The 2019 UCI Road World Championships are going on now through the weekend in Yorkshire. But from the side of the finishing circuit in a pub pop-up called the Zwift Draft House, interactive virtual training simulator Zwift announced a partnership with the UCI on the legit inaugural Cycling Esports World Championships set for 2020. You don’t need to travel to race the best indoor cyclists in the world, Zwift is bringing Esports Worlds into your home pain cave….
2020 UCI + Zwift Cycling Esports World Championship
Zwift keeps making headlines by broadening the appeal of indoor training with interactivity, gamification, and just more engagement in an online cycling community. Now, definitive online competition is set to determine who has the fastest avatar!
Zwift sees Esports competition as a way to broaden the appeal of cycling without the logistics & costs associated with traveling to races. Sure, you have to buy an expensive indoor trainer to get the interactive experience. But any cyclist who has traveled regularly to a series of races, will get the possible savings by staying at home to compete. They also see Esports competition as a chance to promote parity in cycling, with “an equal number of races, coverage, and prize money for both men & women.” Maybe there will even develop a new virtual cycling fan base, much like is seen in other live streaming competition?
The details are still not entirely set how or when the final competition will take place. Zwift is currently working with the UCI to lay down the ground rules and establish an official cycling esports rulebook, as well as to determine the precise race formats, types of qualifying events, virtual courses, and the rest of the final details to put on the 2020 World Championships.
“We have been looking at the emergence of esports for some time with Zwift“, says UCI President David Lappartient. “As the governing body for the sport, we need to remain open to technical innovations and change, and to remain relevant to all audiences. Zwift is a platform that is enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. However, there is a particularly exciting opportunity through esports as we look to attract a younger audience to cycling. Together we have an opportunity to support a fitter youth, through the creation of a new sustainable sport.”
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below…
In the meantime, why not head out on the virtual 2019 UCI Road World Championship Harrogate course in Yorkshire yourself? See what it takes to burn a few laps of the 13.8km/8.6mi circuit before the Elite Men & Women take to the roads over the weekend.