For cyclists of all levels and all levels, July means one thing: the Tour de France. I don’t think I ever went for a group walk in July and I didn’t talk about the Tour with my friends. But this year, the Tour isn’t taking place in July – not in the real world, anyway.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was postponed to the beginning of August and will continue until September. An additional two months of training can be either a disadvantage or an advantage for runners, as most predict that their entire year will reach its peak throughout the Tour. Zwift, the cycling and online racing app, now comes to the rescue with a virtual TdF.
This virtual tour won’t be as hard or as long as reality, but it’s a cool way for the pros to do something during the time they would normally have done on the Tour. The Zwift Tour is a stage race which will take place over three weekends starting on July 4. Each stage will only last about an hour, which is significantly shorter for each stage of the TdF.
But Zwift is working with ASO, the organizer of the Tour de France, to cancel in-app elements similar to what you see on the Tour. They even created two new cards specially for the event. The virtual tour will also award the appropriate jerseys: green for the best sprinter, peas for the best climber, white for the best recruit and yellow for the winner.
Each stage will be streamed live on the Zwift website, you can also purchase it from the Global Cycling Network (GCN), as well as from different TV broadcasters in different countries. This is a huge victory for Zwift and will likely increase the exposure of the service to cyclists who otherwise might not have wanted to try.
Speaking of which, while the virtual tour will be reserved for professional male and female teams (who will run separately, as in real life), there will be an amateur event called Virtual l’Etape du Tour de France for all users of Zwift. The stages designed for professional teams will be available for all users to test, which should be a lot of fun. If you are a cyclist and have never used Zwift before, this could be a great way to get your feet wet – these huge rides with thousands of participants are absolutely great.