Stage 6 of the three-weekend race played out on Zwift‘s rendition of downtown Paris and the iconic Champs-Élysées, and just like the real Tour de France, it came down to a sprint showdown.
Clarke left his move late to come from toward the back of the pack and beat Filippo Ganna (Ineos) and Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling) in the men’s race. Rally Cycling’s Matteo Dal-Cin, winner of stage 3, finished in fifth.
“Last week I went too early in the sprint and I figured out how early I went and made sure this week I timed it right. It was still hard to pass everyone, I came from a long way back,” Clarke said.
“It’s really hard … Basically, I had to do 400 watts for an hour and then sprint at the end. But there are a lot of spike and surges – sometimes you’re pushing over 500 or 600 watts to try and not get dropped. Half the thing is staying far enough to the front that you don’t get dropped – that’s the trick I think.”
Yellow-jersey wearing Stephens edged the women’s race over April Tacey (Drops), who had already taken two stage wins. Georgia Simmerling and American world time trial champion Chloe Dygert took third and fourth for Team Twenty20.
Stephens’ victory put a cap on a dominant performance throughout the race by her American squad, leaving them to take a commanding overall GC victory, beating fellow U.S. team Twenty20 by nearly 200 points. Imperiled British squad Drops came third overall.
“It’s been an incredible team achievement,” Stephens said. “Winning the yellow jersey as a team and the final stage was more than we expected coming into first women’s virtual Tour de France.”
“It’s been a lot of fun but hard work, too, trying to coordinate time zones,” said team director Rachel Hedderman. “We had riders racing at 4 in the morning and 11 at night but the riders all bought into the idea and they were all committed. Our good communication has been key.”
“Tibco and Silicon Valley Bank have been sponsoring the team for years, but this is the biggest event, the biggest race that we’ve done, and so to be able to perform as a team on this size of stage for the sponsors has been incredible,” Hedderman continued.
NTT Pro Cycling was similarly dominant in the men’s GC, taking the classification by over 230 points. American outfit Rally Cycling took second overall. EF Pro Cycling finished fourth on the leaderboard, behind Trek-Segafredo.
Men’s stage 6 results
1. Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo): 0:51:44
2. Filippo Ganna (Ineos): S.T
3. Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling): S.T
Men’s final GC
1. NTT Pro Cycling: 500 points
2. Rally Cycling: 267
3. Trek-Segafredo: 232
Women’s stage 6 results
1. Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank): 0:56:38
2. April Tacey (Drops): S.T.
3. Georgia Simmerling (Twenty20): S.T
Women’s final GC
1. Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank: 499 points
2. Twenty20: 306
3. Drops: 292