Missed the first two stages of the Virtual Tour de France? You missed some exciting racing and the chance to get to know a new bunch of riders from the men's and women's professional peloton. Catch up with our full replays of each stage.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Reuters
7 Jul 2020 - 10:29 PM  UPDATED 8 Jul 2020 - 2:12 AM

Virtual Tour de France coming to SBS screens
Some of the most iconic set-pieces of the Tour de France will be the digital backdrop for the first Virtual Tour de France, with all stages to be streamed on Cycling Central and the final two stages on SBS VICELAND.

Virtual Tour de France Stage 1 Replay 

The Tour de France peloton should have rolled in to Loudenville in the south west of the country on Saturday, instead a virtual version began with riders tackling a 36km computer-generated stage on their home turbo-training bikes.

Cycling on the popular Zwift training platform, the men’s race featuring 23 pro teams and the women’s race, featuring 17, began on the same course.

Many of the top names in cycling are racing in the inaugural virtual Tour, devised to fill the void left by the actual race which usually captivates the world in July but has been put back to the end of August because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a couple of lesser known riders who grabbed the limelight on the first of six stages taking place over three weekends.

South African champion Ryan Gibbons won the first stage of the men’s race, edging out the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and Greg Van Avermaet in the sprint finish.

While the opening stage of the women’s race was won by 19-year-old British rider April Tacey of the Drops team.

Tacey beat a star-studded field that included American world time trial champion Chloe Dygert.

Gibbons said he was “overwhelmed” to have secured the ‘virtual’ yellow jersey for his NTT Pro Cycling outfit.

“I’m truly overwhelmed and this is quite special,” he said. “Every race our team lines up for, whether it’s out on the road or virtual, we do so with a lot of planning, structure and goals. No doubt we will be going to the next five stages trying to replicate today’s success.”

The first stage took in four laps of the 9.1km Watopia hilly reverse course, set on Zwift’s own virtual volcanic island and featuring some characteristics of the Nice stage that will host the Grand Depart on Aug. 29.

Amateur riders will also be able to get involved during the event through the online L’Etape du Tour mass participation races, raced on the same Zwift courses as the pros.

Virtual Tour de France Stage 2 Replay 

Julien Bernard of Trek Segafredo may have never won a stage on the Tour de France but the French rider came out on top in stage two of the men's Virtual Tour de France on Sunday in a closely-contested finish after tackling the 29.5 km Watopia Mountain Route. 

Bernard was behind Australian Freddy Ovett of Israel Start-Up Nation and EF's Michael Woods but caught up with the pair just before the finish line to seal victory in a race with big names such as 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas of Team Ineos also in the mix.

Bernard finished with a time of 41 minutes and 12 seconds along with Ovett, Woods and Nicolas Edet of Cofidis while CCC Team's Patrick Bevin finished fifth a further second behind.

The women's race earlier in the day also featured a dramatic finish, with Lauren Stephens of Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank winning on the final sprint ahead of four others with a time of 47 minutes and 32 seconds.


 

Here's how to watch the remaining stages of the Virtual Tour de France:  

Saturday 11th July, Stage 3: North-East France, 48 km (2 x 24 km laps, flat stage) – France R.G.V. Route

LIVE streaming - 23:00 - 01:00 (AEST) - via SBS On Demand and Cycling Central

Sunday 12th July, Stage 4: South-West France, 45.8 km (2 x 22.9 km laps, hilly stage) – France Casse-Pattes Route

LIVE streaming - 23:00 - 01:00 (AEST) - via SBS On Demand and Cycling Central

Saturday 18th July, Stage 5: Mont Ventoux, 22.8 km (finish at Chalet-Reynard, mountain stage) – France La Reine Route

LIVE on SBS VICELAND and live streaming - 23:00 - 01:00 (AEST) - via SBS On Demand and Cycling Central

Sunday 19th July, Stage 6: Paris Champs-Elysées, 42.8 km (6 laps of the circuit) – Paris Champs-Elysées Route

LIVE on SBS VICELAND and live streaming - 23:00 - 01:00 (AEST)  - via SBS On Demand and Cycling Central