Digital Swiss 5 Series Aiming to Keep Cycling Enthusiasts Engaged
17 Apr, 2020
Many of the world’s top professional cycling teams have confirmed their participation in The Digital Swiss 5 series of races, which has been created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ‘keep fans engaged in the sport and give riders an opportunity to compete against each other.’
The series, scheduled for April 22-26, is a collaboration between Velon and the organisers of the Tour de Suisse together with the ROUVY indoor cycling platform. The races will take place with real video footage of roads used in the Tour de Suisse as the backdrop.
Velon, which is owned by 11 WorldTour teams, is working with the organisers of the Tour de Suisse and the ROUVY indoor cycling platform to ‘bring racing to fans everywhere whilst respecting the global restrictions on everyday life as a result of the COVID19 pandemic.’
The riders, three per team, will be represented by avatars dressed in their team uniforms and riding their familiar team bikes. Each team’s line-up can change from race to race to reflect the different virtual routes. ‘Some will be in the Swiss mountains, others will be flat.’
With riders spread out across the world and most only able to ride on their home trainers, teams have responded enthusiastically to the challenge posed by The Digital Swiss 5 races. Fifteen WorldTour and two ProContinental teams along with the Swiss national team have signed up for the series.
AG2R La Mondiale
Deceuninck – Quick-Step Team
EF Pro Cycling
Israel Start-Up Nation
NTT Pro Cycling
Total Direct Energie
Swiss national team
The riders’ bikes will be connected to smart trainers, which have surged in popularity as the COVID-19 virus has forced millions of people to stay at home. The trainers pair with the ROUVY platform and the riders watch the course and their position in real-time. ‘As the profile of the course goes uphill and downhill, the trainer automatically applies more or less resistance to the pedals.’
Throughout the races, the riders’ data – speed, power and cadence – will also be on display.
Graham Bartlett, CEO at Velon, said “Velon is all about innovation and we wanted to do something on another level – to bring the fans real competition amongst the best teams in the world. We wanted to do something as close to live racing as we could, not just another ‘ride out’, and give the fans some real sport to watch in these tough times.”
Joko Vogel, Co-CEO at Cycling Unlimited AG (the organizer of the Tour de Suisse, TORTOUR Ultracycling & Gravel and Alpenbrevet), said “We are overwhelmed by how many teams have confirmed their participation in The Digital Swiss 5 in such a short time.
“This shows us that the need for such events is very big and very much appreciated. The professionals have the opportunity to compete under competition conditions and see where they stand. We are looking forward to this world premiere and thank everyone for having the courage to join us in this adventure.”
Petr Samek, CEO at ROUVY, said “We are happy to provide the teams and global cycling community with a digital platform for 1:1 simulation of outdoor races. This is a unique experience and moment of the history of our sport.
“The Tour de Suisse, Velon and ROUVY have come up with unprecedented innovation and it is so exciting to be an integral part of it. All cycling enthusiasts will be able to see and compare their favourite team’s performances in real-time. ROUVY is an app where everyone’s dream of being a part of the pro-peloton becomes a reality.”
The Digital Swiss 5 Schedule:
Race 1: Wednesday, April 22
Race 2: Thursday, April 23
Race 3: Friday, April 24
Race 4: Saturday, April 25
Race 5: Sunday, April 26
The team rosters and details of how and where to watch will be announced shortly.