Virtual training platform Zwift has announced a huge new series of races for the pro men and women, which will feature a host of WorldTour teams.
The Tour for All, which kicks off on Monday (May 4), is a five-stage race that will be broadcast live on Eurosport, as riders from Mitchelton-Scott, EF Pro Cycling, Canyon-SRAM, and Alpecin-Fenix will do battle online.
Stages will range from 45 to 75km, with a mix of sprint and climbing courses to test all types of rider.
While we’re still awaiting the announcement of which riders will be taking part in the event, the organisers vow to bring an action-packed weekwhile racing out on the road is suspended for the foreseeable future.
Zwift CEO Eric Min said: “I’m thrilled to be able to announce this new exhibition series in conjunction with GCN and Eurosport, bringing high-level racing and top-class entertain to the world’s cycling fans.
“Over the past few months, we’ve delivered a huge number of unique experiences and opportunities to ride with the stars of the World Tour peloton. I know many have been keen to see when Zwift will bring World Tour teams together to race, and I can’t think of a better way to deliver this series of men’s and women’s exhibition racing than to kick off our charity month.”
The event will kick off a month-long charity fundraising campaign being run by Zwift, as the training platform will donate $125,000 (£99,000) to Doctors Without Borders and its coronavirus crisis fund.
Every stage of the Tour for All will also be followed by a mass participation event, encourage amateur Zwifters to take part.
Once 250,000 Zwifters have completed a stage of the Tour for All, Zwift will unlock another $125,000 to donate to charity.
Andrew Georgiou, president of Eurosport, said: “During the current pause in live sport, Discovery [Eurosport’s parent company] is bringing to the fore its creativity and partnership building credentials to bring fans to the type of live content they’ve been missing.
“We’re going beyond the archive to offer something completely new that will bring together cycling fans on mass with new stories and unpredictable moments at every turn.”
Zwift is very aware that virtual racing is a different discipline that road cycling and with that in mind the Tour for All will feature some of Zwift’s unique features, like power-ups.
Power-ups are in-game bonuses that will give riders a temporary advantage over their rivals, like increase aerodynamics, reduced weight, or even invisibility.
The racing will start on Monday with a relatively flat 52km stage on the Innsbruck World Championships course, running through to the queen stage on May 8, taking riders up the brutal Alpe du Zwift, a virtual recreation of Alpe d’Huez.
Each stage will see the top 25 riders gain points across the week while an individual race winner will be crowned each day.
The racing will also feature intermediate sprint points on each stage and double points for the top-10 on the queen stage.
Racing will be screened live on Eurosport between 2pm and 4pm British time and will also be streamed on the GCN app, with highlights also being released via GCN.
Stage one - Monday, May 4 - Innsbruckring, Innsbruck (52.9km)
Stage two - Tuesday, May 5 - Cobbled Climbs, Richmond (46.2km)
Stage three - Wednesday May 6 - Medio Fondo, Watopia (72.9km)
Stage four - Thursday, May 7 - Sand and Sequoias, Watopia (42.6km)
Stage five - Friday, May 8 - Quatch Quest, Watopia (46.5km)
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