Movistar is building a new e-racing team and you could be a part of it. The Spanish WorldTour team has partnered with Zwift to create the Movistar Team Challenge, a series of four qualifying rounds of virtual racing that will help the team find five men and five men to make up the all-new Movistar E-Team.
The successful riders will walk away with a one-year contract with Movistar’s all-new e-racing team, which will come with a host of additional benefits besides the WorldTour kudos. Despite the lack of a paid salary, each rider will be assigned a Movistar Team-issue Canyon bike, both in-game and in real life; a Movistar-edition Elite Direto XR turbo trainer; full Movistar Team kit, including Le Coq Sportif casual wear, Abus helmet and 100% sunglasses; as well as a selection of tech including a Garmin computer.
In addition to the swag, riders will also have access to the team’s behind-the-scenes staff including coaches, nutritionists, physios, as well as the opportunity to join team training camps to ride with the team’s stars.
The team has hand-selected 300 of the "best-ranked racers" currently racing on Zwift to take part, but there is an open qualifier available to the public from which 12 people will progress to join the pre-selected 300.
For those interested in joining, more information can be found here.
The open qualifying round will take place on 3 February, on which two races will be held for men, and two for women, allowing different time zones to compete. The top three riders from each race will progress, for a total of 12 riders.
The 300 hand-picked riders will then join at the second phase, marking the official beginning of the Movistar Team Challenge.
In part two, the Invitational Races will see the 156 men and 156 women whittled down to just 50 over the course of two races. Stage three - the Selection Races - will see the 50 reduced to 20 over a further two races, making for a total of 40 riders reaching the finals. At this stage, a series of physical challenges will be undertaken, and GCN presenters will conduct live interviews to deduce the rider’s personality. At the end of this process, five men and five women will be selected.
The resulting Movistar E-Team will then focus primarily on the Zwift Racing League as well as “other e-sports events”.
The team is yet to confirm if any of its existing WorldTour riders will also partake in virtual racing.
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- How to train to win a Zwift race
Riders from all WorldTour teams have taken to indoor cycling in its various guises over the past 12 months, some simply as a means to access training during lockdown, others partook in real racing’s virtual replacement events such as the Virtual Tour de France, while a few have continued to race in the amateur scene.
However, the move makes Movistar the first WorldTour team to allocate time and budget to running an e-sports team alongside its WorldTour commitments.
“Movistar E-Team is a step further in the corporate strategy of Abarca Sports, managers of the Movistar Team,” explained Juan Pablo Molinero, chief marketing officer at the team. “Virtual cycling is a great opportunity and the ultimate content creator in cycling. The Movistar E-Team will enlarge our audience and “contact points” with our fans. We cannot wait to begin this adventure. Being the first WorldTour team to have its own E-Team is an amazing opportunity.”
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