The first digital pro cycling races from 22 to 26 April daily at 5 pm live on SRF2/RTS2.
Tour de Suisse, ROUVY and Velon present the first digital races featuring the best pro cycling teams in the world. The Digital Swiss 5 starts next Wednesday and will be broadcast daily at 5 pm on SRF2/RTS2.
The best teams in the world will compete against each other for five consecutive days on the ROUVY Indoor Cycling Reality platform. In the new racing format, The Digital Swiss 5, riders compete against each other every day on sections of some of the most beautiful Tour de Suisse stages, all in compliance with the current corona epidemic regulations. And for cycling fans at home and abroad, finally there will be a competitive cycling event to follow live.
19 teams (16 WorldTour and 3 wildcard teams including the Swiss National Team) line up for the world premiere in digital pro racing. The cycling pros are connected on their racing bikes by “smart” roller trainers. While the rider sees the track and his position in the race on the monitor in real time and as an actual video image in front of him, the smart roller trainer puts the respective resistance on the pedals – depending on the topography of the track.
“My first experiences of a virtual day race a few weeks ago made me realise: Virtual races are definitely not easy. The races are in fact shorter than normal races, but the intensity is much higher, and you have a much smaller time frame in which you can make a tactical difference. I’m glad that we can offer entertainment to the fans, even though we can’t ride on the road. The cyclists are also very motivated, and the teams get a chance to represent their sponsors. We certainly have some tough races ahead of us next week, and I will give everything to be able to celebrate another virtual victory,” assures Greg van Avermaet (Team CCC)
The start list for The Digital Swiss 5 reads like a who’s who of the international cycling elite;
From the current world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), to the Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet (Team CCC), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) – last season’s high-flyer, to the Belgian rising star Remco Evenpoel (Deceuninck-Quickstep), this year’s winner of Paris-Nice Max Schachmann (Bora Hansgrohe), the UCI Hour Record holder Victor Campanaerts (NTT Pro Cycling), the GC riders Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) up to the winner of all three Grand Tours Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), they are all here.
And Switzerland is also represented by very strong names;
The reigning Swiss champion Sébastian Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), the stage winner of Tds2018 Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), as well as Switzerland’s most successful active athlete Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott), Silvan Dillier and Mathias Frank (both AG2R La Mondiale) will be competing in Digital Swiss 5.
The Swiss Cycling line-up also includes Nino Schurter, the record-holding mountain bike World Champion. Although a digital race will also be new territory for him – he is not completely unfamiliar with the Tour de Suisse, as he started at the TdS 2014.
The races will be held on sections of the Tour de Suisse 2021 route for approximately one hour daily from Wednesday 22 April until Sunday 26 April 2020 and will be broadcast live by Swiss television SRF2 and RTS2 from 5 p.m., with many exciting background reports for viewers at home.
Riding is done via detailed track simulations on ROUVY. In these video recordings of the actual courses, the individual cycling pros are shown as 3D avatar images in the look of their respective teams – true to their position in the current race. The digital race images are supplemented by live pictures of the pros at home during the TV broadcast. The Digital Swiss 5 races are also commented by experts and Velon provides performance data live from the living rooms of the riders.
Fans who cannot follow the races live on TV can stay up to date by means of a live ticker on Search.ch, the official Tour de Suisse app.
In addition, all those with a ROUVY AR subscription can follow the races via spectator mode, switching between the riders’ positions.
“For spectators this form of race is as new for them as it is for us athletes. We do not know exactly what to expect. I’ve heard that we can’t ride in the slipstream on ROUVY?!” jokes Michi Schär, who will be competing for his trade team CCC as well as for Swiss National Team in one race.
Despite social distancing fans can get close to the pros. Every evening at 7 p.m., the international cycling community can compare themselves to the crème de la crème of cycling professionals on the same stage sections in the Fan Race. An innovation which, in the current situation, at least partially satisfies the need for cycling competitions. To expend the same effort as the pros for five days is certainly a new and unforgettable experience for anyone up for the challenge.