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Pros including Thomas, Yates and Greipel flock to Zwift as they won't be racing for a while

Jack Elton-Walters
17 Mar 2020

With prospects of riding outside limited & races off, pros are challenging amateurs to race on virtual platforms. Photo: @GeraintThomas86

The weather is getting better as temperatures rise and the rains and gale force winds of recent weeks begin to abate. Normally this would be the start of the best time of the year for riding and racing as we get out on the bike before returning home to watch the spring Classics.

But this isn't any other year. The coronavirus global pandemic continues with no one able to predict exactly when - or even if - life will return to normal.

As such, riders are staying at home and instead of 100km in the lanes they are looking to the turbo to keep fit and race ready. For some riders living in Spain and Italy, for example, riding outside has been heavily restricted or banned outright.

Even if they can train outside, such as on the fantastic training roads of tax-free Monaco that draw more and more WorldTour pros every year, the races they were working towards have probably been postponed or cancelled anyway.

To stave off boredom many top pros are challenging amateurs to race on virtual platforms such as Zwift, like Geraint Thomas did over the weekend.

Approached for details on the expected increase in subcribers and usage hours, Zwift's senior PR manager Chris Snook was feeling coy. 'Unfortunately we are never able to comment on subscribers numbers,' he said.

However, he was more open when it came to explaining Zwift's approach to what's going on around the world.

'What we are focussed on over the coming months is producing great content for people who are more restricted than normal,' Snook explained. 'In addition to the calendar we had planned with events such as the Tour of Watopia, we are adding in new partner series events such as the Mitchelton-Scott Bike Exchange Series.

'We have a number of other pros taking part in various Zwift events (including the Tour of Watopia). We've had Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates, Andre Greipel and others join so far this week.' As he appeared on the television adverts last year, smile afixed for a sidewards glance, we might assume Thomas's subscription was complimentary.

'We hope to be able to provide a place for people to continue to train and remain connected over this time,' Snook added.