A game it might be, but in recent times as a response to COVID-19, eRacing has gone... serious. With an absence of UCI races on the calendar and in a bid to support Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, earlier this month Zwift launched a massive charity event and announced its first-ever ‘Tour for All’. The Tour for All was launched with a Professional Race Series, a five-stage eRace featuring top world tour men’s and women’s teams battling it out over 5 days.
Stage 1 was hosted by virtual Innsbruck and included 6 laps of the Austrian city and it’s surrounding mountains. A well timed strong sprint from Israel Start-Up Nation’s Freddy Ovett saw him take the victory on the opening stage, closely followed by Emmanuel Morin and Mathieu van der Poel.
We caught up with Freddy to talk all things eRacing… Scroll down to get his top tips on how to up your eRacing game!
Tell us about the last 5km
It was good fun for a good cause! Zwift’s Tour for all is a great initiative to try and gather funds and help everyone out with Covid, which is obviously the most important issue right now. I’ve been doing quite a lot of Zwift racing recently so, I think that experience helped to pull off a decent result for the team. The sprint at the end was just
“go as hard as you can and see where you end up”.
How does preparation for an eRace differ than a physical real world race?
I think everyones preparation and quarantine situation has been a little bit different, some people have been allowed to go outside, some haven’t, some (myself included) have been super motivated to do training indoors every day, some not so much which is totally understandable. I found a good rhythm to ride the trainer every day and instead of doing intervals I would just do a bunch of Zwift racing most of the time. You kind of get the hang of it after a while, so yea I think that played a role in the first stage which was cool. I’ve just been enjoying it. Now we can start going outside a bit more, so that’s the main thing, and hopefully we can get back to some UCI races soon.
eRacing has really opened up in the last few months there are a lot of non professionals taking part in Zwift and other virtual races, do you have any tips for them?
I don’t think it’s as complicated as a lot of people make out, I think if you have done a lot of intensity, real high end intensity in your training, then you should be able to survive most of the time and stay with the group for whichever race you are doing. A lot of people ask me, “Oh what’s your secret? How are you doing well?”, and honestly I think it’s due to being stuck indoors for two months, doing a bunch of intervals and intensity work. Be motivated if you can, find the motivation, do the top end and if you want to do well in the eRaces, its like racing outside, just jump in and see how you go. One non fail tip though…
"Be prepared for a fast start. Warm up beforehand and get the legs spinning before the flag goes down."
Is there a particular mindset you need to be in for eRacing?
You have to be prepared for a hard effort that’s for sure. Zwift racing is known to be pretty intense, the first part of the race is always very hard, like any type of racing, be prepared to suffer, and just take it with a pinch of salt, it is a game after all… try to remember to enjoy it.
What are the biggest differences?
Everything. Just everything. The problem right now is that people are comparing them, and you can’t compare them because they are two completely separate things. You can’t compare a rider that does well on eRacing to riding outside, in a Tour de France stage or anything like that... Yes it's pedalling a bike, but pedalling a stationary bike with a computer screen in front of you vs roaring down a French Pyrenean descent at 100k an hour in the rain, is very different,
You say that but you pipped Van der Poel on the line, so clearly the strong guys were at the front of the race…
Freddy shrugs and smiles.
Freddy Ovett wears T-Shirt, Sweatshirt and Sweatpants from our new Casual collection