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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, May 23, 2020
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Froome banners virtual cycling race


Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome said he was relishing a new test as he headlines 'The Challenge of Stars' virtual cycling race against an Italian backdrop this weekend.

The Giro d'Italia, the first Grand Tour of the season, originally set for May 9-31, has been pushed back until October.

But 16 riders -- eight sprinters and eight climbers -- will participate in a knockout tournament in two categories on the BKOOL cycling simulation platform.

"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 former Giro d'Italia winner Froome.

Sprinters will race over 1.2km in the virtual Tuscan countryside today, with climbers including Froome and fellow multiple Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali of Italy tackling a 2.9km ascent up a simulated Stelvio tomorrow.

Team Ineos rider Froome will ride against France's Warren Barguil of Team Arkea Samsic in the head-to-head format, with Nibali taking on CCC Team's Simon Geschke of Germany.

Challengers also include Germany's Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), France's Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) and Australia's Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal).*AFP


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Froome banners virtual cycling race