The real Tour de France has been postponed until late August because of this worldwide pandemic, but Zwift and Tour de France race organizer, ASO, has been working on a virtual version of the race. Zwift also released an update last Friday which includes new worlds – not yet available to public – that will be used to host the virtual Tour de France. More information on routes availability later in this post.
Starting on Saturday, July 4th, the Virtual Tour de France is to form a part of the Tour de France United, a charity initiative in celebration of the Tour de France that will run until the conclusion of the rescheduled Tour de France in August.
During the first three weekends of July 2020, men’s and women’s professional races will be organized as part of the virtual stages of the Tour de France. The race will be held over six stages, each around an hour in duration. Racing will commence on Saturday, July 4th with the first women’s stage, followed immediately by the men. Stages for both races are held on identical courses and over the same distance. Both events will receive equal broadcast coverage.
Stages 1 and 2 will be held on Zwift’s biggest map, the fantasy volcanic island of Watopia. For the Tour de France, Watopia will receive several visual additions inspired by Nice, the planned host town for this year’s ‘Grand Départ’. Stages 3, 4 and 5 will be held on an entirely new French map designed specifically for the Virtual Tour de France. Stage 5 is marked as the Queen Stage, and one for the climbers, with a summit finish at Chalet Reynard on the formidable Mont Ventoux. Stage 6 will see the racers take to the iconic Champs-Élysées, finishing in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Our joint project with cycling teams, Zwift, charities and broadcasters is all about leveraging the newest esport technologies to put the spotlight on the champions who were supposed to ride the Tour de France in July, as well as bringing bicycles to people who do not have any.Yann Le Moenner, ASO General Manager
The famous Yellow, Green, Polka-dot and White jerseys will be awarded based on a points-based system. The best overall team will be calculated by combining the total points earned across all competitions. In addition, each stage will also see a rider awarded the Most Aggressive rider award, sponsored by Antargaz.
The jerseys will be awarded to the leaders of the general classification (based on points rather than on time), best climber classification, best sprinter classification and best young rider classification. Again, based on points rather than on time. Unique to the Virtual Tour de France, all classifications will be run as team-based classifications, therefore, allowing teams to rotate riders between stages. All riders in the race will be eligible to score points for their team in each of the respective categories. The teams leading the classifications will have the freedom to nominate one rider to wear the iconic jerseys for the following stage.
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’Étape du Tour de France rides as well!Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder.
Taking place on the same three weekends that will see the professional riders in action, will be the Virtual l’Étapedu Tour de France series. L’Étape du Tour de France provides cyclists with the opportunity to get a slice of the Tour de France experience through a mass participation cyclo-sportive held on one of the Tour de France mountain stages. The Virtual l’Étape du Tour de France will be no different, allowing participants to test themselves on the same roads as the professionals. There will be three different stages, held over each of the three weekends in July.
Both the France and Paris maps have been designed specifically for the Virtual Tour de France. The French map takes inspiration from the country and should evoke strong connections with the country as Zwifters pass through vineyards, over Roman aqueducts and through Sunflower fields. The new map also plays host to a virtual replica of Mont Ventoux. Zwift’s Mont Ven-Top, meaning snowy peak in gallic, is a punishing climb that is sure to test the legs of any rider.
THE 6 STAGES OF THE VIRTUAL TOUR DE FRANCE
- Saturday 4th July, stage 1: Nice, 36.4 km (4 x 9.1 km, hilly stage)
- Sunday 5th July, stage 2: Nice, 29.5 km (682 m of ascent, mountain stage)
- Saturday 11th July, stage 3: North-East France, 48 km (flat stage)
- Sunday 12th July, stage 4: South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
- Saturday 18th July, stage 5: Mont Ventoux, 22.9 km (finish at Chalet-Reynard, mountain stage)
- Sunday 19th July, stage 6: Paris Champs-Elysées, 42.8 km (6 laps of the circuit)
The 3 stages of the Virtual l’Étape du Tour de France (16 sessions spread over each weekend):
- 4th and 5th July, Stage 1: Nice, 29.5 km (682 m of ascent, mountain stage)
- 11th and 12th July, Stage 2: South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
- 18th and 19th July, Stage 3: Mont Ventoux, (22.9 km, finishing at the observatory)
WHEN CAN YOU RIDE THE NEW ROUTES
Per my correspondence with Zwift, the first chance to ride one of the French routes will be with the l’Etape event on July 11th.
There will be additional opportunities for Zwifters to ride the new worlds during weekdays with Tour de France discovery rides. Zwift will be running 12 events a day on the courses ridden by the professionals the previous weekend.
The new worlds will eventually join the regular guest world rotation after the end of the Virtual Tour de France. No exact date on when this will happen though.
AG2R La Mondiale
Astana Pro Team
B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
Team Bahrain McLaren
Deceuninck – Quick-Step
EF Education First Pro Cycling
Israel Start-Up Nation
NTT Pro Cycling
TOTAL Direct Énergie
Alé BTC Ljubljana
Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team
Ceratizit – WNT Pro Cycling
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
Lotto Soudal Ladies
TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank
TWENTY20 Pro Cycling
Valcar Travel & Service