To celebrate the year in which indoor cycling and virtual racing has become an integral part of cycling, the UCI has now sanctioned an official World Championship.
Partnering with Zwift as the official virtual platform, the UCI Zwift Cycling Esports World Championships is scheduled for 9th December, amid the northern hemisphere winter – which is appropriately timed for the initial peak of most indoor/Zwift training plans.
There will both a men’s and women’s elite category, racing the same Zwift Watopia Figure 8 reverse course. For those familiar with Zwift’s Watopia challenges, the World Championships will finish on the KOM Forward climb, a 900-metre climb that averages 5.5 per cent, which could deliver an exciting outcome in the last few hundred meters.
In terms of the race parcours, the virtual World Championships will be run over 50km with 483m of total elevation.
The UCI is due to reveal its new virtual racing rainbow jersey design and rider start sheets in the coming weeks.
E-Sports world championships official partners
With the advent of the best turbo trainers, better indoor cycling apps and superior power meter integration, the indoor cycling segment has exploded in popularity.
All the elite-level riders participating in this event will be on the same Garmin-Tacx NEO 2T smart turbo trainer to ensure standardisation. Shimano is the drivetrain partner for this event, whilst Science in Sport is the nutritional affiliate.
“There’s no doubt that we are going to make history in December”, says Eric Min, Zwift CEO. “This will be the first esports World Championship to be officially recognised by a sporting governing body, and it’s one that embodies all the values of traditional sport.”
Toyota South Africa has taken a position as the non-cycling affiliated event sponsor. The company’s South African business unit CEO, Andrew Kirby, is a finisher of the gruelling Cape Epic mountain bike race.