From a driveway in the UK, Lauren Stephens put in a massive sprint through Paris, France, to win the sixth and final stage of the Virtual Tour de France. The effort helped Team TIBCO-SVB clinch the overall title of the inaugural race.
How do you land on a podium in Paris when riding on a trainer across the English Channel?
The answer lies in a combo of technology and our cycling community’s love for riding and racing together. When COVID-19 forced the rescheduling of the Tour de France–the grandest of Grand Tours which started in 1903 and has run every consecutive July since the end of World War II– organizers opted to get creative and still make some sort of event happen.
Race promoters ASO partnered with Zwift, a virtual racing platform that is basically an intense trainer workout combined with Mario Kart.
Using the online riding game, the best racers from around the connected in the virtual world dug deep on special edition courses like Mont Ventoux and the virtual Champs-Élysées.
While Stephens hammered away in the UK driveway, her teammate Kristen Faulkner had a slightly different backdrop, looking out her garage door in Alaska. Sarah Gigante joined from a hemisphere away in Australia, while Nina Kessler punished the trainer at her home in the Netherlands. Emily Newsom and Leah Dixon also rode the race making it a truly international effort from a team that boasts a talented roster from around the globe
“This is the biggest event, the biggest race that we’ve done, and so to be able to perform as a team on this size of stage for the sponsors has been incredible,”
said Rachael Hederman, the sports director for Team TIBCO-SVB.
Adding to the “incredible” factor:
Stephens is now the number one ranked rider in the world on the Zwift Power Rankings.
It’s a great confidence boost and some serious momentum that she and the team can take off the trainers and back onto the road, as the UCI Women’s World Tour starts rolling on real roads once again.
Voler proudly provides the finest American-Made custom racing kits for Team TIBCO-SVB. From the Smart Trainer to The Olympic Training Center to the Mountains of Italy and the Cobbles of Belgium, we’ve got them covered all season long.