Tour of the Gila invites spectators to enjoy the sport of cycling. Due to COVID-19, a special “Virtual Tour of the Gila” is being planned for May 22-24. There will be a live stream provided through Zwift Community Live. The virtual Tour of the Gila is open to invited USA Cycling registered domestic elite, UCI Pro and USA Crit teams and will differ from other Zwift races in that it will require riders to complete every stage in order to start the next day. This is an exciting opportunity to experience, at least in part, the Tour of the Gila, for men and women cyclists as well as spectators.
This is made possible by Project Echelon Racing, who has created this unique opportunity. With USA Cycling suspending all racing, camps, and clinics through May 31, races were forced to be either cancelled or postponed until a later season. Eric Hill, who runs Project Echelon Racing, recognized how difficult the racing season was for riders and worked to create this opportunity. Redlands Classic and Tour of the Gila were just two significant cycling events impacted by COVID-19. After a successful virtual Redlands Classic, Hill shared, “Pulling together these events hasn’t been easy, but the effort has certainly been worth it as it is inspiring to see how the cycling community has come together in this unique way and how we have been able to help close the gap between e-sports and “In Real Life” competition. It’s always good to be agile and think with an open mind. I truly believe that there is an opportunity for cycling to come out on top of the current COVID-19 situation if we do this right.”
The virtual Tour of the Gila will have three stages. The first stage will be a Team Time Trial (TTT), with women’s team kick off at 5:45pm Mountain Time with the men’s team kick off at 7pm. The second stage will be reminiscent of the Tour of the Gila Fort Bayard stage with a fast, flat finish, covering 67.4km. The third stage is a 72.6km route on the Medio Fondo course that finishes atop the Epic KOM – similar to Tour of the Gila’s queen stage to Piños Altos. Stage 2 and 3 men start at 10:00am Mountain Time and women at noon Mountain time.
Catch all the action on Zwift Community Live on YouTube or Facebook. The familiar voice of race announcer, Dave Towle, with Nathan Guerra, will be describing the race as it happens live. Spectators who follow Project Echelon will have an opportunity to win prizes from Saris, AMP Human, and other event sponsors. https://www.projectechelonracing.com/virtual-gila.html