This weekend sees one of the biggest virtual cycling challenges of the year as Haute Route Watopia comes to Zwift.
Some 60,000 cyclists have already signed up for the challenge, which features three tough stages - and a chance to earn £50 off cycling kit from event partners Le Col.
This year's Haute Route Watopia runs from 26-28 February 2021. This is the second edition of the indoor cycling event, after last April's hugely successful debut.
With 149.9km distance to cover over three days and 3,783m of elevation gain, this race is a tough physical challenge as well as a genuine cycling experience.
Although it's a "virtual" event the challenge is real - and Haute Route have done their best to include the key ingredients of their iconic Haute Route cycling series, which this year promises six "real-life" events around the world.
Haute Route Watopia contains all the elements which the Haute Route cycling races have become famous for: a challenging course, a number of climbs, as well as a route through exceptional and iconic destinations, with Zwift having customised the roads of Watopia, the platform's virtual volcanic island, especially for the occasion.
The Haute Route Watopia is the perfect opportunity to discover all the magic of the Haute Route and prepare for the next events in the series, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Enter now for free (Zwift subscription required) at www.hauteroute.org.
The Haute Route also offers premium services to the participants to provide them with conditions that are worthy of professional racing.
Cyclists are given a roadbook of the race as well as a training plan, with weekly rides organised by Zwift bringing 800 cyclists together.
On the day before each stage of the race, a briefing will be given to the riders on Instagram, led by Fergus Grant - the official spokesperson for the Haute Route - who will give all the information and advice required to make the race a success.
Nutritional tips will be provided by our partner OTE Sports, and all participants will also receive a virtual Colnago bike (Title Partner of the Colnago Haute Route series) and a new jersey with a brand new design from Le Col (Official Partner of the Haute Route).
All entrants who complete one stage will also receive a £50 voucher from Le Col to use on purchases of over £100.
The route in detail
The route of this second edition comprises several of the most famous and popular routes of Zwift and offers a lot of entertainment along the way.
The first stage, which is 51km long, will take place on a section of the Mega Pretzel Route and will end at the top of the KOM volcano, after 3 climbs and 800m of elevation gain.
The riders will have to recover quickly from their efforts to face the longest stage the following day. On the program, 53km along the Pretzel route and 4 climbs including 1300m of elevation gain, with the finish line at the top of the Epic KOM Reverse.
On Sunday February 28th, the queen stage of the race will include the entire Quatch Quest route and the final climb of the Alpe du Zwift, the biggest challenge of this 2021 edition, which should serve as the moment where the final rankings will be set in stone.
Virtual training for real-life riding
The Haute Route Watopia is ideal preparation for the challenge of taking on one of Haute Route's unrivalled cycling tours.
Featuring challenging 3, 5 and 7-day events in iconic cycling destinations worldwide, the Haute Route offers prestigious multi-day cycling events for amateur riders.
The aim is to deliver an unparalleled 'professional' experience for amateur cyclists - not only delivering first class hospitality and event management, but all the key ingredients that make up the culture and experience of professional road racing.
Since launch in 2011 The Haute Route has grown to encompass this year's seven events, including the 10th Anniversary of its original ride, the Haute Route Alps.
Check out the full 2021 programme and find out more about Haute Route at www.hauteroute.org.