McIlroy, Felix among made-for-TV stationary bike riders

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New York (AFP)

World number one golfer Rory McIlroy, NBA All-Star Gordon Hayward and six-time Olympic track champion Allyson Felix are among the sports stars set for a made-for-television spinning class to air Saturday.

The Pro Athlete All-Star Ride, the latest bid to attract sports viewers with events shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, will feature a 20-minute men's and equally long women's stationary bicycle ride among athletes who are also Peloton members.

Each race will feature eight riders and the one with the highest output number -- a combination of cadence and resistance -- in each race will be declared the winner.

NBA players conducting a shooting contest from their backyards for TV and prime-time shows of mini-golf, obstacle course and tag competitions are among the other unique TV lures attempted for sport-hungry viewers.

The move comes two days after golf stars Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson combined with NFL Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to produce a Sunday ratings blockbuster for an 18-hole golf event, the 5.8 million viewers being US cable's largest-ever golf audience.

Top-ranked golfer McIlroy, set to resume the US PGA Tour season in two weeks at Colonial, drew 2.35 million US viewers for a charity Skins Game with three other tour players the weekend before.

McIlroy will be joined in the men's bike race by fourth-ranked Justin Thomas and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, Boston Celtics forward Hayward, NFL Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and US six-time Olympic swim medalist Matt Grevers.

Felix, the 2012 Olympic 200m champion and a five-time US gold-medal relay runner, will pedal in the women's race against two-time Australian Open tennis champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, reigning Olympic tennis champion Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, LPGA golfer Morgan Pressel and Olympic champion gymnast Kyla Ross.