La Vuelta Virtual on ROUVY, last weekend, had a magnificent wrap-up in Madrid. Everyone witnessed the amazing story of Ward Simons who became the first winner of La Vuelta Virtual ‘22 at the in-person Grand Final. The pharmacist from Belgium managed to beat 9 competitors on the stage placed in the center of Madrid near Plaza de la Lealtad.
Using augmented routes and a multi-year official partnership with La Vuelta, ROUVY organized the digital ‘22 edition of the Spanish tour for everyone to participate with a real fitness effort, but from home. La Vuelta Virtual ‘22 was launched in July with a weekend warm-up racing series which enabled its winners to have a VIP visit to Spain for the real Vuelta in September.
Virtual Grand Tour
Numbers from the virtual tour that took place from Aug 19 - Sep 11 along with the real Vuelta: 15 racing days, 60 races and 3 Group Rides with participating pros from Equipo Kern Pharma 10 finalists from 6 countries Almost 7,000 registered riders from 73 countries for LV events 1 MLN kms ridden on LV routes Grand Final race - 396 registered riders Stage 21 Racing day - 862 registered riders
Grand Final in Madrid
10 riders were selected in the open international races to be present in person and compete next to the former MTB World Champion and Olympian, José Hermida and popular UK cycling blogger, Cameron Jeffers. The contenders came from 6 countries - Great Britain, Spain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Belgium and Sweden. They all had the same conditions – a Zycle Smart ZBike and the ROUVY app with the shorter 25km version of the last stage - Stage 21 of La Vuelta 2022. After a half-hour warm-up, all riders were at the start and the race began. The 25km segment first made its way over the modern bridge, past the sports grounds and universities. The stage ended in a sprint finish with the fans cheering in front of the stage including Ward’s girlfriend.
Photos and Video of the LVV Grand Final race in Madrid (Spanish commentary).
La Vuelta Virtual ‘22 Winners
Ward Simons (Belgium) demonstrated an impressive high and stable wattage and ended up with a 387W average (5,3 W/kg) in total, which gave him the win. He stepped on the podium for the first time alongside Daniel Pink (UK) and Andrew Emmerich (Sweden), where he received the winner's trophy. That wasn’t all, not at all. After enjoying drinks and food in the VIP section where everyone could watch the final 21st Stage of La Vuelta with other riders, there was one more surprise for Simons. When Remco Evenepoel confirmed his maiden Grand Tour title at La Vuelta and stood on the main stage, Ward Simons was invited to stand on the same stage alongside Remco (also a Belgian) and celebrate the win together (!), which probably turned this into the most memorable and precious moment of his sporting life. He stated: “Today was the day I was the closest to getting to be the real cyclist.”
Social impact for local community
Petr Samek, CEO of ROUVY: “ROUVY committed to donate 10 EUR, for every finisher of LV Grand Final, to Fundacion Tambien. But as usual we are taking a step further and almost tripling the donation amount to 5K EUR. We are delighted to host the event in Madrid and happy to support inclusivity initiatives. Our product has a special category purposed for hand cycling, so people and athletes with disabilities all over the world can enjoy ROUVY on equal terms with others”.
The President of Fundacion Tambien, Teresa Silva Fernandez added, "It was a pleasure to attend the virtual La Vuelta event organized by ROUVY; it was a privilege and very exciting to see the best riders in the world competing live. We would really like the ‘adapted cycling’ to be a part of this initiative next year too, so that we can collaborate together, raising awareness of inclusive cycling for people with disabilities in the world". The 2022 edition of Vuelta a España is over, but anyone who wants to try what it is like to be a World Tour rider can find the routes here and ride anywhere and anytime from the comfort of their own home.