Heading into the weekend we are gearing up for stages three and four of the Virtual Tour de France where you can expect a game of two halves. Both the men’s and women’s pelotons will sign-up their team’s power houses as they’ll face a fast, flat stage on Saturday. Whilst Sunday’s stage will see them swap to their climbing bikes and enlist their puncheurs for Zwift’s very own version of a French ‘casse-pattes’.
It’s going to be another star-studded startlist with the likes of Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo), Elia Viviani (Cofidis), Chloé Dygert (Team TWENTY20), Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Team CCC-Liv). The women’s peloton will see 16 of the world’s elite teams take to the startline with 23 of the men’s top teams being represented.
As was the case with last week’s stages there are plenty points up for grabs, with jerseys being awarded for GC, K/QOM, Sprint and Young Rider, with the team leading the team classification having yellow markers on their virtual jerseys. Expect increased tactics this week as Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank and NTT Pro Cycling Team fight to protect their yellow jerseys.
This week the peloton leaves the virtual world of Watopia and heads to a newly created 'native' virtual France, a debut course created by Zwift especially for this historic event. Racers will tackle two laps of the fast R.G.V. circuit. Starting in the flatlands of virtual France there will be plenty of opportunity for the sprinters to test their legs and pick up green jersey points with two intermediate sprints up for grabs per lap, the first of them comes after 11.9km with the Pavé Sprint Reverse. But sprinters will need to recover fast as the first Q/KOM point opportunity comes less than 2km later with the Category 3 climb: 'Aquaduc Reverse'. The second Skoda green jersey sprint point comes next with the Ballon Sprint Reverse. The race finishes at the R.G.V marina at the end of the second lap. Expect to see Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank and NTT Pro Cycling working hard during the day’s stage to protect their green jerseys.
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Stage four sees the race move from the virtual French flatlands to slightly more challenging terrain. This day will be a day for the puncheurs. If you loved the castles and quaint French town of R.G.V., then there’s more of that in store during Casse-Pattes. This route starts off on the flat with a brief opportunity for the sprinters to score points in the green jersey classification at the Pavé Sprint Reverse. Following this, the racers will tackle two Category 3 climbs, the Aquaduc KOM Reverse followed by the longer Petit KOM. Racers then descend quickly back to the R.G.V. marina finish line where they will begin their second and final lap. The rolling terrain of Stage four could provide the perfect opportunity for the breakaway specialists but expect Drops Cycling and Israel Start-Up Nation to be ready to fight to the top of the climbs as they attempt to keep their polkadot jerseys.
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Images will be available during both races, both days and will be uploaded in real time during and after the race. For images click here
To register interest for post-race interviews via Zoom, please contact Hannah Troop
A full list of broadcasters for the Virtual Tour de France can be found here