Zwift users – or Zwifters as the virtual cycling platform calls them – will be able to test themselves against part of the course of this year’s UCI Road Cycling World Championships course with the company’s announcement today of a partnership today with the organisers of September’s event in Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria.
The new feature will go live in August and is based around the the opening 15-mile circuit of the course - in its entirety, billed the toughest in decades - as well as featuring landmarks from the region.
Zwift says it will also give pro riders who use the platform a chance to recce the part of the course known as the ‘Olympic lap’ – ridden seven times during the men’s race and three times in the women’s version and with a 5-mile climb – before heading out to Austria for the event.
Zwift co-founder and CEO Eric Min said: “This course is something we’ve not seen at the UCI Road World Championships for many years and will translate into something incredible for our Zwift community
“It’s going to be fantastic to be riding alongside World Championship contenders conducting their course recons on Zwift. I can’t wait.”
The company highlights that remote course familiarisation is already commonly used in Formula 1 motor car racing and the August release will enable cyclists to do likewise for the first time.
Team Dimension Data’s Berhard Eisel, likely to be one of the men representing the host nation, said: “This has the potential to be truly ground-breaking for the national teams
“The lead contenders will certainly be performing course reconnaissance in the coming months, as is the norm. However, what is new is the ability to repeatedly train on a key segment of the course and understand when the best moments to attack will come.
“For riders such as myself, who will serve as supporting riders, we need to understand when the critical moments of the race will come and ensure our leaders are in the best position possible. And it will be super motivating to prepare alongside Zwifters from all over the world.”
Esther Wilhelm, head of communications of the Innsbruck organising committee, commented: “Legacy is an important consideration for any host city. Zwift will help us to enable more people worldwide to experience the challenges and beauty of Innsbruck-Tirol.
“The World Championships will be a celebration of the fantastic cycling here. Zwift will be the perfect platform for people to train for their next cycling holiday or sportive event here in Tirol.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.