Sports | June 29, 2020 12:49 pm

A Virtual Tour de France Is Starting on July 4th on Zwift

The real Tour de France is currently scheduled to start in August

Colombia's Tour de France winner Egan Bernal cycles amidst young local riders on July 31, 2019
Tour de France winner Egan Bernal [yellow] cycles with young riders on July 31, 2019.
Vincent Jannink/ANP/AFP via Getty

Prior to the start of the rescheduled Tour de France on August 29, a virtual version of cycling’s biggest race will be held over three weekends starting in July.

Taking place on Zwift, an online platform allowing runners, cyclists and triathletes to virtually train on real routes from home, the virtual version of the race will be attended by 23 top men’s teams and 17 high-ranking women’s teams, according to Outside.

The last three male Tour winners — Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal — are also all confirmed to participate.

Slated to be Zwift’s biggest event to date, the virtual Tour de France will start on July 4 and be held over six stages that each take roughly an hour to complete with men and women racing separately on identical courses, according to Engadget. As in the real race, riders will be competing for the green (best sprinter), polka dot (best climber), white (best rookie) and yellow (overall winner) jersey with every category coming down to points, a change from the actual event.

“Whenever we get equal opportunities as the men, that gets the women’s peloton and women’s racing fans really excited,” current Women’s U.S. National Champion Ruth Winder told Outside. “And I think that this could have even more viewers because it is the Tour and it is July and people will be missing that.”

Though the broadcast times are still TBD, the virtual event will be shown on NBC Sports in the U.S. and in more than 130 countries overall.

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