The competition is being run by Velon, the Tour de Suisse, and the Rouvy Indoor Cycling Reality platform
Cycling organisation Velon has worked with the Tour de Suisse and the Rouvy Indoor Cycling Reality platform to bring viewers The Digital Swiss 5.
The competition will involve world tour teams using their ‘smart’ trainers at home to ride remotely against each other in five races over five days on some of the toughest parts of the Tour de Suisse course.
Each team involved with have three riders, and their live speed, power, and cadence will be measured and displayed. They will be represented by 3D avatars on the virtual racecourse created by Rouvy. In addition, some competitors will have webcams to show their actual faces as they cycle at home.
Invitations have been sent to all teams scheduled to race in the Tour de Suisse this year, which is currently still planning to go ahead in June. With eleven professional teams owning Velon, it is likely that many will accept.
Each race will last roughly an hour, and they will be taking place from 22-26 April. In Switzerland, you will be able to watch them on national broadcaster SRF, and viewers in other countries will be informed soon as to where they can catch the action.
Former Swiss road champion Michael Schär, a member of the CCC team, said: “I like the idea of ‘The Digital Swiss 5’ as a way for riders to interact with fans. This way of online racing is something new and I’m looking forward to seeing how the stages are raced.”
“I am excited to take part and race on some of my training roads. It will be interesting to feel the difference between road racing and virtual racing. Ever since online training became more popular, I have been participating; mostly to stay fit during the cold Swiss winters but also to ride with recreational riders and help motivate each other.”
Sport director of Team Sunweb, Luke Roberts, added: “This is a great e-sports opportunity for us and fans to still engage with racing under circumstances that mean a traditional approach to racing is not possible. For most cycling enthusiasts, riding outside is not permitted and this interactive approach gives professionals and fans alike to still engage with a race in a safe way in the current situation.”
This is just the latest move by a sport to bring an esports offering to the table during the postponements to live events caused by the coronavirus. Nascar has agreed with Fox Sports in the US to show its eNascar series, and the NFL recently also showed a Madden competition on the same channel.