A selection of the world’s best teams will do virtual battle in an online race series by the Tour de Suisse.
After Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) won the first ever virtual Tour of Flanders over the weekend, cycling stats organisation Velon has teamed up with the organisers of the Tour de Suisse to introduce a series of five new virtual races.
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The Digital Five race series will be held on virtual training platform Rouvy and will see teams of three pro riders on real life footage taken from the Tour de Suisse.
Taking place from April 22-26, the race currently has 16 WorldTour teams signed up, along with a few smaller outfits like Rally Cycling and the Swiss national team.
Sadly the real world Tour de Suisse, scheduled for June, has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The CEO of Velon, Graham Bartlett, said: “Velon is all about innovation and we wanted to do something on another level – to bring fans real competition amongst the best teams in the world. We wanted to do something as close to live racing as we could, not just another ‘ride out’, and give fans some real sport to watch in these tough times.”
With teams like Ineos, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Mitchelton-Scott all taking part, rider data will be on display throughout the race, giving fans a greater insight into the demands of a virtual competition.
Joko Vogel, the co-CEO of Tour de Suisse organiser Unlimited AG said: “We are overwhelmed by how many teams have confirmed their participation in The Digital Swiss 5 in such a short time.
“This shows us that the need for such events is very big and very much appreciated. The professionals have the opportunity to compete under competition conditions and see where they stand. We are looking forward to this world premiere and thank everyone for having the courage to join us in this adventure.”
The races will be hosted by Rouvy, an indoor cycling app with realistic backdrops for racing and workouts.
Racing will kick off on Wednesday, April 22 with one event taking place each day through to Sunday, April 26.
Team rosters and details of where to watch are set to be confirmed soon.
Full list of teams taking part:
AG2R La Mondiale
Deceuninck – Quick-Step Team
EF Pro Cycling
Israel Start-Up Nation
NTT Pro Cycling
Total Direct Energie
Swiss national team