Van der Poel and Van Der Breggen stand out on Zwift Tour for All start list
Virtual racing kicks off on Monday with flat race on Innsbruck course
Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Anna Van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans) stand out on the start list of Monday's opening race of the virtual five-day Tour for All on Zwift, with Rigoberto Uran in action for EF Pro Cycling, Luke Durbridge for Mitchelton-Scott and Marianne Vos for CCC-Liv in the eSport races.
The men and women will compete in separate races, with women competing before the men, and both races will be broadcast live between 15:00 and 17:00 CEST. Cyclingnews will have full reports and interviews from the races.
Alpecin-Fenix, Bahrain McLaren, CCC Team, Groupama-FDJ, Israel Start-Up Nation, NTT Pro Cycling, Rally Cycling, Team Cofidis, Mitchelton-Scott, EF Pro Cycling are riding the men's races all this week, with Boels Dolmans, Canyon-SRAM, CCC-Liv, Drops, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope, Team Twenty20, Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank, Valcar-Travel & Service and Rally Cycling riding the women's races.
The racing will begin on Monday with a 52.9km race on the flat Innsbruck circuit, while stage 2 will be a 46.2km race on the Richmond 'Cobbled Climb' circuit. The riders will then take on 72.6km on the Watopia world's 'Medio Fondo' loop, the penultimate stage is also held on Watopia featuring 42.8km on 'Sand and Sequoias'. The racing will end on Friday with 'Quatch Quest' a 46.5km race the finishes on the summit of Alpe du Zwift.
Van der Breggen is joined by Amy Pieters, Christine Majerus, Jip Van der Bos and Eva Buurman. Other names to watch for include Alice Barnes (Canyon-Sram) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope).
The professional racing series also kicks off a month-long drive to raise funds for the Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) COVID-19 crisis fund via rides on Zwift. Once 250,000 Zwift users complete one stage of the Tour for All, Zwift will donate $125,000 to the fund.
Each of the ten teams can field up to five riders in each race. Alpecin-Fenix have selected Alex Richardson, Antoine Benoist and Roy Jans alongside Van der Poel. Also on the men's start list are Matej Mohorič (Bahrain McLaren), Mitch Docker (EF Pro Cycling), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel Start-up Nation), while Rally Cycling have selected John Murphy, Ty Magner and Pier-Andre Cote.
The professional races on Zwift adds a new level of competition not seen in the recent Digital Swiss 5 series, where there was no drafting advantage and each stage was a competition of power, favouring the time trialist.
The Tour for All will require more strategy, with the overall winning team being decided on points for placing on each race and points awarded on intermediate sprints. The 'queen stage' which finishes atop the Alpe du Zwift, is worth double points.
The Zwift platform's power-up bonuses add another level of strategy, with riders able to use the bonuses to temporarily gain an aerodynamic, weight or drafting boost or become un-draftable or invisible for sneak attacks.
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Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.