We should be in the thick of the Tour de France but because of the coronavirus pandemic fans have to wait two months before watching Egan Bernal and Team Ineos try to capture another title.
Instead, this weekend begins the Virtual Tour de France: the first two stages for men and women on the Zwift platform.
Zwift unveiled two new worlds just for the Virtual Tour de France, with eight routes including 'Ven Top', a replica of Mont Ventoux; and Paris, home to two routes, both of which traverse a digital replica of the real-world Champs-Élysées.
Teams are able to swap riders for each of the six stage stages depending on the terrain. 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas will lead Team Ineos on the hilly stage 2, with Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling) and Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) also on the start list.
Watch the Virtual Tour de France – via live stream, no matter your location, with ExpressVPN.
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Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will make his Tour de France debut on the vitual side on stage 1 and 2, while world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) will take on stage 1. 2019 yellow jersey wearer Giulio Ciconne will lead Trek-Segafredo on stage 2.
On the women's side, look for Jolien D'Hoore (Boels Dolmans), Chloe Dygert (Twenty20) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) on stage 1 and Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans), Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), and Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) for stage 2.
Virtual Tour de France live stream
The Virtual Tour de France will be available to watch via Zwift, GCN Racing and Eurosport in Europe.
You can sign up for a subscription to Eurosport Player for £6.99 / $9.16 for a month, £4.99 / $6.54 for a year-long monthly pass, or £39.99 / $52.42 for a 12-month pass.
GCN Racing is available to view for free on Youtube, though it will be region-blocked in some territories.
In North America, FloBikes is airing the race. Subscribing to FloBikes cost $150 for the year and gives you access to watch most of the season's biggest races.
NBC Sports Gold will also be showing the race in the USA, with a subscription available for a cut-price fee of $19.99.
Other broadcasters include TV2 Sport (Denmark, Norway), FranceTVSport (France), RTBF and VRT één (Belgium), NOS (Netherlands), RTP2 (Portugal) and Teledeporte (Spain).
If you live outside a broadcast zone or happen to be outside your normal country of residence at the moment, you'll likely find that your usual live stream will be geo-restricted. You can get around this by getting access to your usual domestic stream by simulating being back in your home country via a 'virtual private network', or VPN, for your laptop, tablet or mobile.
TechRadar tested hundreds of VPNs and recommends the number-one VPN currently available as Express VPN. With ExpressVPN, you can watch on many devices at once including Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, iPads, tablets, etc.
Virtual Tour de France
- July 4, 2020: Stage 1 Men & Women & Women - Watopia Hilly, 36.4km
- July 5, 2020: Stage 2 Men & Women - Watopia Mountain, 29.5km
- July 11: Stage 3 Men & Women - France, R.G.V., 48km
- July 12: Stage 4 Men & Women - France, Casse-Pattes, 45.8km
- July 18: Stage 5 Men & Women - France, Chalet Reynard, 22.9km
- July 19: Stage 6 Men & Women - France, Champs-Élysées, 45.8km