Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Marianne Vos and Anna van der Breggen are among the riders confirmed for the first-ever Virtual Tour de France, set to take place in July with six stages for both men and women.
With the regular Tour de France postponed until the end of August, the virtual Tour will be held over three consecutive weekends from July 4 and sees two new maps added to Zwift for the race.
A new France map features a range of terrain, including a climb modelled on the iconic ascent of Mont Ventoux, while the new Paris course is a virtual replica of the Tour’s trademark finish on the Champs-Élysées.
A Virtual l’Etape du Tour de France is also due to take place, offering the chance to ride three of the stages from the ‘comfort’ of your smart trainer. The virtual sportive will be held over the same three weekends as the main race.
The new France and Paris maps will join Zwift’s regular guest world rotation after the Virtual Tour de France has finished, though an exact date for their inclusion is to be confirmed.
The Virtual Tour de France is part of the Tour de France United, an initiative raising money for five charities and running until the conclusion of the rescheduled Tour.
Two new courses added to Zwift for Virtual Tour de France
Both new maps have been designed specifically for the Virtual Tour de France, according to Zwift. The French map takes inspiration from across the country and will include many of the iconic sights Tour de France fans have been accustomed to seeing, including vineyards, Roman aqueducts and sunflower fields.
The map also includes a virtual replica of Mont Ventoux, dubbed Zwift’s Mont Ven-Top: a 20.8km climb with 1,539m of ascent.
The Paris map is a smaller world, featuring the Tour’s finishing circuit on the streets of the French capital.
Zwifters will be able to ride around the Arc de Triomphe, take in the Place de la Concorde and sprint down the Champs-Élysées, just like the best sprinters of the Tour de France on the final stage of the race.
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Virtual Tour de France stages
The Virtual Tour de France will start on Saturday 4 July with the first women’s stage, followed immediately by the opening men’s stage. Each stage is expected to be around an hour long.
Both the men’s and women’s races will be held on identical courses, over the same distance, and will receive equal broadcast coverage. Twenty-three men’s teams and 17 women’s teams have been confirmed for the race.
The virtual Tour will provide opportunities for a wide range of riders, according to Zwift, with two flat stages, two hilly stages and two mountain stages.
- Saturday 4 July, stage one: Nice, 36.4 km (4 x 9.1km, hilly stage)
- Sunday 5 July, stage two: Nice, 29.5 km (682m of ascent, mountain stage)
- Saturday 11 July, stage three: north-east France, 48km (flat stage)
- Sunday 12 July, stage four: south-west France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9km laps, hilly stage)
- Saturday 18 July, stage five: Mont Ven-Top, 22.9km (finish at Chalet-Reynard, mountain stage
- Sunday 19 July, stage six: Paris, Champs-Élysées, 42.8km (six laps of the circuit, flat stage)
Stages one and two will be held on Zwift’s biggest map, the volcanic island of Watopia, but with “several visual additions inspired by Nice, the planned host town for this year’s Grand Départ”.
Stages three, four and five will then take place on a new France map. Stage five has been designated as the Queen Stage, with a summit finish at Chalet Reynard on Mont Ven-Top.
Stage six will then take riders to Paris for six laps of the Champs-Élysées finishing circuit.
Who will win the first Virtual Tour de France yellow jersey?
The Virtual Tour de France will feature jerseys for the general classification, best climber classification, best sprinter classification and best young rider classification.
However, while the regular Tour’s classifications are based on time, the Virtual Tour’s rankings will be based on points. All classifications will also be team-based, 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 and the team leading each classification will nominate one rider to wear the corresponding jersey on the following stage.
How to ride the Virtual l’Etape du Tour
The Virtual l’Etape du Tour includes three stages, taking place on consecutive weekends. Zwifters will be able to choose from 16 sessions spread over each weekend:
- 4 and 5 July, stage one: Nice, 29.5 km (682m of ascent, mountain stage)
- 11 and 12 July, stage two: south-west France, 45.8km (2 x 22.9km laps, hilly stage)
- 18 and 19 July, stage three: Mont Ven-Top, (22.9km, finishing at the summit observatory)
If the Virtual l’Etape du Tour doesn’t take your fancy, on weekdays throughout July Zwifters will also have the opportunity to ride the same routes the professionals competed on over the previous weekend.
What new routes will be available after the Virtual Tour de France?
The new France and Paris maps will be added to Zwift’s regular rotation of guest worlds after the Virtual Tour de France has concluded, with ten routes for riders to choose from.
France map – routes
- Casse-Pattes: 22.9km / 155m of ascent
- Douce France: 24km / 133m
- La Reine: 22.5km / 1,205m
- Petit Boucle: 60.8km / 483m
- R.G.V.: 24km / 133m
- Roule Ma Poule: 22.9km / 155m
- Tire-Bouchon: 60.8km / 483m
- Ven-Top: 20.8km / 1,539m
Paris map – routes
- Champs-Élysées: 6.6km / 39m
- Lutece Express: 6.6km / 39m