We recently wrote an article about one of the brutal climbs that riders will face during the World Championships road race in 2018—a beast of an ascent with gradients as high as 28%. The organisers of the Worlds also challenge amateur riders to ride up that particular hill as fast as possible for the title of King of the Höll. Now, virtual training walhalla Zwift is poised to expand its maps to include a more extensive part of the World Championships circuit in Innsbruck, Austria, so you will be able check out more of the course yourself.
This is what the makers of Zwift want to see: as many people as possible on the virtual recon. What’s also interesting is that the pro riders, who will actually take part in the World Championships in September, may well be doing their own virtual recons on Zwift. Racing in a simulator is quite a well-known phenomenon in Formula One car racing, but isn’t really a thing in bike racing—yet. Bernhard Eisel, rider for Team Dimension Data, says that:
“The serious contenders will almost certainly do a virtual recon, and that’s—thanks to Zwift—very new. Riders have the opportunity to regularly train on specific sections of the course to find out exactly which spot is right for an attack.”
This year’s route already has the reputation of the “toughest climbing circuit in a World Championships for a generation.” This makes it challenging for both Zwift regulars and the real professional riders alike. Once the Zwift expansion pack is made available, everyone can attempt a 24-kilometre circuit that forms part of the real course. Unfortunately, Zwift will not reproduce the entire Worlds course. The most that those of us with Zwift accounts can experience in our pain caves will be the lap that the men’s elite will ride seven times and women’s elite three times—but judging by the route profile, that will be quite enough for most of us.