While outdoor competition is at a standstill worldwide, online sport is booming, especially via the Zwift platform. In many countries, the national cycling associations have switched over and virtually launched their national leagues for the first time.
Thanks to the German Cycling Federation in cooperation with the German Cycling Academy, cyclists in Germany have been able to show in real sweat in the last few weeks in front of the computers what performance they can pedal.
Five races were included in the overall ranking of the virtual Bundesliga, which was held the first time. BIKE AID sprinter Lucas Carstensen won three of these races including the final race and was the first overall winner of this new format. Almost all German continental teams were among the 200 to 300 participants per race, as well as many other amateur teams.
Did Lucas write sports history with it? We don't want to overstate the value of this format, for us this is not synonymous with "real" races. Nevertheless, it is a national racing series that was launched due to the Corona crisis and was carried out in full. Thus, cycling has achieved something unique, while all other sports have come to a complete standstill.
For BIKE AID it was a particularly nice situation that the foreign riders were also allowed to participate and so despite the large spatial separation, some team spirit could be felt in the video chat. On the last meters before the finish line, our African riders in Kenya, Adne van Engelen in Holland and Matthias Schnapka in Blieskastel cheered for Lucas Carstensen, who was on the bike in Hamburg.
Even if all of our riders agree that they would rather race in reality, with wind and weather, with spectators and mood, the virtual races should not be underestimated. The performance provided are not to be underestimated, at Zwift the only priority is physical performance. Tactics and bike handling skills take a back seat. For nerds of power data, the page Zwiftpower is recommended, where you can deal with the numbers.
We thank the German Cycling Federation for the opportunity to contest this series. We also hope that the German Cycling Federation will take part in the outdoor races soon. And yet such virtual races can also offer an additional element of cycling in the future, e.g. to make the winter time a little more entertaining.