Movistar launch their own virtual racing competition

The latest addition to the world of online racing

Movistar will be launching their own virtual racing championship (Picture: Movistar)

Movistar is launching its own virtual racing event, joining the ever-growing online cycling world.

The Spanish WorldTour team announced the new championships on Tuesday (Monday 11) after a team press conference ahead of the Tour Colombia stage race.

Movistar Virtual Cycling will be launched in April with a combination of online and live qualifying events, held alongside some of the most iconic races of the cycling season.

The races will use the Bkool virtual training software.

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In a statement, Movistar said: “Virtual cycling is a discipline which more and more people are taking up from conventional cycling.

“[Movistar parent company] Telefónica is taking another step forward in its gamble on cycling and innovation through the creation of the international competition, Movistar Virtual Cycling.”

Racers will compete over real routes matching portions of WorldTour events, with the winners of the qualifying events making it through to the finals.

The final race will be held at Festibike, the international bike festival held in Madrid in September.

Bkool’s training platform allows pros and amateurs to compete on 3D simulated environments through their tablet, smartphone or computer.

The software, which features virtual distances, gradients, slipstreaming, landscapes and weather, currently has 100,000 active users.

Movistar virtual cycling will launch on April 14 with a Paris-Roubaix race, followed by Liége-Bastogne-Liége on April 28.

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Other races in the competition include the Tour of California, the Giro d’Italia, Critérium du Dauphiné, Tour de Suisse, and the Tour de France.

This is the latest development in virtual bike racing, following the British Cycling national e-racing championships and the Zwift Kiss Super League.

Qualifying for the first virtual national championships will be held on February 24, followed by a live final in spring.

Last month rival training to Bkool, Zwift, launched the first racing league for pro cyclists.

A total of 15 are racing in the inaugural series, including Cofidis, Team Wiggins – Le Col, Israel Cycling Academy and Hagens Berman Axeon.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former 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, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex 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 the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.