NTT Pro Cycling is excited to announce its first ever E-racing squad, set to take on the Digital Swiss 5 between 22-26 April. The DS5 is a series of five virtual races, taking place over parts of the 2020 Tour de Suisse parcours.
As Covid-19 has brought the UCI cycling calendar to a halt, the Tour de Suisse race organisation have partnered with Velon and Rouvy, an Indoor Cycling Reality platform, to host the inaugural Digital Swiss 5 (DS5).
The DS5 will see 19 of the world’s top professional cycling teams, lineup with three riders per team per race, over five consecutive days of racing. As all races are individual events, teams can change their lineups per race to suit the parcour.
NTT Pro Cycling has selected a squad of 11 riders who will represent us at this unique exhibition event, which will be broadcast live around the globe.
Race 1 – April 22 – Ben O’Connor, Louis Meintjes & Gino Mader: this route will be one for the climbers, as the race covers 27km and 1192m of climbing from Moudon to Leukerbad.
Race 2 – April 23 – Rasmus Tiller, Max Walscheid & Edvald Boasson Hagen: this is a flat 45km race around Frauenfeld where big power numbers will be key.
Race 3 – April 24 – Stefan de Bod, Roman Kreuziger and Ben King: a 20km flat run makes this one interesting, before a 13km summit finish at Disentis-Sedrun.
Race 4 – April 25 – Michael Gogl, Victor Campenaerts and Edvald Boasson Hagen: after a punchy start with 2 sharp climbs, a downhill run to the line could see a break try hold off the sprinters, at the end of this 37km race.
Race 5 – April 26 – Ben O’Connor, Stefan de Bod & Gino Mader: another solid climbing race with 2 climbs in the 36km route, totaling 950m of elevation.
The riders will be racing from their homes, on their Tacx smart trainers which are synced with the Rouvy platform. As the route changes from uphill to downhill, the smart trainers automatically apply or decrease the necessary resistance.
Viewers will see a peloton of digital avatars, all decked out in their correct team attire on screen, but it will be the riders real time effort that reflects where the avatars are positioned on the road.
The races will be broadcast live on SuperSport in Sub-Saharan Africa, and various other broadcasters globally, while the event will also be streamed live across all team Facebook pages & multiple other streaming services. Further broadcast details will be found at www.digital-swiss-5.ch
It’s going to exciting to be exciting taking on the Tour de Suisse route in this virtual format of Digital Swiss 5. It’s a great initiative to show off our sponsors who continue to support us during this difficult time of the corona virus. It will be interesting to see what our shape is like compared to the riders on other teams. It is a whole new type of racing for me and everyone else, so I’m nervous about how hard it actually will be but also excited. –Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
This event is a great idea. It gives all sponsors of all teams some visibility, and I am sure the fans will engage with this version of live sport. It brings together the best of the best athletes in our sport from around the world and provides a platform for us to compete against each other. We are fortunate that the technology exists to make this possible. I am really looking to forward to it, and because it is so new there is going to be a lot of strategizing beforehand, how to pace your effort and so on. I think we will suffer a lot during the races, but I will be doing so with a smile on my face. –Gino Mader – Rider
I am excited to do my first E-race on Rouvy. It is good that the races are quite short, around 1 hour which will be exciting, anything longer could be a bit boring. I look forward to competing but also to getting some good results. –Victor Campenaerts – Rider
This is in an interesting concept and it is quite exciting actually. We haven’t had proper racing in a while now so with this E-racing it is nice to have a goal to work towards again. It should be a lot of fun and I am really getting into this new technology behind virtual racing, so I will be giving the Digital Swiss 5 a good go. –Louis Meintjes – Rider
The Digital Swiss 5 is a great alternative to racing. I think I speak for most people when I say we would have loved to race the Tour de Suisse on the road, for the fans, sponsors, organizers and everyone else involved. But the Tour de Suisse organisers have come up with this new idea and as NTT Pro Cycling, we very happy to take this opportunity and explore a new side of the sport. There is no doubt these are difficult times around the world but something like this can bring people together, us as a team, our partners and fans and everyone else too, so we are happy to be participating in this event. –Lars Michaelsen – Sport Director