Pit yourself against the pros in the Tour de France this weekend. (zwift.com)

In time of the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19, even the biggest cycling race in the world is not spared. Instead of the usual July grand depart, the official Tour de France has been postponed to start from Nice in France on August 29th, and will end in Paris on September 20th.

The organisers of the grand tour has decided to give cyclists around the world the first and unique opportunity to race with the world professionals on the same roads, in a virtual l’Étape du Tour de France starting this weekend in July.

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The 3 stages of the Virtual l’Etape du Tour de France (16 sessions spread over each weekend):
• 4th and 5th July, Stage 1: Nice, 29.5 km (682 m of ascent, mountain stage)
• 11th and 12th July, Stage 2: South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
• 18th and 19th July, Stage 3: Mountain stage, 22.9 km (finish at Chalet-Reynard)

Cycling enthusiasts will even get to win all jerseys ala Tour de France classifications. All riders in the race will be eligible to score points for their team in each of the respective categories. The teams leading the classifications will have the freedom to nominate one rider to wear the iconic jerseys for the following stage.

(letour.fr)

For the professionals, the Virtual Tour de France will be held over six stages, each around an hour in duration. First, the women’s stage followed by the men on identical courses and over the same distance.

Stages 1 and 2 will be held on Zwift’s biggest map, the fantasy volcanic island of Watopia.  Stages 3, 4 and 5 will be held on an entirely new French map designed specifically for the Virtual Tour de France. Stage 5 is marked as the Queen Stage, and one for the climbers, with a summit finish at Chalet Reynard. Stage 6 will see the racers take to the iconic Champs-Élysées, finishing in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

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The 6 stages of the Virtual Tour de France:
• Saturday 4th July, stage 1: Nice, 36.4 km (4 x 9.1 km, hilly stage)
• Sunday 5th July, stage 2: Nice, 29.5 km (682 m of ascent, mountain stage)
• Saturday 11th July, stage 3: North-East France, 48 km (flat stage)
• Sunday 12th July, stage 4: South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage)
• Saturday 18th July, stage 5: Mountain stage, 22.9 km (finish at Chalet-Reynard)
• Sunday 19th July, stage 6: Paris Champs-Elysées, 42.8 km (6 laps of the circuit)

23 Men’s Teams and 16 Women’s Professional Teams Confirmed. Confirmed names include Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, Christopher Froome, Julian Alaphilippe, Richie Porte, Greg Van Avermaet, Mathieu Van der Poel, Nairo Quintana, Mads Pedersen, Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet for the men’s race.

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Chloé Dygert, Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Marianne Vos, Coryn Rivera, Marta Bastianelli, Lisa Brennauer, Kirsten Wild, Elisa Balsamo, Tiffany Cromwell, Audrey Cordon Ragot, Elizabeth Deignan will star the line-up for the women’s race. Racing will be broadcasted to over 130 countries worldwide over the 3 weekends.

For more information on the virtual race, and how to sign up visit the website here.