Tour de Suisse, ROUVY and Velon start the first digital race with the best pro teams in the world.
The sports world is currently at a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. The prestigious spring classics are either missing this year, just like the Giro d’Italia, or will be postponed. Of course, in this serious situation, the first priority is to contain the epidemic and to ensure the health of the population. Months without sporting events, there hasn’t been anything like this since the Second World War.
For this reason, the Tour de Suisse, ROUVY and Velon have joined forces to launch a world premiere in digital pro racing. This with the aim of bringing the best teams in the world together to compete against each other on the ROUVY Indoor Cycling Reality platform. In the new racing format, The Digital Swiss 5, riders compete against each other every day on some of the most beautiful Tour de Suisse stages, while complying with all epidemic regulations.
The cycling pros are connected on their racing bikes by smart roller trainers. While the racer sees the track and his position in the race on the monitor in real time and as a real-life video image in front of him, the smart roller trainer puts the respective resistance on the pedals – depending on the topography of the track. Five digital races of about one hour each are planned, to be held from April 22 to 26, 2020. The races, which take place in the late afternoon, are broadcast live by Swiss Radio and Television SRF.
The Digital Swiss 5 will be taken under the wheels by a large number of riders of the UCI WorldTeams. All teams that will be competing in the Tour de Suisse are invited to participate. Drivers are driven on sections of the TdS-2020 route with the help of detailed, realistic route simulations by ROUVY. In these video recordings of the real track, the individual cycling pros are shown as 3D avatar representations in the look of the respective cycling teams – true to their position in the current race. These digital racing images are supplemented by live pictures of the professional cyclists during TV broadcasts. It is planned that one driver per team will set up a camera, which will transmit him live during the race. The races of The Digital Swiss 5 are commented by experts, and Velon delivers performance data live from the living rooms of the cycling pros.
“Actually, I love cycling because it takes place outside and in all weathers” explains Swiss cycling professional Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ). “But in these extraordinary times, when some of my team colleagues can only train in their own homes and all races are cancelled until further notice, such novel digital races are certainly an exciting addition. It is also attractive for our sponsors because it allows them to regain attention”.
“I think it’s a great idea and an incentive for the riders to stay motivated and have a goal that resembles an actual race”, Grégory Rast, Trek-Segafredo’s Sports Director, is convinced. “For our team, the Tour de Suisse is an outstanding, important race. Hopefully this year’s edition will not be cancelled – for me as a Swiss, the Tour de Suisse is the best race in the world”.
And thanks to the new The Digital Swiss 5, cycling fans at home and abroad can finally enjoy a cycling event again. There are also plans for staggered hobby races so that the many hobby drivers can compare their performance with that of the professionals at home.
Despite the Corona crisis, fans can experience their favourite teams and drivers live on TV or online stream. The pros and their teams will be given a platform to present themselves and compete on a sporting level. Exciting races are guaranteed with digital racing pictures, live webcams and commentators. And all this under the motto: Special circumstances require special measures.
The Czech company ROUVY is one of the most popular providers of indoor training software solutions in the cycling community. ROUVY differs from other providers thanks to realistic representations of the route simulations. These are based on real video recordings of the routes. Besides a variety of existing routes like the Furka Pass, the Stelvio or other cycling classics, ROUVY also offers a wide range of virtual events for the benefit of its user community.
Velon offers exclusive access to the best professional cycling teams in the world. The Velon company is owned by the following 11 WorldTour teams: BORA-hansgrohe; CCC Team; Deceuninck – Quick-Step Team; EF Pro Cycling; Lotto Soudal; Mitchelton-SCOTT; Team INEOS; Team Jumbo-Visma; Team Sunweb; Trek-Segafredo; UAE Team Emirates. Velon – from the teams to the fans.
More voices from the WorldTour teams:
Grischa Niermann, coach of the Jumbo-Visma team:
“In these difficult times, when public health is more important than cycling races, we are open to new indoor cycling concepts. Online racing is growing rapidly and we are very excited to see what the digital battles against our competitors will feel like. Not on the street, but this time from home. »
Luke Roberts, sports director, Team Sunweb:
“This is a great e-sports opportunity for us and our fans to continue to engage in racing, in circumstances that mean that a traditional approach to racing is not possible. For most cycling enthusiasts, riding outdoors is currently not permitted and this interactive approach offers professionals and fans the opportunity to compete safely in a racing format under current circumstances”.
Michael Matthews, pro, Team Sunweb:
“These are difficult times for everyone at the moment and this is a really cool way for us to interact with our fans and race when traditional races are not possible. It gives us motivation when everything else is so uncertain at the moment. Personally, I’m really looking forward to watching these digital races and maybe even participating in the new racing format.
Bauke Mollema, professional, Trek-Segafredo:
“I have great memories of the Tour de Suisse, including a stage victory in 2013 and 2nd, 3rd and 5th place overall. I love driving in the mountains and on the Swiss roads. I was looking forward to racing again, but that is uncertain for a long time at the moment.
To stay in shape, I ride for many hours with our Saris Smart Trainer, but I have never taken part in a virtual race. It seems like a great way to stay fit and test my condition against other pros. See you online! »