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Mathieu van der Poel warming up on Zwift before a WorldTour time trial is brilliant marketing

The integration of virtual and real life makes for excellent fan service

Mathieu van der Poel on Zwift Photo by: Atlanta Rouleur Collection @AtlantaRouleur

Real life is not virtual life. Whether it’s Fortnite or Zwift, there are considerable differences between gaming and doing it for real. You can respawn after getting sniped in a first-person shooter, and you never crash in online cycling. Although many cyclists have embraced riding indoors on virtual courses, from London to Paris and back, some argue it’s not quite the same. And that’s true. As great as virtual cycling platforms are–a.k.a video games, it’s never the same as riding outside. But it’s getting closer. A two-hour training ride is doable now. No longer must one stare at the wall counting the minutes. You can jump on Zwift and do Watopia over. And over. And over.

And listen, at Canadian Cycling Magazine, cycling is cycling. Of course riding outside is the bomb. But riding inside in crappy weather has become a way more viable alternative thanks to platforms like Zwift.

What’s cool is during the first stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) went full-Matrix on us cycling fans.

The CX world champion, who wears his Zwift sponsorship on the sleeve of his sock, warmed up online.

To all the pundits who prefer riding outside in crappy weather  this was still  rad. Here’s a guy warming up on his TT bike by the team van, but also virtually. You can see/witness/get passed by the Dutchman doing some openers at 600ish watts as he gets ready.

Even for the haters of tech, this is kinda cool. Imagine being able to see Greg LeMond warm up in 1989 before that final time trial to Paris.