The second edition of the Haute Route Watopia is kicking off this Friday, 28th February, with three days of racing. Competitors will cover 149.9km and tackle 3,783m of climbing on the Zwift virtual cycling platform.
The first edition of the virtual event took place in April 2020 and saw 69,000 cyclists from 20 different countries signing up to participate.
“Despite it being a virtual event, Haute Route Watopia contains all the elements which the Haute Route cycling races have become famous for: a challenging course, a number of climbs, as well as a route through exceptional and iconic destinations, with Zwift having customised the roads of Watopia, the platform's virtual volcanic island, especially for the occasion,” says the organisers.
“On the day before each stage of the race, a briefing will be given to the riders on Instagram, led by Fergus Grant – the official spokesperson for the Haute Route – who will give all the information and advice required to make the race a success.”
Nutritional tips will also be provided by Haute Route’s partner OTE Sports.
Let’s take a look at what is in store for the competitors this year…
Friday 26 Feb, Stage 1: Mega Pretzel route, 51km, 800m elevation gain - ends at the top of the KOM volcano
Saturday 27 Feb, Stage 2: Pretzel route, 53km, 1300m elevation gain – ends at the top of the Epic KOM Reverse
Sunday 28 Feb, Stage 3: Quatch Quest route, 45.9km, 1683m – ends at the top of Alpe du Zwift
All participants will receive a virtual Colnago bike and a new virtual jersey from Le Col.
The Haute Route celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and as well as this virtual event to kick off the year, promises six “real-life” 3-7-day events, around the world in 2021.
Anna has been hooked on bikes ever since her youthful beginnings at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit. As an avid road and track racer, she reached the heady heights of a ProCyclingStats profile before leaving for university. Having now completed an MA in Multimedia Journalism, she’s hoping to add some (more successful) results. Although her greatest wish is for the broader acceptance of wearing funky cycling socks over the top of leg warmers.