This year’s UCI season was demolished due to COVID-19 like most other sports. All of the big monuments, classics, and at least 1 Grand Tour (Giro) were postponed. Milan—San Remo, Dauphiné, Paris—Roubaix, and a bunch of others all happening in the fall, if at all this year.
Originally the Tour de France was in that bunch. It normally runs around the fourth of July and Bastille Day, but was pushed with the season nominally continuing in August. Now the UCI and race organizers decided to try something new, running the race in Zwift, a cycling fitness game with real tracks and worlds built in a VR-like environment:
The Virtual Tour de France starts on Saturday July 4, running across three consecutive weekends for a total of six stages. Over the course of the race, there’s a range of terrain from sprints to summit finishes, providing options for riders of all abilities.
Stages one and two are to be held on Zwift’s fictional island of Watopia, but with modifications to its appearance as a nod to Nice, the site of this year’s Grand Départ.
I’m glad they’re doing something to try and capture some of the cycling spirit during this hiatus period. Expectations are pretty low that it’ll be that exciting, but as yet another forced experiment in virtualizing the world, we’ll see what happens.