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Some pro cyclists are struggling to adjust to the world of online cycling

De Gendt gets kicked off Zwift and others are surprised at how hard digital racing really is

Professional and amateur cyclists around the world have been forced to move their training online. Big changes in how everyone trains have meant growing pains as well. Zwift, the online training software, already has a long list of professional athletes hosting virtual rides, and the company announces new events daily. More pros than ever have started racing in Zwift races, and the growing pains of the app are becoming apparent.

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The transition to online riding and racing has not been without its hiccups. Zwift races are not the same as races IRL, as pros diving into the virtual platform were quick to learn.

Harder than expected

Cofidis’ Nathan Haas was participating in the UAE Tour when the race was cut short and riders were quarantined in their hotel. Part of the first group of pro cyclists to be confined to indoor trainers, Haas was surprised by how hard he had to work to get a KOM.

Legion of LA brothers Justin and Corey Williams had fun posting Instagram stories about how hard they were both working during Justin’s official Zwift workout, while Mitchelton-Scott rider Jack Haig has been struggling with sore legs from trainer riding. Haig reached out to his Twitter followers for some advice.

De Gendt gets kicked out

Racing stage 3 of the Tour of Watopia, Thomas De Gendt was helping teammate Tim Welleens how to use Zwift since Lotto Soudal will be entering online races. As he powered up a climb and hit he hit 550 watts, Zwift displayed a message: “Either you missed your calling as a pro, or there is something wrong with one of your devices.”

De Gendt was pretty sure he hadn’t missed his calling, and took to social media to ask the company to fix the issue.

“I got thrown out of a race because of my superhuman power. Can you fix the stats for me,” he joked.

The Lotto Soudal racer will get a chance for digital redemption this Sunday, April 5 at the Tour of Flanders: Lockdown Edition.

The video game company replied saying they would look into it.

Not everyone is struggling

Although there have been some bumps in the road, overall the pros have made the transition to online cycling relatively simply.

Team such as Mitcellton-Scott and EF Pro Cycling already have full schedules of Zwift events led by their riders, Bahrain-McLaren just announced their ‘Ride As One Series’ hosted by Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas has been doing Zwift races since mid-March.

The ‘The Digital Swiss 5’, a project organized by Tour de Suisse and the ROUVY Indoor Cycling Reality platform, will see riders from teams such as Trek-Segafredo virtually racing the most challenging parts of the Tour de Suisse parcours. The five day event will take place Apr. 22 to Apr. 26.

Canadian Mike Woods has been recovering from a broken femur, and will be hosting accessible morning recovery rides every day from Apr. 2 to Apr. 8.

As more races are cancelled, pros will be forced to spend more time racing and training indoors. Training software has already had to adapt to the influx of new riders, but it will be interesting to see the adaptations they have to make for pro-level cyclists and races.

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