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Virtual Tour de France: Gibbons and Tacey power to inaugural victory

Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling Team) claimed victory in the men’s race of the opening stage of the inaugural Virtual Tour de France on Saturday. The South-African rider made the most of his sprinting abilities and Zwift’s power-ups to edge Pier-André Coté (Rally Cycling). NTT lead the general classification. Earlier in the afternoon, the young British rider, April Tacey outpowered Kristen Faulkner (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) in the final sprint to earn her team, Drops Cycling, the overall lead ahead of Stage 2 tomorrow. Drops Cycling leads Tibco-Silicon Valley Banks by 71 points to 70.

A virtual pack of 144 riders took on stage 1 of the Virtual Tour de France on Saturday. Men and women were to cover 4 laps on a 9.1km circuit emulating the outskirts of Nice, where the Tour de France will start on August 29. A perfect ground for intense and thrilling racing as part of the solidarity events aiming to raise funds for charity partners.

Ladies ride first and Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT) quickly shows her ambitions with an early move on this hilly route. She scores the first points for the Queen of the Mountain in the first lap. But Joscelin Lowden (Drops) outpowers her in the next two ascents. The two riders battle it out in the final ascent of the day, and Magnaldi pushes 11 watts/kg to edge Lowden right at the summit.

A small group gets back around them in the final 2km, setting a fast and furious run in to the line. The time-trial World champion Chloé Dygert (Twenty20) gets in the mix but she fades while the young British April Tacey (Drops) perfectly times her aero power-up to take victory on the line ahead of Kristen Faulkner (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank).

With Lowden also finishing inside the top 10 (8th), Drops lead the general classification with 71 points, just ahead of TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank (70 pts).

The men’s race starts right afterwards and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) immediately puts the hammer down to lead the way to the first intermediate sprint. Dan McLay (Arkéa Samsic) and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (NTT Pro Cycling) try to break away one after the other but the bunch doesn’t let anyone go until the final showdown.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT Pro Cycling Team), who had already displayed aggressive intents in the climbs, tries to anticipate the sprint but a raging bunch gets back to him… And his teammate Ryan Gibbons flies to victory, emulating April Tacey with a perfect use of the aero power-up. Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott) finishes third ahead of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).

With Edvald Boasson Hagen holding on to 6th place, NTT lead the general classification with 80 points, just one more than Rally Cycling. Alpecin-Fenix are third with 72 points.

How to power-up to victory Power-ups proved essential on stage 1 and will be a major feature of the rest of the Virtual Tour de France. The aero power-up used by today’s winners makes them more aerodynamics for 15 seconds. The other power-ups available can improve a rider’s drafting, make him undraftable, reduce his weight or make him invisible.

How to power-up to victory

Power-ups proved essential on stage 1 and will be a major feature of the rest of the Virtual Tour de France. The aero power-up used by today’s winners makes them more aerodynamics for 15 seconds. The other power-ups available can improve a rider’s drafting, make him undraftable, reduce his weight or make him invisible.

Virtual Tour de France 2020 - Stage 1 : Highlights

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