For many cycling fans virtual racing has been a welcome spectacle, allowing us to watch our favourite riders race on pure watts from the comfort of their living rooms, garages and gardens.
But some pros are less convinced by racing in the online world, including stars like Tom Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot.
Whether it’s the results or the brutal effort of racing indoors, these riders seem less than impressed with the virtual racing scene.
Kruijswijk, who finished third in the Tour de France last season, said: “It is a different sport. You have to adjust tactically with things like drafting.
“If you train on it, you will succeed, but it has little to do with our competitions.”
The Dutchman said he does see a future for Zwift racing but as a different discipline, comparing it with football game FIFA, saying you wouldn’t recruit a left winger at PSV Eindhoven because they’re good at video games.
Kruijswijk’s team-mate and compatriot Tom Dumoulin shared a similar sentiment, suggesting there was a limit to what you can learn from a virtual race.
Winner of the 2017 Giro d’Italia Dumoulin told De Limburger: “The results are not to be trusted either – they say nothing.”
“The devices [turbo trainers] come from different brands and are not properly calibrated, which is essential. Weight must be exactly correct, otherwise it will be unfair.”
Dumoulin pointed to the Virtual Tour of Flanders as an example, where Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert finished 10th despite being “the king of pedalling power.”
He added that virtual racing is “better than nothing.”
During the coronavirus crisis, teams have been forced to find a new way of gaining exposure for their sponsors and staying in touch with their fans, with many outfits choosing virtual racing as a way to keep their riders visible.
Velon and the Tour de Suisse recently held the Digital Swiss Five series of races, with Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos) emerging as the star rider, while Remco Evenepoel was left chasing despite being one of the strongest riders in the world out on the road.
French Grand Tour star Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) is another rider who is sceptical about the virtual revolution.
Pinot told Sporza (opens in new tab): “Those virtual races fascinated me for two week, but now that’s enough.
“I’d rather be in lesser form when lockdown is over than squeeze myself mentally now.”
Former world champions Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) have both spoken about their dislike of training indoors, as Valverde argued indoor training can burn you out physically and mentally.
Sagan’s team-mate Lennard Kämna raced his first virtual event during the Digital Swiss, with the German telling DW: (opens in new tab) “It’s a whole different ball game, so you can’t set the same standards for the two.
“I believe it’s not ideal for professional cycling. It’s a nice diversion for now, but it lacks the flair of a true road race.”
But Kämna said he did see a big future for virtual racing, with people able to train into the evening and throughout the winter.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.
Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.
Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
The general classification just got even tighter: Five talking points from stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2022
There was climbing, climbing, and more climbing on Tuesday
By Adam Becket • Published
Wider S-Works Torch replaces popular Specialized shoes - and our tech writers had very different first impressions
Wider, lighter, more comfortable and better looking - here's the story behind the development of the S-Works Torch plus our first ride impressions
By Simon Smythe • Published
Zwift becomes title sponsor of Paris-Roubaix Femmes
Online fitness platform builds on deal to sponsor inaugural Tour de France Femmes
By Adam Becket • Published
'I’ve struggled with having a whole crew revolve around me in the past': Tom Dumoulin happy to share Jumbo-Visma's Giro d'Italia leadership
The Dutchman makes his return to the race he won in 2017
By Chris Marshall-Bell • Published
Tom Dumoulin confirms he will ride for the overall at a Grand Tour in 2022
The former time trial world champion hasn't had a serious go at a Grand Tour since the 2018 Tour de France
By Tim Bonville-Ginn • Published
50 riders have been confirmed to be taking part in the UCI E-Sport World Championships 2022
The event is set to take place in Zwift's New York after riders have qualified from their continental groups
By Tim Bonville-Ginn • Published
Tom Dumoulin doesn't rule out Grand Tour return in 2022
Dutchman will decide on his season at the Jumbo-Visma training camp in mid-December
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Tom Dumoulin to Team BikeExchange for 2022?
L'Equipe reports Giant bikes could be instrumental in taking Dutch star from Jumbo-Visma
By Richard Windsor • Published
Tom Dumoulin still plans to continue cycling career next year
The Dutch star was knocked from his bike by a driver, which spoiled his World Championship ambitions
By Alex Ballinger • Published
'It was a difficult road to get here': Tom Dumoulin marks return to cycling with Olympics silver
'He took a deep dive and chose Tokyo as a trigger to push that career forward'
By Jonny Long • Published