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Virtual Tour de France & L’Étape du Tour on Zwift: Everything You Need to Know

vtdf-PR-image-Womens-3

Today ASO and Zwift have announced a Virtual Tour de France, which will start taking place this weekend with 23 Men’s UCI WorldTour teams, and 16 Women’s UCI WorldTour teams racing. The truncated event won’t quite mirror that of the real Tour de France. After all, it’s only 6 hour-long stages over three weekends instead of the usual 21 stages that are usually 3-5 hours in length each. Plus, riders can only compete in a maximum of three (men) or four (women) stages – with the aim of it being more akin to a team event than an individual one.

Still, some of the biggest names in professional cycling will participate – including Chris Froome, Marianne Vos, Geraint Thomas, Anna Van der Breggen, and more.  The Virtual Tour de France (that’s the official name) stages will also be broadcast on regular TV in over 130 countries, complete with webcams showing the riders suffering away in their living rooms, or posh Mediterranean homes.

But the real winners here are probably regular Zwifters who get not one, but two new Zwift worlds worth of virtual roads to ride. These new roads ‘reimagine’ regional parts of the French countryside, while also replicating the famed Champs-Élysées and Mt. Ventoux. Oh, and there’s a non-pro event, l’Étape du Tour, where you can ride some of those routes now. And then ‘Discovery’ rides where you’ll be able to ride what the pros rode from the previous weekend.

Phew. All of these details are painstakingly outlined below. With that, let’s dive in.

Virtual Tour de France:

WATOPIA-S1-FINISH_LINE

Now, I’m basically going to slice this section into two parts. First, is the super-quick Cliffs Notes version, and then second is all the nitty-gritty details. So, to begin, here’s the bulleted ‘give me the facts quickly section:

  • It’s a 6 stage event: Stages 1 & 2 are in a dressed up variant of Watopia, whereas Stages 3, 4, 5, and 6 are in a new France virtual world
  • The Stages are semi-fictional: While it would have been nice to see all of the new French roads mirror some real-world counterpart, the reality is that with the exception of Paris and Mt. Ventoux the terrain doesn’t actually align to a specific real-world locale
  • The race will take place over three weekends: Starting this weekend, one stage on Saturday, one on Sunday. Rinse/repeat for the next three weekends
  • There’s both a men’s and women’s race: Parity, look at that!
  • There are 23 men’s teams competing, and 16 women’s teams competing: So in a nutshell, basically all the major UCI WorldTour teams that would normally be at the Tour de France (men), and at the Giro Rosa (women)
  • It’s more of a team race than an individual one: A team can only have 4 riders per stage, and those individual riders can only compete in a maximum of three stages for the men, and four stages for the women
  • There are jersey/team/GC winner categories: Like the real TdF, you can pick up a KOM jersey or a new rider jersey. And by ‘you’, I mean those professionals. Heck, there’s even a Twitter poll for “Most Combative” rider planned after each stage
  • The overall winner is points-based: While normally for the Tour de France the overall winner is time-based, in this case it’s based upon points assignments from each stage
  • It’s being broadcast on TV: In short, if there was a TV station broadcasting the Tour de France planned, it’s likely now broadcasting the Virtual Tour de France

Ok, let’s step back and start with with the Stages:

Stage 1: Saturday 4th July – Watopia’s Hilly Route: 36.4 km (4 x 9.1 km, hilly stage)
Stage 2: Sunday 5th July –  Watopia’s Mountain Route, 29.5 km (682 m of ascent, mountain stage)
Stage 3: Saturday 11th July, – Representing North-East France, 48 km (flat stage)
Stage 4: Sunday 12th July – Representing South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
Stage 5: Saturday 18th July – Replication of Mont Ventoux, 22.9 km (finish at Chalet-Reynard, mountain
stage)
Stage 6: Sunday 19th July – Replication of Paris Champs-Élysées loop, 42.8 km (6 laps of the circuit)

So, as you can see, the first two stages are within the existing Watopia world, albeit dressed up in Tour de France banners and such. After that, the event moves to Zwift’s new French world and Paris world. They’re separate worlds, but more on that later.

These routes/roads are designed to represent given regions of France, rather than replicate a specific road or Stage. The exception to that though is the finale in Paris on the Champs-Élysées, and then the climb of Mt. Ventoux. However, note that for Stage 5 of the Virtual Tour de France, the riders will not ride to the top of Mont Ventoux. Instead, they will finish at Chalet-Reynard, which is roughly 2/3rds the way up.

Here is a nifty mini-gallery are the elevation profiles of each of the Stages. Once I have the actual VeloViewer links (I just have imagery right now), I’ll link to those.

Ok, next, to the riders. Well, actually, let’s start with the teams. That part is a bit easier. Here’s the men’s:

– AG2R La Mondiale
– Arkea Samsic
– Alpecin-Fenix
– Astana Pro Team
– B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM
– Bahrain McLaren
– Bora Hansgrohe
– CCC
– Cofidis
– Circus – Wanty Gobert
– Deceuninck-Quick-Step
– EF Pro Cycling
– Groupama FDJ
– Israel Start-Up Nation
– INEOS
– Jumba Visma
– Lotto-Soudal
– Mitchelton-SCOTT
– NTT Pro Cycling Team
– Rally Cycling
– Sunweb
– Total Direct Energie
– Trek-Segafredo

And here’s the women’s teams:

– Ale BTC Ljubljana
– Arkea
– Boels Dolmans
– CANYON/SRAM Racing
– CCC-Liv
– Ceratizit-WNT
– Drops
– FDJ – Nouvelle Aquitaine – Futuroscope
– Lotto Soudal Ladies
– Mitchelton-SCOTT
– Parkhotel Valkenburg
– Rally Cycling
– TIBCO-SILICON Valley Bank
– Trek-Segafredo
– TWENTY20
– Sunweb
– Valcar-Travel & Service

Ok, that huge list of teams complete, what about the actual riders?

Well…this is where it gets a bit messy. See, the riders aren’t competing for themselves. Instead, they’re competing for their team. Zwift and ASO have mandated the following two things:

Rule #1: No more than four riders per team per stage
Rule #2: No male rider can race more than 3 stages total, and no female rider more than 4 stages total

As such, this is more of a team PR event (and honestly, in my mind, a hugely disappointing aspect). There are however still various jerseys that can be won, and then the team decides which rider will wear that jersey the following day (after winning it).

When it comes to jerseys, the points scoring varies with each jersey/awards:

GC Winner (Yellow Jersey): First 25 riders receive points at finish
King/Queen of the Mountain (Polka Dot Jersey): First 10 riders on Stage 5 Ventoux finish, first 5 riders on Stage 2 Epic KOM finish, and first 3 riders on any other Category 3 climbs
Sprint Jersey (Green Jersey): First 10 riders on intermediate and final finishes
Young Rider (White Jersey): First 10 riders born after Jan 1st, 1995. This category is not combinable within a team, only the highest ‘winner’ gets the points
Most Combative (No jersey): This is a daily Twitter poll where the three most combative riders are offered, and points are given based on the Twitter poll placement

The amount of points varies widely within each jersey for each ‘win’. For example for the Yellow Jersey the points for a stage win start at 50 points, then 40 points for 2nd place, 35 for 3rd place, all the way down to 1 point for 25th place. Whereas for the green jersey, it’s simply 10 points for the sprint winner, 9 points for 2nd, and so on down to 1 point for 10th.

vtdf-PR-image-Mens-1

Of course, that’s all just collecting points. The actual awarding of those jerseys is an incredibly complicated affair. However, the main thing you’ll want to know is how tie-breakers are handled within points for a given jersey (including the GC). And in that case, if two teams have the same number of points, then for the GC it’ll defer to the highest place rider of that finishing stage.

For the sprint jersey it’ll first defer to most stage wins, then most intermediate wins, and then best GC ranking. For the KOM/QOM jersey it’ll defer to most 1st place CAT 1 finishes, then CAT 2 finishes, then CAT 3 finishes, and finally failing everything else best GC ranking. For the young rider jersey it’ll tie-break to the highest U25 rider in Paris. Same goes for overall team win tie-breaker if required, which will be highest place team rider to determine the win between the ties.

Last but not least, here’s the rough broadcast dates/times, the women always go first, and the men follow basically an hour later:

Stage 1: July 4th @ ~15:00 CET / 06:00 US Pacific / 23:00 Australia AEST
Stage 2: July 5th @ ~15:00 CET / 06:00 US Pacific / 23:00 Australia AEST
Stage 3: July 11th @ ~14:45 CET / 05:45 US Pacific / 22:45 Australia AEST
Stage 4: July 12th @ ~14:45 CET / 05:45 US Pacific / 22:45 Australia AEST
Stage 5: July 18th @ ~14:50 CET / 05:50 US Pacific / 22:50 Australia AEST
Stage 6: July 19th @ ~14:45 CET / 05:45 US Pacific / 22:45 Australia AEST

These will also be broadcast on Zwift.com too, as well as the following broadcasters:

Worldwide:
GCN App
Zwift.com
Europe:
Pan-Europe (incl UK): Eurosport & GCN
Denmark: TV2 Sport
Norway: TV2 Sport/TV2 Sumo
France: FranceTVSport
Belgium Walloon: RTBF
Belgium Flemish: VRT
Netherlands: NOS
Portugal: RTP2
Spain: Teledeporte
Sub-Saharan Africa: Supersport
Americas:
USA: NBCSN
Canada: FloBikes
Asia Pacific:
Australia: SBS
Japan: J Sports
China: Zhibo.tv
New Zealand: SKY Sport
Pan-Asia-Pacific: EurosportAsia & GCN

Also of random note, is that if you’re a professional rider in these races you must be in the starting pen 30 minutes prior to the start of the race (though are allowed off your bike), and the riders must stay in the game on their bikes until the Team DS is alerted by officials they can get off their bikes.

And as far as cheating and accuracy? Well…let’s be honest, people are doing this from their homes with what is little secondary validation. Also, it’s largely a PR event. Meaning that unlike some of the provisions that would be in place for an in-person Zwift event (such as validated rider weigh-ins or disallowing access to the trainers/power meters), those won’t apply here.

Still, Zwift is taking some precautions here. Riders must submit video weigh-ins in advance of the race, and Zwift says that each team is doing a specific equipment and validation check with a Zwift individual responsible for that team. There aren’t however going to be any post-race verifications with ZADA for this, nor is there any prize money on the line. Instead, all the events are in support of Le Tour United, which is raising money by ASO for Emmaüs, Secours populaire français, Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur, BiJeWa, and Qhubeka.

L’Étape du Tour & Discovery Rides:

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Now, unless you’re one of the pros riding, then you’ll instead want to be riding within the Virtual l’Étape du Tour de France. Now, normally l’Étape is a physical event with around 15,000 riders that can ride a real Tour de France stage each July from that year’s Tour de France. This is typically a mountain stage in the Alps or Pyrenees, and is a one-day affair.

However, with that postponed for now, a virtual version of that will take place in Zwift (literally dubbed Virtual L’Étape du Tour de France). While still considerably shorter than the real thing, it’ll run over three different weekends. So while the pros will race two stages each weekend, you’ll race one stage each weekend. There are 16 different race sessions per weekend to choose from to get that Stage finished. Here’s the event details:

Stage 1: July 4th/5th – Zwift Watopia’s Mountain Route: 29.5km with 682m of ascent
Stage 2: July 11th/12th – Zwift France’s Casse-Pattes Route x2 laps: 45.8km with 155m of ascent (emulates South-West France)
Stage 3: July 18th/19th – Zwift France’s Mont Ventoux Route: 22.9km with 1,539m of ascent (finishes at top of Mont Ventoux)

In addition to that, you’ll be able to ride the same routes as the pros for the week following each pro race. So basically:

Week of July 6th: Just the Watopia routes you’ve already got access to
Week of July 13th: The France World routes
Week of July 20th: The France & Paris world routes

These will be accessible via group ‘Discovery’ rides, that include the specific routes from the weekend prior. These rides will be scheduled every 2 hours all week long. Of course, knowing how Zwift typically works, this means you’d be able to likely finish the group ride and keep on going to explore other aspects of the France map. In the case of Paris, that’s a separate map, so you wouldn’t be able to connect from the first map to the 2nd map.

Speaking of which, let’s talk new Zwift Worlds.

The New French Worlds:

vtdf-PR-image-letape-1

The best bit of news here is all the new pavement for Zwifters. And that actually comes in two worlds, not one. There’s the France Zwift World, and then there’s the Paris one. I know, it’s confusing – Paris isn’t part of France. Don’t worry, as much of the rest of France would tell you, they don’t see Parisians as from their world either.

In any case, BOTH of these worlds will become part of the standard Zwift guest world rotation starting after the Virtual Tour de France. Zwift’s head of PR Communications, Chris Snook, confirmed this earlier today saying “these worlds will join the regular guest world rotation soon after the Tour de France”.

However, you’ll actually be able to ride these new routes earlier than that. Each week after the pros race, Zwift will host so-called ‘Discovery Rides’ every two hours on Zwift, which will feature the routes from the previous weekend of racing. More on that in the previous section.

Ok, so details about these new worlds are still somewhat thin. But to begin, the new ‘France’ map is fully interconnected between the routes, so if we remember back to the Virtual TdF Section, we’ve got the following portions:

Stage 3: Representing North-East France, 48 km (flat stage)
Stage 4: Representing South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
Stage 5: Replication of Mont Ventoux, 22.9 km (finish at Chalet-Reynard, mountain
stage)
Stage 6: Replication of Paris Champs-Élysées loop, 42.8 km (6 laps of the circuit)

However, this divides up into the two new worlds:

A) France World: Including Stages 3, 4, 5
B) Paris World: Just the Paris Champs-Élysées loop of Stage 6

Within the French world, that’s a single cohesive map that you can ride 8 different Zwift Routes, though that includes going over certain roads both directions and loops and such. Essentially there are two loops, and then one out/back to Mont Ventoux.

FRANCE-S3_S4-MARINA(2)

The France routes are as follows:

Casse-Pattes: 14.2mi /22.9km with 508ft/155m
Douce France: 14.9mi /24.0km with 436ft/ 133m
Petite Boucle: 37.8mi / 60.8km with 1,584ft / 483m
La Reine: 14.0mi / 22.5km with 3,953ft / 1,205m (finishes at Mont Ventoux midpoint, Chalet-Reynard)
R.G.V.: 14.9mi / 24.0km with 436ft /133m (Douce France in reverse)
Roule Ma Poule: 14.2mi /22.9km with 508ft / 155m (Casse-Patte in reverse)
Tire-Bouchon: 37.8mi / 60.8km with 1,584ft / 483m (Petite Boucle in reverse)
Ven-Top: 12.9mi / 20.8km with 5,049ft / 1,539m (Mt. Ventoux replica)
Notable: There’s also a road that connects from couple-mile/km long road that connects from the upper loops to the start of the Ven-Top route. It doesn’t have a specific name on the maps, but is included on La Reine.

Phew, got all that? Good. Here’s a few more screenshots of those routes:

Oh, and then there’s the Paris routes. There’s just two of those, simply going forwards and backwards the same loop:

Champs-Élysées: 4.1mi / 6.6km with 127ft / 39m
Lutece Express: 4.1mi / 6.6km with 127ft / 39m (Champs-Élysées in reverse)

The route profile is pretty straight-forward:

PaisOverview

And here’s a gallery of images from it:

Again, these routes will become available as regular guest worlds in the normal Zwift calendar following the conclusion of the Virtual Tour de France, which of course ends later in July. Zwift doesn’t have an exact date, but did note it’s not waiting until the real Tour de France to release these. Also, you’ll be able to ride the specified routes following each pro weekend, as well as within the l’Étape du Tour.

When you ride the France World routes however, it’s notable that your completed workouts will appear overlaid on Strava in New Caledonia, sorta like Watopia appears overlaid on a Pacific Ocean island. However, the Paris Champs-Élysées route will actually overlay atop Paris (like how Richmond does).

Oh, one last thing, Zwift’s Chris Snook did make one final comment about the France map specifically, staying that “For launch, there will be eight routes, but there’s a heap of expansion room in France.”. Just to leave that nugget there…

Wrap-Up:

vtdf-PR-image-Mens-3

Undoubtedly this will dramatically increase visibility for Zwift as a platform, making it more visible via broadcasting to the numerous partner broadcast networks in 130 countries. As a result, it will undoubtedly increase Zwift subscriber numbers. I don’t however think it’ll do much (if anything) for ASO or the Tour de France, except all but the smallest amount of publicity. It will however raise a slight bit of awareness for some of the teams and their sponsors (ideal at a time where many teams are struggling to stay afloat).

But I think the real value here for Zwifters is simply more virtual pavement. While a Tokyo addition was reportedly planned for this summer (tied to the Olympics), that got pushed back till a later date. Instead, now we’ve got two new worlds, one of which sounds like it’ll be expanded upon going further. Though I do think this does probably re-ring the bell on so-called Guest World choice paradigm a bit. Previously you didn’t really have that many overall locales – so having 2 guest worlds + Watopia was fine. But as the number of worlds expands, so does the desire for people to have more flexibility in where they ride. With Zwift numbers dramatically up from where they were earlier this year or 18 months ago when Guest Worlds were announced, it’s probably time to re-visit that.

There’s also the reality that, based largely on self-inflicted communications stumbles this past weekend, a lot of Zwifters are still asking for more focus on current aspects of the game. Teams have been promised for nearly a year, and it’s been three months since the team beta rolled out with no visible expansion beyond a single beta team. And while the new worlds do benefit regular Zwifters, the Tour de France race partnership has brought up questions again on whether Zwift is a software company that services its paying end users, or a media company for occasional race sponsorships. Sometimes those two overlap well, whereas other times their goals appear at odds with each other.

Still, I’m interested in seeing where this goes beyond this year. Will this be a one-off due to COVID-19, or will Zwift and ASO find a way to bring a Tour de France 2021 that still includes pros? Ideally, by that timeframe, the pros are spending their time riding real-world races. Speaking of which, I’d like to see where this can shift next year towards having riders actually race the entire event, so as to make it more similar to the real world Tour de France that ultimately features a single rider standing atop the podium for their efforts over the entire event. Until then though, there’s no doubt this is the biggest event in sports tech, and will likely even take the cake for the biggest esports event as well in terms of global viewership.

With that – thanks for reading!

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62 Comments

  1. Harry Roberts

    it’s likely not broadcasting the Virtual Tour de France.?????????

    Not = Now?

  2. Gareth

    Odd that the race finishes at Chalet Reynard, yet the Ven-top route appears to go to the observatory?

    • Rouleur

      Was going to say the same, why do the screen shots show riders on the final 100-200m to Ventoux observatory when the article says the stage finishes at Chalet Reynard. The route from Bedoin to Reynard is tough but through the forest and not the iconic Ventoux that everyone thinks of.

    • Rouleur

      If you check the profile, in the article, that is to the top of Ventoux (22km) not to Reynard which is only about 15km.

      So it looks like it is indeed the full Ventoux climb.

    • That Stage 5 in the Zwift TdF starts well before Ventoux, which is what makes it confusing. But it definitely only goes to Reynard. The exact route used for that stage is La Reine, which starts off in the rest of the France world and makes it way over to Ventoux.

      The imagery of the top is actually showing l’Etape (you can see it written on the finishing banner).

      I suspect the reason they aren’t finishing at the top is purely for TV reasons (too long including the warm-up).

      🙂

    • Rouleur

      Thanks Ray,

      But presumably the map goes to the top of Ventoux? Otherwise why would they show the Ventoux observatory in the press screen-shots.

      Finishing at Chalet Reynard would be like releasing the Alpe du Zwift and having it finish at Huez Village.

    • Correct, it goes to the top, and is used in l’Etape and the rest of the Zwift France world, it just isn’t used in the TdF race.

      I agree with you, but, I’m also not at Zwift HQ/ASO HQ.

    • Gareth

      maybe its too windy on top for the TV 😉

      Related point: with the observatory on the right hand shoulder of the riders at the summit of Ventoux, it implies theyve ascended from Malaucene not Bedoin otherwise itd be on the left hand shoulder. Im guessing this is a minor error /to make the composition of the picture look good, rather than both ascents.

    • I think that’s actually a valid angle. They just haven’t double-back yet to the parking lot. When I did it, you see that angle right before you make a sharp turn up to the tower.

      Though, not sure why they’d put the banner there, versus at the tower parking lot.

      Also, for those that want a laugh on how young I looked: link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Rouleur

      As you approach the summit from Bedoin, the observatory is on your your right hand side all the way up from Chalet Reynard. Only in the final 100m does after the hairpin and steep final ramp is it on the left.

  3. specialist

    Strange for the pros not to go to the top on Mont Ventoux?

  4. Richard Gate

    This is great news, more Zwift tarmac! Let’s hope they have the Northern ascent of Ventoux already in the works to create a looped route from the valley section.
    Zwift publicity department should have kept the update under wraps until this announcement and save a load of grief from impatient zwifters!

  5. Sam

    > Now, unless you’re one of the pros riding, then you’ll instead want to be riding within the Virtual l’Étape du Tour > de France. Now normally l’Étape is a physical event with around 15,000 riders that can ride a real Tour de France stage each July from that year’s Tour de France. This is typically a mountain stage in the Alps or Pyrenees, and is a one-day affair.

    > However with that cancelled for this year, a virtual version of that will take place in Zwift (literally dubbed Virtual L’Étape du Tour de France).

    Afaik l’Etape du Tour is not canceled, I received a mail last week that it will be hapenning on the six of september (ie this mail snippet in french) :

    ` Comme initialement prévu, la date retenue se situera le weekend suivant le Grand Départ, à savoir le dimanche 6 septembre 2020.`

  6. ubrab

    I wonder if the idea of not allowing riders from the same team to compete on more than 3 stages came from Zwift or was derived from teams’ desires not to have some of their riders “stuck” to competing on Zwift for 6 days over a 3 week period during training camp.
    Still, it’s very disappointing and will likely make the competition a lot less fun to follow.

    • FredOK

      I would guess the rule is so Rohan Dennis doesn’t win all the stages. Which could increase the fun – depending on who you are.

    • Robert Bingham

      I’m sure that’s exactly it. They should have accelerated things and done this earlier so that riders weren;t faced with the immediate realities of the (real) UCI calendar. Still, I think it will be fun to see a different group of pros just kill it for an hour… just for bragging rights 🙂

  7. JimC

    > Spain: Teledeports

    The Spanish channel is “Teledeporte” (aka TDP)

  8. Mike

    L’Étape du Tour isn’t cancelled Ray, it is on the 6th of September

  9. John

    If we join a Discovery ride up Ventoux, will we be allowed to continue riding up and down it as much as we’d like after the first ascent? Sure hope so, as we could move our virtual Everesting attempt the weekend of July 24 from the Alpe to Ventoux to try something new.

  10. DerLordBS

    Ray, Please have a look to your advertising partners. I get hate-ads on your site against migration.

    • That’s not good. I’ve never heard or seen of that, and I don’t accept political ads.

      All ads go through Google Adsense, and they don’t accept them either (hate content of any sort, they do accept political content, but I have that as ‘Not Allowed’). If you’ve got a link or name or such where it went to, I’d love to know so I can at least add a black-list ban there.

    • DerLordBS

      I have send you an mail using your contact form. I can provide a screenshot if needed.

    • Thanks, much appreciated for the detail.

      From that information I was able to find the ad, and block them for showing anything here. I was able to see that specific ad was showing exactly four times on the site. Three times today, and one time on June 10th. I cannot see in Google Adsense which ‘Category’ they belong to oddly, so I’ll follow-up with them if that organization has mis-categorized itself or under some odd category that’s not politics or law/etc…

      Thanks again!

  11. Peter K

    Maybe a little bit off-topic, but apart from the Tokyo world for the Olympics, didn’t they as well plan for a new world for the UCI e-sports world championships (whatever the correct name is).
    Do you already have any news on this?

  12. Jerome

    I am very surprised to see pros and pro teams happy to share racers data such as power/HR….. it is usually a well hidden data and only specific part of it is released when a performance is too outstanding…
    Even if the data is not shown it is send to Zwift so it is there somewhere.

  13. Charles BERTRAND

    Thanks, great post as usual ! When this came out on cyclingnews clear as mud, I was hoping for exactly such a precise and well documented piece.
    Any idea how the virtual bike situation will play out ? Everyone on Zwift/Tron bikes equivalent (maybe disguised for sponsors) or each team will use it’s own bike sponsor as already implemented ? If so I’m Worried for FdJ, No Lapierre in Zwift as far as I can remember… Just hope we won’t have to go through the whole Cam Jeffers charade again, although admitidly, I agree this is mostly a PR thing and results should not be taken too seriously.
    All in all, great news, that Ven Top route is going to be excellent.

  14. giorgitd

    This sentence needs a bit of attention (although I think I know how it will end 🙂 )…Meaning that unlike some of the provisions that would be in place for an in-person Zwift event (such as validated rider weigh-ins or disallowing access to the trainers/power meters).

  15. guy

    Will Zwift be verifying Froome’s treadmill for the Ventoux stage?

  16. Robert

    “Lutece Express: 4.1mi / 6.6km with 127ft / 39m (Champs-Élysées in reverse)”

    Going wrong-side up les Champs, and clockwise around l’Étoile? Don’t people get excommunicated for suggesting something like that?

  17. Chris Moreman

    This is Zwift going too far with Ventoux. Does this now mean that I will need a treadmill in case the camera moto suddenly stops, Richie Porte and I collide with it and then I have to run part of the way up the mountain? Do I then need to attach a yellow child’s mavic bike with the wrong pedals to my home trainer? I mean I simply can’t afford all this new kit.

  18. Nik

    Ineos is going to love this because it opens the door to many additional ways of cheating

  19. Phi

    “on whether Zwift is a software company that services its paying end users, or a media company for occasional race sponsorships”
    Well said, Ray!
    I’m one of those who complained about their really worse communication concerning this update. And I even more complained that they seem to focus on publicity instead of doing a lot of homework concerning their software. Yes, I WILL enjoy the new routes. But I would even more enjoy a lot of bug fixing and enhancements beside new routes. Actually I don’t feel very serviced by them – but they never complained getting my money every month 😉

  20. Matthew

    That last image put a smile on my face. It’s a true replica of the event now.

  21. Paul Tomblin

    Dumb question, but is this instead of the Tour that was rescheduled or well?

    • The Tour is rescheduled to start Aug 29th. They’ve set out numerous measures how they (ASO) believe they’ll be able to execute that.

      I’m pretty skeptical it’ll go on (or if it even makes sense to), but, we’ll see….

  22. mholden

    Super excited about this! Love the new tarmac!!
    thanks for the excellent write up too!!

  23. coach dion

    HI
    First, I’m not a zwift user, and only ride for fun.
    But I love watching TDF
    Now I see on Strava that friends use zwift all the time, and while this virtual TDF is for the pros, wouldn’t it be fun if we could join the race to see if we could ride with the pros?
    So only you could see yourself in the race with the pros, and that would only be open for 50-100km of a stage!

    just a thought… I sometimes feel I could ride with the peloton (ok maybe for only 30min on the flat!)

    keep safe and healthy

    CoachDion

  24. Hoss Pave

    Very helpful, DC, thank you! Heckuva piece of work.

  25. Chris

    I’d quite like Zwift and Strava to work together to sort the maps out properly!

  26. Daniel Walker

    Thanks for this!
    Any info on whether there is a requirement regarding the Trainer Difficulty setting for the virtual TdF?

    • None to my knowledge, but I can check with Zwift.

      I’d love to see that sort of thing actually locked by the race organizer when you enter a given event. I feel like there’s such potential for a ‘Race Organizer Dashboard’, to be able to set all sorts of things like that. Perhaps there already is, but I haven’t heard of it.

      I’ve honestly never understood why it’s even an option in a race. If the goal is realism, then people setting it to 10% Trainer Difficulty just isn’t that. I know it doesn’t technically change your power output, but of course it changes the difficulty of a climb, because you can spin at 100rpm much easier than grinding away at 50 or 60RPM for a hard climb. After all, if there was no difference, then we wouldn’t see racers purposefully setting it crazy low. 😉

    • Ian

      AFAIK there is no difference in power, effectively it just gives lower gearing. Since lower end trainers have lower maximum torque resistance, wouldn’t forcing them to use 100% “difficulty” increase the likelihood of riders exceeding their trainer’s limit and actually getting an advantage? (asking for a friend)

    • Sorta.

      It’s true there’s no difference in pure power to speed in Zwift. However, in reality, there is.

      For most people, they’re more efficient at higher cadences. So if you’re at 10% trainer difficulty, then you can easily spin at a much higher cadence than at 100% on climbs grinding away at 60RPM. As such, many racers will set it super low.

      Personally, I always just set mine for 100%. I’m trying to replicate the terrain, so anything less isn’t doing that.

  27. James Cleary

    Seems nuts to me that Zwift couldn’t do what they did with the London map and have you jump on the metro and appear in Malaucene or Bedoin or wherever, rather than have two discrete maps. I’m keen to ride Zwift’s Ventoux and see what it’s like, but I think If I want the challenge I’ll stick with RGT.

  28. Danny Martin

    Very informative, had seen the advertisement of Zwift , but had created more questions than answers. Good job ,👍

  29. TheStansMonster

    Is the Tour doube-draft or regular? I would assume for all real pro races the would do double.

  30. Andrew

    I’m also curious about the trainer difficulty setting!
    And whether all team’s bikes have the same weight and aero characteristics.
    Lastly whether there is a choice of trainer? Hot tip from Lama on the Kickr Core’s slight overestimation of power at the top end 😜

  31. Ernesto Acosta

    Saturday I rode L’Etape du Tour. The climb to the radio tower was challenging. The course was well designed and the event went without a hitch. Riding with over 5000 other Zwifters was fun and a nice distraction from the current stream of bad news. I am glad that I bought my Wahoo Kickr Core a month before the lockdown. Thank you Zwift for a very enjoyable event and thank you DC Rainmaker for a very comprehensive review. Here is a picture from the event. Yes, I know that I did not post the best of times, but I am old(er) and I am riding with a broken rib and two additional cracked ones. 👍