April Tacey: What it takes to win a Virtual Tour de France stage

2020 E-Racer of the Year in association with Zwift: April Tacey

This year April Tacey made history as both the first woman to win a stage of the Virtual Tour de France in July. With a perfectly timed sprint and a judicious use of a power-up (that’s the way racing works in the virtual world, in case you’re not familiar folks) she blasted past some of the world’s best.

She wasn’t finished either. The 19-year-old from just outside Leicester would go on to win another stage on stage four in similar fashion. 

That would be remarkable enough had Tacey not long recovered from a serious knee injury that had required an opperation and weeks off the bike over the winter. She smashed her patella into three piece falling into a ditch on a training camp in Calpe before Christmas. She didn’t throw her leg over a real life bike again until the team’s winter camp in February this year.

April Tacey joined the Cycling Weekly team on Zwift and put magazine editor Simon Richardson to the test.

The contenders

Lionel Sanders (Canyon ZCC)

The former Ironman world record holder has become something of a Zwifting specialist these days. He made headlines when he  beat Mathieu van der Poel, among others, at a virtual version of the Ronde. The Dutch road and cyclocross sensation found himself outclassed by the Canadian virtual racing star.

Mike Cumming (Saris-The Pro’s Closet)

After Madison Genesis folded last year rider Mike Cumming took up a job as a bar tender in a local pub and it just so happens that Zwift fitted perfectly around that. IT wasn’t long before he was scratching that competitive itch in races. Throughout 2020 you could find him racing on the platform most days, sometimes more than once in a day, something that helped him become the number one ranked rider in the UK.

Lou Bates (NoPinz R3R)

Consistently one of the best female Zwifters in the country Bates is a former National Hill Climb champion. It was those characteristics that served her well in her highest profile result of the year where she narrowly lost out to pro rider Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio on the final climb of the Zwift Trofeo Bologna. 

Get the latest copy of the magazine, on sale 17/12, for the full story.