This weekend marks the final two days of racing in the Tour de France. The General Classification hasn’t been rivetting, but I’ve enjoyed watching Mark Cavendish secure four stage victories (at the time of writing, I’m hoping it’s five by the time of publication).
I’ve been very impressed by Mark Cavendish this year. For those unaware, Mark suffered illness and as a result his form over the last several years has not been to the level he has come to expect of himself. However, he believed it would return and persisted with his training, and that dedication and self-belief have been rightly rewarded in this year’s TdF, where Cav has now equaled the formidable record held by Eddy Merckx of thirty-four TdF stage wins. The expression “Form is temporary but class is permanent” rings true here. Congratulations Cav!
I am mentioning Cavendish because, like us, he is a Zwifter. In December, I came across him by chance and rode with him in London. He was gracious enough to lead a group of us round and chat, which was fun for all concerned:
To celebrate the end of the Tour I am highlighting four events that mirror the closing two stages. Saturday has a Time Trial focus whilst Sunday has a sprint feel mirroring the closing stage on the Champs-Élysées. Allez allez!
Fun is Fast: TT Challenge 27:44
This TT is tough. Reigning World Time Trial Champion Anna van der Breggen set a time of 27mins 44secs on the course, which is a flat 19.6km. When I raced it, I was 50 seconds off that pace, and out of 171 participants only 3 made the time cut. Certainly an event to try and compare your level. My advice: save a little for the last 2km!
Multiple event times, see zwift.com/events/tag/fiftt for details
Frenchy Fuzion Double Etape (1/2 iTT)
Frenchy Fuzion presents ITT Bologna – a really tough TT to pace! Do you keep enough in reserve on the first flat part of the course to be able to overcome the formidable final ascent to the Madonna di San Luca – 2.1km @ 9.7%? Or do you go full gas and die on the climb? Get some pacing tips here >
The best Pro rider time at Giro is 12min54!
Saturday July 17 @ 10am CEST/9am BST
Sign up at zwift.com/events/view/2187617
Fun is Fast: Race
To pay homage to the Tour de France’s iconic finish on the Champs Elysees, Zwift is hosting a race on the course. So, prepare to take on the roads and cobbles for a few laps on the Champs Elysees course!
Multiple event times, see zwift.com/events/tag/fifrace for details
EVO CC Sprint Race Series
From memory, the Tour used to finish around 5PM CEST, well it did when I stood waiting on the Champs Elysees in 2009. It seems to have got later and later each year. This sprint series, fits with my memories of the Tour and being a sprint, it feels appropriate to include this. In addition, this series looks really good because it is a little different. As the description states it’s “shorter more compact races for the rider looking for an effective high intensity race. Start fast, hang on in the middle, then sprint for the win at the finish. Expect to push your heart rate to its maximum”.
Sunday July 18 @ 4:45pm CEST/3:45pm BST/10:45am EDT/7:45am PDT
Sign up at zwift.com/events/view/2189193
Got other events that stand out this weekend? Share below in the comments!