Alongside the start of the Virtual Tour de France last weekend on Zwift, almost 24,000 amateur riders started Stage 1 of the Virtual L’Etape du Tour de France race.
The three consecutive weekend gran fondo race series allows amateurs to test themselves on the same (virtual) roads as professional riders in the Virtual Tour de France.
Stage 1 on 4-5 July covered 29.5km with 682m climbing on the Zwift Watopia Mountain course. 28 year-old Belgian professional triathlete Emmanuel Lejeune won the stage with a time of 43:25.
Finishing second in 42:32 was former pro cyclist Stefan Kirchmair from Austria with Englishman Ed Laverack from Wales third at 42:34.
Multiple UCI Gran Fondo World Champion Bruce Bird from Canada finished 12th at 43:32.
In the women’s race Agolico teammates Andrea Ramirez and Katia Martinez from Mexico finished first and second in 48:27 and 49:19 respectively. American medical student Jacquie Godbe was third in 49:35.
Stage 2 of the Virtual L’Etape du Tour takes place 11-12 July on a brand new Zwift course, Casse-Pattes. Racers will ride two laps of the 23km course with the first 12km pancake-flat followed by a 2.7km KOM climb at 4% gradient.
Stage 3 is the following weekend and culminates with a climb up iconic Mont Ventoux.