Strap in — a virtual Tour de France kicks off this weekend on the online racing platform Zwift – TipsClear
The epidemic has wreaked havoc on all types of professional sports this year, and cycling has not been immune. For example, the most famous race on the planet, the Tour de France, which was usually staged in July, had to be pushed back from 20 September to 29 August.
This does not mean that the world – and professional cyclists – cannot enjoy world-class racing this summer. In fact, this coming weekend, 23 top men’s teams and 17 women’s teams will participate in a virtual version of the event, hosted by six-year-old Jewft, chosen by the official race organizer of the original tour After leaving, Amauri Sport Organization (ASO), as its partner in the event.
It is a coup for Long Beach, California. The company, whose multiplayer video game technology is used by amateur and pro cyclists and according to Outside magazine, is now the largest player in the growing online racing world.
Investors have so far funded the company $ 170 million, says Eric Min, cofounder and CEO.
The tour has the ability to run many more users in its own way.
For one thing, a virtual version of the event, which will have six stages lasting approximately six hours over the next three weekends starting this Saturday – with the first phase of women taking place immediately followed by men – over Will be broadcast in 130 countries. (In the U.S., it will be broadcast on NBC Sports.) It’s hard to imagine a different way for a company like Ewift To get exposure so quickly.
The race is also open to any cyclists on their platform who want to race on the same roads as the pros, meaning that anyone who wants to “compete” in this virtual tour, sign up for an account There is a need to do this, although it is worth noting a few things. .
First, not only mortals will be racing at the same time as cyclists in the tour, but during mass participation events, which will intensely give them a chance to experience what the professionals did and actually Compare their power, heart rate, rhythm and other data to their pro-riding heroes.
Also, signing up is not free. Users can check the platform for a free, seven-day trial, but after that, Zwift costs $ 15 per month (although the Pause button is pressed on their accounts whenever they are spending more time , Says Min).
Riders also need a smart trainer, which costs around $ 300. Zwift doesn’t make its own trainers – yet – but its software works with the hardware of a dozen or so companies.
Unexpectedly, Min looked both excited and terrified when he caught up with us last week to talk about the race, whose first two stages will be held in Zwift’s current sports world, Vatopia, with the other stages being real. Virtual versions of the courses will be orchestrated. Race.
Although Zwift has staged the first virtual race – including Giro d’Italia, originally the Tour de France for Italy and the Vielta a España at an annual multi-stage race in Spain – it is “no bigger than Don’t get “,” said Min, who told us that he was considered with the ASO six weeks ago and since that time Zwift has been working furiously to prepare for the race.
This can prove to be a turning point for the organization. It already has about two million accounts, and while customer ebbs and flows depend on the time of year, a virtual tour is an opportunity for some of those riders to “reengage”, says Min, that Zwift 50 percent The year is increasing year over year, and the epidemic as a whole has seen a pick-up boom.
Zwift doesn’t just cater to competitive athletes, with Min stressing that more than half of the company’s customers are overweight and that, unlike Peleton, its customers are less for specialized coaches and consider being part of a club Are more attracted to where they can participate in events, for example, either publicly or through private rides, in which they share maps with friends with each other, and compete with each other Can. (“Zwifters,”) as they are called, also engage with each other on the tracking device Strava, which they use to capture their real-world and virtual rides, Min says.)
Either way, both amateur rider and professional racer undoubtedly have high expectations of the tour, even if it comes with more inherent challenges, including less time to get away from fellow riders than real-world tours where each The phase can take five or six hours.
Min thinks that Zwift is ready. On our call, he talked about the Zwift, so as to walk through software calculations, for example, the weight and body mass of a rider and the area they are in and whether a rider received drafts from riders from the front Doing, including, creating drag. Apply resistance to the machine or reduce it, is one that gives the rider a sense of speed, and inertia, and is going downhill – fast.
“this Absolutely right Like outdoor riding, “Min said, but combined with the software’s visual tools meant to fool the mind,” it becomes very beautiful.
At least the software, including tour maps, is now largely done, Min said. Now, Zwift is making sure its broadcast equipment works, among other last-minute preferences. “We’ll do some dry runs [this] Week. He then added, “He said that” the stakes are high. It has to be solidified. “