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ŠKODA Created a Collectable NFT Series Celebrating the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift

By We Love Cycling

After a 33-year hiatus, the women’s Tour de France is finally making a well-deserved comeback. Eight stages, over 1,000 km, more than 130 riders facing sprints, climbs, and two mountain stages with one summit finish at 1,035 m of elevation – we are all in for spectacular action. As a partner of the Tour de France for 19 years, ŠKODA decided to do something extra special to give the Tour Femmes avec Zwift another long-overdue visibility boost. On the occasion of each stage, a unique piece of art in the form of an NFT (non-fungible token) will be released over the course of eight days, to celebrate this milestone in women’s cycling.

ŠKODA approached renowned Czech artist Ilona Polanski-Voverková of the  Tomski&Polanski illustration studio to create a collection of NFTs as virtual sports memorabilia in the form of eight illustrated posters. The key idea was to create a piece of collectable art to celebrate the start of each stage of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift – and the kicker is all the posters are free, albeit limited to 30 per stage, and the 30 fastest people to interact with them once they drop will receive them as original NFTs.

The way to get them will be quite simple. Each day of the race, between 24 July and 31 July 2022 at the exact official starting time, a post to celebrate the stage will appear across ŠKODA’s and We Love Cycling’s social media channels. But Twitter is where the real action happens. Anyone wishing to receive one of the 30 unique pieces for that day must retweet the post with the NFT drop. And they must be among the 30 fastest to do so. The NFT will then be transferred to the users’ NFT wallets, such as Phantom wallet, which must be compatible with the Solana blockchain.

And to add a material aspect to the digital one, the first person to share each stage’s respective NFT, thus becoming its first owner, will be gifted the original ŠKODA Green Jersey worn by the Tour’s points-classification winners.

But let’s circle back to the artworks’ author – or authors, more precisely. Ilona Polanski-Voverková consulted on each piece with Tomski&Polanski Art Director Marina Federico and together, they set down a theme for each stage. For example, as stage 1 starts in Paris, the poster is inspired by the colours of the French flag. Stage 2 leads through gorgeous sunflower fields, so the choice was clear. Stage 4 leads across the newly introduced white “chalk roads” and the clouds of dust rising behind the riders on the poster reveal the faces of all the women and girls who can’t join the cyclists in person but certainly will in spirit.

“I think they liked my work with colour blocking and simple hues from the start,” reflected Ilona Polanski-Voverková on why ŠKODA approached her. But her passion for cycling certainly played a role. “I’m really close to it, my husband builds bicycles, our home is covered in them, both real ones and on posters, and I’ve worked on bicycle-frame graphics in the past. Even though I use the bike more as a means of transport, cycling is dear to my heart,” said the graphic designer.

The whole series of eight posters was created over the course of a month. “I basically worked on all the posters at once because we needed to know from the beginning how the whole series would look together. It was a kind of puzzle. Once everything was approved by the team, I redrew the colour sketches in a larger format. I have to say, I had a lot of freedom and confidence from ŠKODA. I really enjoyed it. I hope it shows in the results,” the artist said, explaining the unconventional background of the works. Ilona further added: “It’s a much-anticipated race by women and I’m very happy to be able to contribute to its celebration in this way.”

Jan Hejna, who is responsible for the We Love Cycling platform on ŠKODA’s side, added: “For ŠKODA AUTO, supporting the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is a natural thing to do, and the posters are designed to attract even more attention. In some countries, women’s cycling is a big topic, and ŠKODA importers in Sweden and the UK, for example, support it very strongly and even have their own women’s cycling teams.

“A new chapter in the history of the Tour de France is opening, there is a women’s race that contributes to equality and promotes diversity in our sport,” Hejna concluded.

Which illustration is your favourite? Do you plan to grab your original piece once it goes up? Let us know!