Digital Swiss 5 - Race 1

At NTT Pro Cycling we were very excited to take part in its first ever E-Race, the Digital Swiss 5, which will is being held between 22-26 April 2020. The DS5 will be broadcast live around the world, on numerous platforms & networks, including major broadcasters such as BBC Sport, SuperSport, SBS, TV2 & NOS.

Teams are allowed to line up 3 riders each, and there are 19 of the worlds top professional cycling teams taking part. These 3 riders can be different for each race, so matching the rider strengths to the course profiles is key! Riders are racing from their homes, but connected to the Rouvy Indoor Cycling Reality platform and in NTT Pro Cycling's case, using their Tacx smart trainers.

Yesterday we had Race 1; and I was looking after our Swiss climber Gino Mäder. We had discussed various strategies beforehand using the Rainbow communication platform from Alcatel-Leucent Enterprise, so we were both on the same page throughout race day. Gino completed the warm-up before the race which I had planned into his Today's Plan account, and he was psyched up and ready! I was using VeloViewer to analyse and keep track of the course details throughout the race.

My setup for the race had no bike, but in the picture below you can see the tools I was using to keep Gino on track (from left-to-right);

  • Rainbow - I had a call going with Gino for the whole race, providing him with information on the course, time gaps, and pacing.

  • Rouvy - This allowed me to see Gino's power and cadence in real-time, as well as his position in the race and on the course.

  • Pacing/VeloViewer - I switched this window between my pacing notes and VeloViewer, allowing me to give accurate distance and pacing notes.

  • BBC Sport - A way to keep me up to date with the situation in the whole race.

Above: My race setup

So with Gino out on course and working hard, I had to focus on giving him the right information at the right time. Rouvy is a platform that is very responsive to changes in virtual gradient, so trainers load up the resistance very quickly when the road goes uphill. I was giving Gino warning of upcoming gradient changes so he could prepare for them and pace himself accordingly.

Above: Full focus

NTT Pro Cycling had three riders in the race; Gino Mäder, Ben O'Connor, and Louis Meintjes. Ben O'Connor was the first of our riders to cross the line in 5th place overall with a time of 55 minutes and 11 seconds, + 2'03" behind the the eventual winner Rohan Dennis of Team Ineos. Louis Meintjes and Gino Mäder came home in 23rd (+ 6'06") and 27th (6'36") place, respectively, out of a field of 57 riders that took the start.

More news and insights coming from the following races!

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