Haute Route has announced its first foray into the digital riding realm, launching a three-day event with Zwift on the platform's fictional Watopia course. The Haute Route Watopia will run from April 3-5.
The pivot to virtual riding comes as numerous countries have come under some form of lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Several, including France, Italy and Spain have varying prohibitions on cycling outdoors, leading to a boom in indoor cycling.
Signing up for the event is free and open right now. Each of the event's three stages will run five times a day – at 9am, 11am, 3pm, 6pm and 8pm (all CEST).
Haute Route have treated the new event as they would their portfolio of real-life rides such as the Dolomites, Alps and Pyrenees. There's a rider's roadbook and complete training programme in conjunction with PKRS. Riders who complete the event will receive an exclusive Haute Route kit created by Le Col.
Each finisher will also get to participate in a game for a Haute Route package including entry to an event plus accommodation and massages after each stage.
"Challenge yourself over three consecutive days on Watopia, Zwift's virtual volcanic island," reads Haute Route's description of the event.
"Blending the fun of video games with the intensity of serious training, connect to cyclists around the world from your home, day or night, regardless of the weather, and compete against them in the Haute Route Watopia.
"Each stage will be run across multiple time zones to make Haute Route Watopia a truly global stage event but the three stages must be completed back to back."
Haute Route Watopia's three stages
Three Sisters: 48.3km with 896.7m of elevation. This stage covers all three Watopian climbs – the Hilly KOM, Epic KOM and Volcano KOM.
Tour of Ice and Fire: 25.1km with 1166m of elevation. This stage starts on the Volcano Circuit and ends with the Road to Sky climb.
The Pretzel: 72.2km with 1333m of elevation. This stage takes in what was originally the longest, most challenging route on Zwift, with two big climbs along the way.
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