Men's and women's teams join in to ride virtual Tour de France in July
Jun 29 2020 09:40 pm CET

Men's and women's teams join in to ride virtual Tour de France in July
Men's and women's teams join in to ride virtual Tour de France in July
Tour de France

The virtual cycling platform Zwift and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have announced a virtual Tour de France for the first three weekends of July 2020.

Although the real French grand tour already has a date in the revamped calendar that was made to return to cycling after the toughest part of the Covid-19 crisis -and will take place between the 29th of August and 20th of September, the organisers have decided to also do a virtual competition in the month of July, when it would normally take place.

23 men's teams and 16 women's formations have confirmed the participation in the virtual race, and they will start with names like Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Julian Alaphilippe, Richie Porte, Greg Van Avermaet, Mathieu Van der Poel, Nairo Quintana, Mads Pedersen, Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet, Chloé Dygert, Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Marianne Vos, Coryn Rivera, Marta Bastianelli, Lisa Brennauer, Kirsten Wild, Elisa Balsamo, Tiffany Cromwell, Lizzie Deignan and Audrey Cordon-Ragot.

The virtual race on Zwift will start on Saturday, July 4th and will finish on the 29th. Each of the six stages will be an hour in duration and men and women will ride over the exact same course. These stages will be broadcast in 130 countries around the world.

The first two stages will be held in the fantasy volcanic island of Watopia, which will include several visual additions inspired by Nice -where the Grand Depart of the real race will be held. Stages 3, 4 and 5 will be on an entirely new map designed specifically for the race, and the fifth will be the Queen Stage. The last day of racing will be on the Champs-Elysees like the real thing.

"Our joint project with cycling teams, Zwift, charities, official partners and broadcasters of the Tour de France is all about leveraging the newest esport technologies to put the spotlight on the champions who were supposed to ride the Tour de France in July, as well as setting up a major solidarity project combining its mission to promote mobility through cycling and fight against the social consequences of Covid-19 across the world," said Yann Le Moënner, ASO General Manager.

"I cannot imagine the month of July without cycling," added Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France. "Thanks to the virtual Tour de France, which will be widely broadcast on TV, the champions and their fans will fill in the void left by the Tour de France, which will reunite with the public in Nice on 29 August. The Virtual Tour de France puts technology to work for passion and the cause of cycling for everyone."

The Tour de France -even its virtual version- would not be the same without the Yellow, Green, Polka-Dot and White Jerseys and these will be calculated using a points-based system. "There’s nothing bigger than the Tour de France in cycling, so to say I’m excited would be an understatement", mentioned Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder.

"Since I was a boy, I would always be glued in front of the TV for three weeks in July, so I feel incredibly privileged for Zwift to be able to play host to the first virtual edition this year. Of course, we all very much look forward to the race returning this August, but the good news is there will still be racing in July. The Virtual Tour de France will be a celebration of the event featuring the stars of the men’s and women’s pro pelotons, all in aid of five great causes. Let’s also not forget, there is a great chance to take part through the Virtual l’Étape du Tour de France rides as well!"

Virtual l’Étape du Tour de France wil offer the same routes for amateur cyclists all over the world. And this event will raise funds for five charity partners: Emmaüs, Secours populaire français, Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur, BiJeWa and Qhubeka.
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