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Slovenian rider Grega Bole (Bahrain-McLaren) won Thursday’s stage 4 of the Zwift Tour for All in a sprint from a diminished group, crossing the line just ahead of Pier André Cote (Rally cycling) with Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott) in third.
Bole, who is usually a lead out man for his team’s German sprinter Philip Bauhaus, used the Aero Boost power-up boost in the sprint to catch a fading Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (CCC) in the final push to the line. The Aero Boost makes riders more aerodynamic for a short span of time.
“When I got the [Aero Boost] helmet I waited until the finish because I knew it was most important to wait until then,” Bole said. “That was really hard, we pushed a lot of watts.”
The 43km stage included two laps of the Sand and Sequoias lap on Watopia Island and it offered points toward the overall Tour for All team prize. NTT Pro Cycling continued its domination of the points chase and appear to have the competition in hand ahead of Friday’s finale on the l’Alpe du Zwift.
Bole was Bahrain-McLaren’s backup rider for the sprint, and the team came into the race with Bauhaus as the protected rider for the finish. But the race’s stiff pace and the hilly course saw some of the bigger names distanced early. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was an early rider to be dropped, and the Frenchman was followed by Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis).
Bole is a veteran Zwift rider and said that he began training and racing on the virtual platform in December of 2018 after he suffered a crash on his mountain bike. Bole said he completed practice races against amateur riders and had friends show him how to navigate the nuances of Zwift racing, such as the power ups and the fast and frantic starts.
Like all newcomers, Bole was not immune to mistakes during his first outings.
“I remember my first race I was with 20 riders in the end, and I was the last rider in the group, and I stopped [pedaling] for one second and I lost five meters and it was so hard to come back,” Bole said. “I pushed 500 watts for a few minutes and I didn’t catch the bunch.”
Zwift Tour for All stage 4
- Grega Bole, Bahrain-McLaren, 54:33
- Pier-Andre Cote, Rally Cycling
- Nick Schultz, Mitchleton-Scott
- Benjamin Thomas, Groupama-FDJ
- Dries De Bondt, Alpecin-Fenix
- Ryan Gibbons, NTT Pro Cycling
- Daryle Impey, Mitchelton-Scott
- Scott Thwaites, Alpecin-Fenix
- Michael Gogl, NTT Pro Cycling
- Jonas Rickaert, Alpecin-Fenix, all at s.t.