We’re excited to race the first ever virtual Tour de France, starting on July 4. The six-stage race will be held over the first three weekends in July on the online training and racing platform, Zwift. Races for women’s and men’s professional teams, along with the Virtual l’Étape du Tour de France for community riders, form part of an initiative organised in aid of five global charity partners.
We will line up against 16 other women’s professional teams, all battling for the renowned yellow, green, polka dot and white jerseys that will be won on a points-based system. It will choose from its full roster of riders for the six-stage Virtual Tour de France, with four riders able to race each stage. Ella Harris and Tanja Erath both performed strongly in the team’s Zwift racing in May and are assured to be a part of the team’s line up in the new race.
“The Virtual Tour de France is really exciting as it allows for females to compete under the prestigious ‘Tour de France’ banner for the first time with all aspects of the event being equal, a huge boost for female cycling when it comes to gathering exposure and momentum for further change in outdoor events also,” said Ella.
“I believe it certainly marks a revolutionary next step in the future of sport, allowing for age-old gender barriers to be chipped away and albeit in a virtual form, I think it’s very cool that Zwift are helping to take the lead by utilising their platform to provide this opportunity.”
Ella continued, “The one race in professional cycling that even non-cyclists across the globe recognise is the Tour de France, so having the event displayed on such an accessible stage like Zwift can only be beneficial for encouraging participation in the sport and gathering further support, especially in times when many outsiders will be particularly taken with the digital aspect of Zwift.”
Tanja also echoed the words of Harris on the new race, “I am really looking forward to the Virtual Tour de France. After the awesome experience with the team at Zwift’s Tour for All, I can’t wait to start racing again. Furthermore, a Tour de France for women, even if so far only virtual, is a step into the right direction for a dream coming true. I am happy to be a part of it and seeing Zwift continue to create stepping stones in cycling and especially for women’s cycling.”
Another platform for women’s cycling
“I think it’s another great opportunity and a fantastic platform for women’s cycling to perform on,” added Tiffany.
“At a time whilst there’s limited live sport on TV at the moment, people are excited to have something to watch either in real life or its virtual counterpart. Being able to have a women’s virtual race under the Tour de France banner is exciting and will make it even more recognisable to the general public.”
Tanja Erath: “My goal for the Virtual Tour de France is to carry on the good flow and results of my recent Zwift racing and to support the team as good as possible with my experience and practice. If we want to improve our performance, which should always be the goal, we will have to aim for yellow jersey.”
Tiffany Cromwell: “Any opportunity to have a global platform is really important for the team and our partners so it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase them. The team will go in with the goal of aggressive racing, performing strongly and hopefully taking some victories.”
Ella Harris: “I myself will be participating in a couple stages including the summit finish at the new Zwift course of Mont Ventoux, and the racing responsibility will be spread across a wide range of riders from the team. After achieving promising results at the Tour for All and continually improving our Zwift racing approach and performance, it’ll be exciting to see what the team can do against the other World Tour teams in this newly minted event.”
The Virtual Tour de France stages
The six-stage Virtual Tour de France will be broadcast to over 130 countries worldwide:
- Saturday 4 July, stage 1: Nice, 36.4 km (4 x 9.1km, hilly stage)
- Sunday 5 July, stage 2: Nice, 29.5 km (682m of ascent, mountain stage)
- Saturday 11 July, stage 3: North-East France, 48km (flat stage)
- Sunday 12 July, stage 4: South-West France, 45.8km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
- Saturday 18 July, stage 5: Mont Ventoux, 22.9km (finish at Chalet-Reynard, mountain stage)
- Sunday 19 July, stage 6: Paris Champs-Elysées, 42.8km (6 laps of the circuit)