Virtual Tour de France: Clarke and Stephens claim glory in Paris

The 6th and final stage of the Virtual Tour de France has seen victories from Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) and the wearer of the yellow jersey Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank). The Australian rider, Clarke outsprinted Filippo Ganna (Ineos) and the men’s yellow jersey Ryan Gibbons, whose team NTT Pro Cycling dominates the overall standings at the end of this first edition. In the women’s race, the American team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank sealed the overall victory.

Bonjour Paris! The 6th and last stage of the Virtual Tour de France gathers 147 riders (63 women and 84 men) for six laps on the 6.6km circuit of the Champs-Élysées, replicated on Zwift as part of the solidarity events aiming to raise funds for charity partners. Among them, Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) already knows the taste of victory in Paris, where she won La Course by Le Tour in 2014.

The women’s peloton quickly tackles the Parisian roads and sets a high pace due to the intermediate sprints on each lap. Dani Christmas (Lotto Soudal) could already be spotted at the front yesterday on the Mont Ventoux and she’s still riding aggressively in a very different setting: the British rider pushes more than 5 watts/kg in the first kilometres. And she’s still there to dominate the final two intermediate sprints with power outputs higher than 8 watts/kg.

About 20 riders remain in the front group as they tackle the final lap, en route to a sprint royale on the Champs-Élysées. With a maximum power of 13.1 watts/kg, Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) claims a prestigious win with the yellow jersey on her shoulders, ahead of April Tacey (Drops Cycling) and Georgia Simmerling (Twenty20).

This stage win seals Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank’s domination in the overall standings. The American team wins the first edition of the Virtual Tour de France with 499 points, ahead of Twenty20 (306 pts) and Drops Cycling (292 pts).

The men’s race follows a similar pattern, with an increasing pace as the laps go by. The yellow jersey Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling) leads the peloton himself halfway through the race, averaging 5.4 watts/kg in the first 25km.

The Belgian Gijs Van Hoecke (CCC Pro Team) hunts the intermediate sprints while Chris Froome (Ineos) returns to competitive racing from the Mount Teide, on the Canaries Islands. The intensity of the pace brings the bunch down to 34 riders for the final lap.

Bruno Armirail and Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ) try to break away with 1km to go. Their move is covered by Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling Team), used to finishing in the top 5 of the final Tour de France stage on the Champs-Élysées. But the Norwegian star can’t fend off his rivals and Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) takes the win ahead of Filippo Ganna (Ineos) and Gibbons.

NTT Pro Cycling dominate the overall standings with 500 points at the end of the first Virtual Tour de France. Rally Cycling follow with 267 points and Trek-Segafredo round the podium (232 points).

Virtual Tour de France 2020 - Stage 6 - Highlights

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