“It’s a timing thing isn’t it," said Ovett. "I’m sure if we look at the numbers afterwards, you’ll probably see that Van der Poel had ridden a lot harder than me throughout the race as he’s maybe not as experienced on Zwift.
Watch as Ovett outsprints Van der Poel to win opening stage of Tour for All
“I didn’t do any Zwift before lockdown two months ago and I just jumped on and did a few races and really enjoyed it – I thought it was a really easy way to train. Banging out 4x15 minute intervals, I’d just do three or four races and after a while you get the hang of it.
I’m a climber but I can also pack a bit of a sprint so it’s a nice card to have because if it’s a hard race and there aren’t as many guys left, you can pack a sprint. But I don’t think we can read too much into it that I beat Van der Poel on an online Zwift sprint… but yeah I’ll take it for now.
Ovett also opened up about WhatsApp chats with his team-mates during the race.
He added: “I think with something like Zwift you’ve got to see where everyone’s at around half-way through the race because it’s like a cyclocross race where it’s full gas for 15 or 20 minutes and guys are going everywhere and then it finally settles down and that kind of stays like that for the rest of the race. I think things kind of settle down after about four laps.”
“We were chatting on WhatsApp about what to do and a few guys fired off with about a lap to go to make it quite hard, and safe for me, the sprint worked out for me in the end.”
Freddy Ovett won a thrilling sprint finish to take the opening stage of the Zwift Tour For All.
The Israel Start-Up Nation rider won the virtual Innsbruck 52.9km race by 0.36 seconds ahead of Emmanuel Morin, with Mathieu van der Poel third, 0.41 seconds behind the Australian.
The stage win for Ovett means Israel Start-Up Nation lead the event with 85 points ahead of EF Pro Cycling (68 points), Alpecin-Felix (62) and NTT Pro Cycling (61).
Both men's and women's racing will be screened each day between 1400 and 1600 BST with some of the best cycling teams in the world including Mitchelton-Scott, EF-Education, NTT, Alpecin-Fenix, Bahrain-McLaren, Canyon//SRAM Racing, CCC-Liv and Boels Dolmans competing for race honours. Teams and the top 25 riders will gain points across the week alongside a daily individual race winner. There will also be intermediate points on each stage and double points for the Top 10 on the Queen Stage (Stage 5).
All you need to know about Zwift's 'Tour for All'
Stages will range in distance from approximately 45km to 75km and approximately 400m and 1700m in elevation with race times estimated to be between 1hr 15min and 2hr, depending on the distance and elevation of each stage. Results will be points based and determined by the team’s performance and results for each stage.
The Tour for All professional racing series will open a month-long charity fundraising initiative that will see Zwift donate a total of $125,000 to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and its COVID-19 crisis fund. An additional $125,000 can be unlocked once 250,000 people complete a stage of the Tour for All. The professional racing series is designed to showcase the mass-participation stages and encourage Zwifters to take part by riding some of the same courses that the pros have raced. For more information on Zwift’s Tour for All head to Ride - zwift.com/tfaride
Zwift Tour for All exhibition racing series coming to Eurosport
Our first mountain stage. We begin by taking Ocean Boulevard around to the reverse Hilly KOM, which is the first half of the Figure 8 route. Then it’s over to the Volcano and up to the top before descending down and heading to the Italian Villas then the Mayan Jungle for a reverse loop of the circuit. After climbing out of the jungle, we descend back to sea level, hit The Esses and spin a quick around the Volcano Circuit. Then it’s through downtown Watopia and out Ocean Boulevard once more to the forward Epic KOM. Our route finishes at the Epic KOM banner.
Course: Medio Fondo, Watopia. Elevation Gain: 981m (3220ft). Total distance: 72.9km (45.1miles)
7th May - Stage 4
We give everyone’s climbing legs a break with a mostly flat and fast stage. Enjoy it while it lasts because tomorrow is the Queen Stage!
Course: Sand and Sequoias, Watopia. Elevation Gain: 147m (482ft). Total distance: 42.6km (26.5miles)