The Virtual Le Tour

The Virtual Le Tour

I love Zwift and Le Tour, putting them together can only be good, right? Recently professional cyclists used Zwift to race in a multi-day virtual competition to bypass the current pandemic protocols. With the real Tour only a few weeks away, and very few races this year taking place besides the Dauphine, the Virtual Le Tour is filling a gap of sorts for cycling fans. Of course, many of the strategies that play out in a bike race have no place in a competition where everyone is going balls out from start to finish, but it’s a fun watch if you’re into these sorts of things.

One of the coolest perks of Zwift is seeing how you actually compare to professional cyclists. I always wonder what might happen if I encountered one on the road. I assume they’d blow past me, but how fast? Watching this series showed me how fast. I typically ride at 100 watts whereas many of these cyclists pump out anywhere between 200 and 400 watts for up to five hours at a clip. It’s insane how peak mentally and physically you have to be to compete in professional cycling. Part of that is why I spectate, the other part the scenic views from the race. Regarding the latter, I’ve never been to France but I’ve seen a ton of it while watching the race. If I ever go I have a list of things I want to see. Zwift did include some of the French landmarks into the race, and today you can race those courses in the app itself.

Some fun stuff I noticed that they included was the sound of a helicopter during aerial views of the peloton, just like the broadcast. I thought that was pretty funny. It was also interesting seeing the insides of the cyclist’s own apartments and garages. Clearly some teams took it very seriously and prepared competition areas to gather the team around, while others just pumped out the jams solo in their living spaces.

Being a pro cyclist seems like an awesome gig now a days. It’s fun listening to the old riders talk about the days (really not too long ago) when cyclists washed their own team kits and relied on local hotels and restaurants for hospitality. Today sports science has infiltrated pro cycling, so team chefs now prepare meals and tour buses provide consistent lodging. Of course at home all of these things are there for you, but I guess many of these riders want to get back on the road. I do wonder what is easier for them though, Zwift riding or in real life?

Aerial View of Virual Le Tour
Aerial View of Virual Le Tour
400 Watts and Counting
400 Watts and Counting
Grid View Of Cyclists Riding Trainers
Grid View Of Cyclists Riding Trainers
Fly In Of Peloton
Fly In Of Peloton
Inside View Of Cyclist's Garage
Inside View Of Cyclist’s Garage
The Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe
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