Virtual Tour de France: Will Clarke claims final stage

Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) in the UAE Tour stage 4
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo) won the sixth and final stage of the Virtual Tour de France, which saw riders take on six laps of a pixelated version of the Champs-Élysées. The Australian beat Filippo Ganna (Ineos) and Ryan Gibbons (NTT) to the line in a bunch finish.

“Last week I went too early in the sprint and I figured out how early I went and made sure this week I timed it right. It was still hard to pass everyone, I came from a long way back,” said Clarke, the second Trek-Segafredo rider to win a stage after Julien Bernard.

“Julien started if off really well. After that, the goal was to finish up there in the classification and to try and win one more stage. Two wins is a good result for the team.”

Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) led out the sprint but he was overhauled by Edvald Boasson Hagen (NTT) as the virtual Arc de Triomphe came into view.

Boasson Hagen, however, was caught and passed in the closing metres as riders availed of the variety of ‘power-ups’ on the Zwift platform and timed their final efforts accordingly.

The overall classification of the inaugural Virtual Tour de France was won by the NTT team, whose owner Doug Ryder feted the achievement.

“To win the first virtual Tour de France is great for our team,” Ryder said. “NTT has put a lot of work into this. For ASO to put this event on, this is definitely going to stay. We are super excited to have won this first virtual Tour de France.”

The virtual peloton featured Chris Froome, who has worn the maillot jaune down the real Champs-Élysées on four occasions. The Briton is currently training at Mount Teide in preparation for the real Tour de France and, like others patching in to compete from altitude, he lost contact with the front group in the early part of the race.

Some 30 or so riders were still in contention on the final lap of the race, where Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) and the strong NTT delegation were to the fore. With a little over 1.5km to go, the Groupama-FDJ duo of Benjamin Thomas and Bruno Armirail launched a coordinated attack and they held a small lead coming into the final kilometre, only for Boasson Hagen to snuff out the move.

The Norwegian kicked again after Coquard had opened the sprint, but he was swarmed in the closing metres, where Clarke timed his final effort to perfection to claim the win.

“It is really hard,” Clarke said. “Basically, I had to do 400W for an hour and then sprint at the end. There are a lot of spikes and surges – sometimes you're pushing over 500 or 600W to try and not get dropped. Half the thing is staying far enough to the front that you don't get dropped.”

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Will Clarke (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:51:44
2Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Ineos
3Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
4Rasmus Tiller (Nor) NTT Pro Cycling
5Matteo Dal-Cin (Can) Rally Cycling
6Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling
7Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
8Nickolas Zukowsky (Can) Rally Cycling
9Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) NTT Pro Cycling
10Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC Team
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General classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1NTT Pro Cycling 500
2Rally Cycling 267
3Trek-Segafredo 232
4EF Pro Cycling 211
5Team Ineos 175
6Israel Start-Up Nation 161
7Mitchelton-Scott 139
8Alpecin-Fenix 138
9Groupama-FDJ 112
10AG2R la Mondiale 105
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Points classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1NTT Pro Cycling 293
2Alpecin-Fenix 143
3Mitchelton-Scott 140
4CCC Team 111
5Trek-Segafredo 92
6Rally Cycling 87
7EF Pro Cycling 83
8Groupama-FDJ 60
9Israel Start-Up Nation 59
10Cofidis 57
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Mountains classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1NTT Pro Cycling 62
2EF Pro Cycling 30
3Israel Start-Up Nation 28
4Alpecin-Fenix 23
5Team Ineos 16
6Rally Cycling 13
7Cofidis 10
8AG2R la Mondiale 9
9Groupama-FDJ 5
10Mitchelton-Scott 4
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Young riders classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1NTT Pro Cycling 51
2Team Ineos 47
3Groupama-FDJ 38
4Rally Cycling 31
5Trek-Segafredo 28
6Lotto Soudal 27
7Cofidis 22
8Mitchelton-Scott 19
9Alpecin-Fenix 18
10EF Pro Cycling 17

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