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by Dane Cash
May 19, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
The RCS has unveiled the big names set to contend in its upcoming Challenge of Stars, a virtual knockout style race that will pit eight climbers against each other in head-to-head matchups in one bracket and eight sprinters or rouleurs against each other in another on the Bkool platform.
Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, and Jakob Fuglsang are among the marquee climbers that will do battle on a virtual rendering of a section of the Stelvio that measures 2.9 kilometers at an 8.69% average gradient. Caleb Ewan, Pascal Ackermann, and world road champ Mads Pedersen are among the riders that will contest the sprinter/rouleur bracket on a 1.2-kilometer course drawn from the Tuscan countryside.
Racing kicks off on Saturday and concludes on Sunday.
“At a time like this when we are unable to race it’s great to be able to use technology to put on an event like The Challenge of Stars and bring entertainment to the cycling fans,” said Froome in a press release from the RCS. “I’m looking forward to taking on this new type of challenge against some of the top riders in the sport.”
The event will be broadcast internationally with Sporza as the host broadcaster.
The Challenge of Stars climber bracket
Rafal Majka (Bora–Hansgrohe)
Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo)
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)
Warren Barguil (Team Arkéa Samsic)
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
Simon Geschke (CCC Team)
Chris Froome (Team Ineos)
The Challenge of Stars sprinter/rouleur bracket
Pascal Ackermann (BORA-Hansgrohe)
Mads Pedersen (Trek – Segafredo)
Nacer Bouhanni (Team Arkéa Samsic)
Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix)
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal)
Matteo Trentin (CCC Team)
Filippo Ganna (Team Ineos)