Today’s stage named ‘casse-pattes’ which translates to ‘leg-breaker’ truly lived up to its name. A video collage of grimaces could be seen across rider’s faces live from many of their homes around the world. Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank and NTT Pro Cycling Team went in racing aggressively to protect their GC lead, which by the end of the 45.8km race their tactics paid off and we’ll see them line up for the final weekend with the yellow jersey. Both races saw reduced bunch sprints with April Tacey (Drops Cycling) taking her second win of the Virtual Tour de France and Freddy Ovett (Israel Start-Up Nation) finally managing to pull off a win for his team after closely missing out last weekend.
The women’s race saw many of the big names out the back of the bunch on the first lap as the pace was high into the first set of QOMs. The second lap saw riders such as Chloé Dygert and Chantal Blaak yo-yo in and out of the front group down to some strong attacks at the front. In the last 4km Sarah Gigante (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) attacked with her teammate, Lauren Stephens, seemingly to chase her down. Confusing tactics at first soon became clear when their increased speed managed to whittle the bunch down to only 5 riders but with under 2km to go the bunch came back together with 11 riders going into the sprint. Leah Dixon (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) went early in the mad dash to the line to have April Tacey pull ahead of her in the last few meters to take the win. Whilst Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank stay ahead in the GC, Drops Cycling’s aggressive defence of the polkadot jersey saw them keep it going into the final weekend but also collecting the white jersey through Tacey’s impressive performance. Canyon//SRAM Racing will continue their defence of the green jersey into next weekend.
The men’s race was another hour of full-gas racing with NTT Pro Cycling Team active in keeping the pace high leading the peloton to split over the KOMs on the first lap. Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) made an impressive attack, although in vain, with 20km to go bagging him most combative rider of the day. Whereas Daniel Turek was highly commended by his teammate and stage winner, Freddy Ovett, for helping him deliver on their team tactics. On the final descent a group of 7 managed to pull out a lead of 10 seconds, with Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) going hard into the final right hand corner towards the line but was unable to hold off Ovett (Israel - Start-Up Nation) coming over the top in the last few meters to take the win. Going into the final weekend Israel - Start-Up Nation hold the polkadot jersey whereas NTT Pro Cycling Team are the team to chase down next week holding the yellow, green and white jerseys.
The most combative riders of the day were April Tacey (Drops Cycling) and Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo).
“It feels amazing to win another stage, that race was really, really hard, coming into that last hill I nearly lost it, there was a 4 second gap and there were about 5 of us off that front group and we just worked together as a group, I used my aero power-up and we luckily managed to get back on with about 1.5km to go. I can’t believe I then managed to win the sprint.
“You will definitely see me on the Champs-Élysées next weekend, it’s going to be amazing to actually ride the Champs-Élysées, even though it’s virtual it’s still going to be amazing to get to ride it.”
“It means a lot to win, I think everyone knows I enjoy Zwifting, I was close last weekend, I thought I had it but Bernard got me just on the line, so chapeau to him. But this is my last Zwift race for a while, I’ve got to start and go and do some proper racing on the real roads so there’ll be no more power-ups at the top climbs, it’s back to reality.
“I live in Girona, Spain and we were in lockdown for two months so before that I didn’t do Zwift at all, then after two weeks I hopped on and started riding with my mates and absolutely loved it to be honest. I just found it such a great tool to get some quality training done and I just raced week-in-week-out. It is a game, you have to learn the ins and outs of it but to be honest I don’t think it’s as complicated as people make it, you start hard, continue hard, finish hard, that’s it. It’s a fantastic training aid and I’m a massive fan of it. I think it’s fantastic.”
Full Women's Overall Standings can be found here
Full Men's Overall Standings can be found here