To celebrate the 2020 Tour de France, the Irish Independent have linked up with Cycling Ireland and our regular columnist Nicholas Roche for a unique virtual event that will take place on the Zwift online cycling platform.
Tonight at 19.00, wherever you are in the country or around the world, you can take to the startline of this Zwift ride alongside Roche. The Sunweb rider is gearing up for this 10th Tour and will once again be bringing our readers inside the peloton with his insightful daily diaries when the race begins on August 29.
The event will be streamed on Independent.ie, the Independent Sport Facebook page and Cycling Ireland Facebook, with commentary from Declan Quigley, and will include a Tour de France preview show and interview with Roche from 6.45.
Watch the race here:
There will be four categories to choose from, catering for all abilities over 45.8 virtual kilometres of racing. Wahoo Fitness, official hardware partner to Cycling Ireland, is offering one rider a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt GPS Bike Computer - a winner will be selected at random.
The event is set up and people can now click join via the link below or on the Zwift Companion App.
What is Zwift Racing?
Zwift is an online cycling platform that enables riders from all over the world to train together or compete against each other on a virtual course in one of seven different virtual worlds.
The programme translates speed from your home trainer, (taken either via a power meter, a smart trainer or just a speed/cadence sensor using ANT+ or Bluetooth), into watts – which means, just like in real life, the harder you pedal the faster you (or in this case, your avatar) will complete the course.
The best smart trainers or specific indoor bikes will send your power (watts) to Zwift and automatically vary resistance to match the changing terrain and conditions, making it harder to pedal on a climb for instance.
If you have a power metre you can use any home trainer and the power metre will send your data to Zwift without the simulated gradients effect.
If that's a bit too expensive then don't worry, a speed/cadence sensor on your regular bike is the most basic and cheapest option to get started. Although an optional sensor that broadcasts power (watts) directly to Zwift is available for some of these trainers, Zwift will estimate your power anyway.
Zwift is compatible with PC or Mac computers, iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone or tablet and Apple TV.
What else do I need?
When you're all set up, the next thing you need is a Zwift membership. There is a free seven day trial from Zwift.com or the Zwift app and after that there is a monthly fee to use the platform.
When creating an account it’s important that you input your correct weight, as Zwift will use this to calculate your speed and watts per kilogram.