Well we best come clean. This, shockingly, is a big fat April Fool’s joke.
But it has got us thinking; could this become a reality? As many of you have already said in the comments here and on social media, we’d definitely watch the Tour du France on Zwift.
So we’re now wondering how the TdF, or any race for that matter, would run on an eRacing platform. Give us some suggestions down in the comments below.
If you missed the original ruse, it’s here…
Organisers say that the event will be live streamed with daily weigh-ins and height measurements taken
With many races being cancelled, it will come as no surprise that the Tour de France has also had to adapt its plans for 2020.
But in a shock move, ASO announced that it has partnered with Zwift to stage the race in Watopia.
The race will keep its 21-day format and visit London, Richmond, Yorkshire and New York, before heading into the Watopian mountains for a testing two weeks of Alpe du Zwift summit finishes.
Chris Froome gave a mixed response when asked about the move. “I’m feeling ok about this to be honest. I know I’ve got the best ramp test around which will help on Alpe du Zwift. But I saw CyclingTips reporting a new Zwift crash feature. I want that taken out, because I bet my avatar will get hacked and hit the deck in the opening TT.”
NEW: Zwift announces new ‘Crash’ in-game feature: Zwift has had an unexpectedly busy month or two, but has somehow still found time to roll out a new update effective today. A number of small bugs have been fixed, but the marquee announcement is the addition of a new ‘crash’ feature in its repertoire of in-game PowerUps. This feature is now available to verified pro riders, and to premium subscribers now at the $39/mo price tier. The Crash PowerUp works like any other in the world of the game, but is only available to be used in the final 5km of Zwift race events. Pressing the on-screen crash power-up button will send everyone up to 5 seconds behind to the ground in an enormous pile-up of electronic carbon fibre. The first person to deploy this new power-up within the final 5km will get the advantage, but if others have the power-up available to them and use within 0.5 seconds, they will glide through the carnage unscathed. If you as a rider are brought down by the Crash PowerUp, you’ll find yourself out of contention unless you unleash a five second sprint from a standing start at 1000 watts or 12w/kg – whichever comes first. If you can achieve this, you’ll regain your place in the race and be given a ‘Draft’ power-up for the chase back on. Premium subscribers brought down by the Crash will receive the ‘Double Draft’ PowerUp. Zwift co-founder Enrique Min said in a press release accompanying the update that “the crash power-up adds a new element to the Zwift experience and simulates real life racing. Crashing is a part of racing and we’ve had an enormous amount of requests to bring this in-game by the pros who are finding that racing against amateurs tough these days. It also presents a great revenue opportunity to engage our highest valued customers and funnel our sketchiest riders to our Zwift repair shop.” Zwift previously experimented with the in-game ‘lap out’ feature but that proved far too real and prone to abuse from savvy e-racers, just like real racing, and went against the spirit of e-sports.
Geraint Thomas, meanwhile, thinks he’ll have the advantage over his teammate. “Don’t get me wrong, Froomey is one of the most dedicated athletes I know and a great mate. But as I’m a track rider at heart, I reckon I can beat him when all that matters are the numbers.”
“And while he grew up mountain biking around South Africa, I was riding around in circles. In Wales. In December. I think that should give me the mental edge to sit on a sweaty turbo in my front room for six hours per day.”
Not everyone is happy with the move. A large group of Spanish climbers have written to the UCI, demanding that they be allowed to use rocker plates so that they can turbo with panache.
Mikel Landa of Bahrain Merida reacted angrily saying “how am I meant to dance away from the group while nonchalantly holding 450w in the drops without a drop of sweat, when the bike is fixed to the bloody ground. Fuming I am!”
Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme was even more annoyed. When told about the change he was heard to mutter "ah, merde!".
Who are you betting on? And which rider is most likely to use a power-up through the feed zone? Let us know in the comments below. We’re looking forward to seeing the stage profiles when we get them!