. I crossed the line, but other riders were faster.
I scored the races at 8pts to the winner down to 1pt for last place. So at the end of the first stage the scores were:
Red 'Sprinteur' - 8pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 7pts
Blue Sprinteur - 4pts
Blue Rouleur - 5pts
Green Sprinteur - 2pts
Black Sprinteur - 3pts
Black Rouleur - 6pts
Team totals were:
Red - 15pts
Blue - 9pts
Green - 3pts
Black - 9pts
And I stayed in front as we reached the first climb at Olzai.
As ever the pack broke up a little, with Catherine's Green team bringing up the rear.
The stage ends with a couple of serious climbs, so this middle sprint section was crucial. Despite having picked up fatigue from being in the front in the early part of the race, I decided to stay there. I pushed both of my riders as fast I could go.
My rouleur didn't fare so well; a bad run of cards saw him absorbed by the main pack, but my sprinter got well out in front. Catherine also decided that an attack was called for on the same stretch, and I found myself being pursued by her sprinteur.
The final climb was a slog, especially as I was running out of good cards to play. The other riders started to edge closer. Red was now in on the act as well.
I couldn't quite make the finish ...
... and got edged into second place by Red. Other riders were coming up strong, including my rouleur.
Final positions - a win for Red, but decent placings for both Catherine and myself.
At the end of Stage 2 the scores were as follows:
Red 'Sprinteur' - 16pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 12pts
Blue Sprinteur - 11pts
Blue Rouleur - 9pts
Green Sprinteur - 5pts
Black Sprinteur - 4pts
Black Rouleur - 8pts
Team totals were:
Red - 28pts
Blue - 20pts
Green - 12pts
Black - 12pts
Stage 3 had some ascents in the middle, but some good long descents as well, which help burn low-value cards. The one at Orani was especially long and could be run over two turns if you get the positioning right.
We reached the first climb, at Orani. I was in the rear this time, and couldn't break into the middle of the pack.
Catherine blocked me getting into the optimal descent position, so as we came off the hill into the next stretch I was still stuck in the rear.
We did the second ascent/descent at Olzai and nothing much changed. I was hoping to be in the middle of the pack at this stage, though, as my plan for the finish involved some very careful positioning, and it's harder not to be blocked when there are fewer riders in front of you.
I failed. I lost a turn negotiating the climb at Morgongiori, and the main pack broke away into the final sprint. Catherine was in the rear of the main pack, but I suspected she'd saved up some good cards for the finish.
She had. Both her riders shot out in front on the run to the finish-line.
But Red put in a final attack to take second place, depriving her of a point.
I still ended up in the bottom half of the placings though.
At the end of Stage 3 the scores are as follows:
Red 'Sprinteur' - 18pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 19pts
Blue Sprinteur - 15pts
Blue Rouleur - 12pts
Green Sprinteur - 13pts
Black Sprinteur - 5pts
Black Rouleur - 13pts
Team totals are:
Red - 37pts
Blue - 27pts
Green - 26pts
Black - 18pts
So Red is looking strong going into the last two stages, whilst Catherine and I are basically neck and neck. Stay tuned for Part Two, to see who will win the Giro de Sardegna.