The new online event, which will run over three weekends in July, will feature star riders including Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal, Marianne Vos and Chloe Dygert.
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As 23 men’s teams and 17 women’s squads race over six stages, including a virtual recreation of Mont Ventoux and the iconic Champs Élysées finish in Paris, amateur riders will also be able to get involved through the online L’Etape du Tour mass participation event.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: “I cannot imagine the month of July without cycling.
“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 Tour Virtuel puts technology to work for passion and the cause of cycling for everyone.”
Racing will start this coming Saturday and Sunday (July 4-5) with both stages being set on the Watopia map.
Stages three, four and five will be held on a new French map designed specifically for this new event, while stage five will be the Queen Stage as riders race to Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux.
Then on stage six, the peloton will take to the Champs-Élyśees to finish in front of the Arc de Triomphe.
Both the men and women will cover identical stages over the same distances and each race will receive the same broadcast coverage.
Riders will be awarded the famous yellow, green, polka-dot and white jerseys while the best overall team will also be crowned.
Each stage will also see a ‘Most Aggressive Rider’ award presented.
The race will also help raise money for good causes, as charitable initiative Tour de France United will be offering donations to Emmaüs, Secours Populaire, Jeugdfonds Sport and Cultuur, BiJeWa and Qhubeka.
Zwift CEO Eric Min said: “There’s nothing bigger than the Tour de France in cycling, so to say I’m excited would be an understatement.
“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’Etape du Tour de France rides as well!”
The Virtual L’Etape du Tour will be held on the same three weekends covering stages on two and three, with 16 sessions being spread over each weekend.
Stages of the Virtual Tour de France
- Saturday July 4, stage 1: Nice, 36.4 km (4 x 9.1 km, hilly stage)
- Sunday July 5, stage 2: Nice, 29.5 km (682 m of ascent, mountain stage)
- Saturday July 11, stage 3: North-East France, 48 km (flat stage)
- Sunday July 12, stage 4: South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
- Saturday July 18, stage 5: Mont Ventoux, 22.9 km (finish at Chalet-Reynard, mountain stage)
- Sunday July 19, stage 6: Paris Champs- Élysées, 42.8 km (6 laps of the circuit)
Stages of the Virtual l’Etape du Tour de France
- July 4 & 5, Stage 1: Nice, 29.5 km (682 m of ascent, mountain stage)
- July 11 & 12, Stage 2: South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
- July 18 & 19, Stage 3: Mont Ventoux, (22.9 km, finishing at the observatory)
Zwift Virtual Tour de France 2020 start lists
Men’s Virtual Tour de France, stage one start list
Men’s Virtual Tour de France, stage two start list
Women’s Virtual Tour de France, stage one start list
Women’s Virtual Tour de France, stage two start list
Zwift Virtual Tour de France 2020 stage profiles
Stage one: Watopia’s Hilly Route (Reverse)
Stage two: Watopia’s Mountain Route
Zwift Virtual Tour de France 2020: where to watch (UK)
Stage one, Saturday July 4 – Eurosport 1, Eurosport Player, GCN App, 14.00 BST
Stage two: Sunday July 5 – Eurosport 1, Eurosport Player, GCN App, 14.00 BST
Stage three: Saturday July 11 – Eurosport 1, Eurosport Player, GCN App, 14.00 BST
Stage four: Sunday July 12 – Eurosport 1, Eurosport Player, GCN App, 14.00 BST
Stage five: Sunday July 18 – Eurosport 1, Eurosport Player, GCN App, 14.00 BST
Stage six: Sunday July 19 – Eurosport 1, Eurosport Player, GCN App, 14.00 BST