Rally Cycling is logging on and competing in Zwift’s Tour For All to help raise funds for Doctors Without Borders. The five-day virtual event running from May 4 – 8 features a total of 19 men’s and women’s teams, including several WorldTour squads, that will compete live on Eurosport and the GCN app.
The race requires a daily minimum of three riders and a maximum of five riders per team. By the end of the week, over 15 Rally Cycling athletes will have taken part.
As the general population has moved indoors, so have the athletes and the racing. There’s no better example of this than California’s Krista Doebel-Hickok, who hasn’t ridden on the road in weeks and has chosen to embrace stationary riding despite its difficulties.
“I look at this like a new sport that I’ve taken on and I’m embracing it,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I feel like the trainer exacerbates any physical or mental weaknesses you have and throws them right back at you and you can either choose to accept it or not.”
Doebel-Hickok has also taken more of a philosophical approach in dealing with the postponement of the professional road season.
“I’m grateful that we have events like the Tour For All to compete in,” added Doebel-Hickok. “If I ever really start to miss the outdoor road season, I just remind myself of what really matters – family, friends, community and our physical and mental health.”
Following the team’s success and worldwide exposure from the Digital Swiss 5, virtual racing has moved to the fore in the minds of many including performance director Jonas Carney.
“I’m impressed with how far technology has come and what’s possible on these digital platforms,” said Carney. “I can see why it’s becoming so popular. When I was a kid, I spent an enormous amount of time doing intervals on a trainer in my parents basement while looking at a concrete wall and listening to Van Halen.”
The professional component of Zwift’s Tour For All may only last five days, but the entire campaign extends through the end of May. Zwift will be donating $125,000 to Doctors Without Borders to start the tour and an additional $125,000 if they reach their goal of 250,000 participants by the end of the month.
“These are the kind of things we should be doing right now,” said Carney. “I’m proud that our team can participate and help to raise money for an amazing cause.”
The event will follow a points race format, with riders and teams accumulating points throughout the stages. Distances range from 45 km to 75 km and climb anywhere between 400 meters to 1700 meters in elevation.
Stage 1: Monday, May 4th – Innsbruck, 52.9 km (HILLY)
Stage 2: Tuesday, May 5th – Richmond, 46.2 km (HILLY)
Stage 3: Wednesday, May 6th – Medio Fondo, 72.6 km (CLIMBING)
Stage 4: Thursday, May 7th – Sand and Sequoias, 42.6 km (HILLY)
Stage 5: Friday, May 8th – Quatch Quest, 46.5 km (CLIMBING)