Fast racing, keen competition and personal achievement were all witnessed at the first ever Tri-Anglia virtual Gran Tour, the Vuel-TA which took place on three of Zwift's virtual worlds.
Great sportsmanship, cooperative organisation and enjoyable participation were also on display.
Well done to all who took part and a massive thank you to Richard Beastall for shifting through umpteen events via ZwiftHacks to concoct the Vuel-TA and coordinating all the results via ZwiftPower to provide us with final standings.
The Vuel-TA started with a 15.8km 8 lap crit on the Downtown Dolphin course in Crit City. Whilst we all raced at the same time, we were only able to see the other racers within our respective categories. Some 250 races from an International field were represented. 10% of that field were us, in our Vuel-TA. Being a scratch race, this was fast and furious from the start as the need to get into a good group was paramount. For the 28 of us partaking our times ranged from 30:45 down to 18:55.
Vuel-TA Stage 2 saw us take on the 2019 Giro prologue course as a pure time trial. We each started individually with drafting disabled so it really was a pure test against the clock. The course is mostly, if not entirely flat for the first 6km, so would seem to favour the purest most aero bike setup possible. The final 2km though is anything but flat as the road climbs at between 9% and 20% up to the Santuario Madonna di San Luca. Those final 2km's representing half of the time being taken on the stage. So were the aero time trial bikes the best choice, or were the light weight climing road bikes? Our 30 times ranged from 33:38 to 15:41. Single cateogry for this race with all being able to see each other.
Heading into Vuel-TA Stage 3 time gaps between riders was close, and with Stage 3 being the longest distance wise the potential for changes in General Classification were high. A lumpy 43km course confronted our riders. Hard to the base of the Epic KOM and then hard up it (fortunately not to the top of the radio tower) so as to ensure you were within a strong group for the descent, lap of the Jungle and the blast back to the pier for the finish arch. Losing the power signal on the KOM could cost you 20 plus places and with that potentially losing you a minute or so for not being with a faster group for the descent. Losing the power signal on the little kick on the volcano lap would cause you to lose the group you were in to then be swept up on the finish line by the pack that had been some 40 seconds behind. Short sharp hard racing of previous days saw the demise of several riders during this stage due to cramp and excessing gardneing (pure focused pros amongst our numbers). Of our 26 stage finishers our times ranged from 1:49:46 to 1:07:26.
Just one stage to go and distance wise Vuel-TA stage 4 wasn't much longer than the opening Crit City race. But this stage wasn't about the horizontal distance. This stage was all about the vertical distance. This stage finished with 1064m of climbing up Alpe du Zwift, the digital version of Alpe d' Huez. 26 of our riders managed to complete this stage with times ranging from 2:15:13 down to 0:51:08. This was a tough stage, and had us racing in our categories in handicap fashion against the other categories with us all able to see all in the event, and there were a lot in the event.
Kudos to all 31 riders who took part especially to the 22 who successfully completed the Vuel-TA. Respect to those TA on Zwift wise enough not to tackle such a challenge. Chapeau to those completing the Vuel-TA alongside the Zwift Classics.
A big thank you to Richard Beastall for crafting and coordinating the Vuel-TA and for being super co-operative for those of us with tech issues that caused results to not appear within Zwift or Zwift Power.
- Yellow Jersey, Green Jersey, Polka Dot Jersey and Cat A Winner – Oli Milk
- Cat B Winner – Luke Lynds
- Cat B Ladies winner – Louise Marsden
- Cat C Winner – James Chapman
- Cat D Winner – Janice Coglin-Hibbert
- Maglia Nera and Cat D Men's winner – Steve Pitman
Look to the TA Zwifters FB group for more banter and details.
Do look out for future Zwift races with TA participation.
Do join us for Meet Up rides. We have Isol8 meet ups Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, plus there are other even more informal Meet Ups taking place at other times. Isol8 meet ups are on our training pages and all do get mentioned in the TA zwifters FB group. We are using Discord for voice chatter during Meet Ups.
Not sure what Zwift is or how to get started with it, we have crafted a Zwift Primer.