The second edition of the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2022 on Zwift.
180 of the world’s best cycling esports competitors will take to the start line in Zwift’s New York map to race the Knickerbocker Circuit. According to Zwift… ‘The course will be selective, and the racing will be action-packed from the very first lap.’
Cycling esports is one of the nine UCI cycling disciplines. The 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will be the second edition after the inaugural championships in December 2020, held in Zwift’s Watopia.
Riders will all be competing virtually on the same Wahoo KICKR V5 Smart Trainers which respond to the changes in virtual gradient, simulating the draft of other riders and gradients of the climbs.
Unique to cycling esports are PowerUps which bring in an additional layer of gamification, strategy and viewer entertainment. PowerUps come in many forms but can all be used strategically to help riders escape on a climb, win a sprint, or save additional energy in the draft of other riders.
For the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, racers will have seven chances to secure PowerUps during the race. Three PowerUps will be used as follows:
- Van PowerUp: The Van PowerUp increases the draft effect by 50% for 30 seconds. In a double draft event, this powerup will give riders 3x the standard draft effect. Used at higher speeds when already drafting off another rider, this PowerUp will appear three times during the race at the Sprint Arch at 7.3 km, 29.7 km & 52 km.
- Aero PowerUp: The Aero PowerUp improves aerodynamic efficiency, reducing CdA by 25% for 15 seconds. Best used at higher speeds, the Aero PowerUp will appear twice during the race at the K/QOM Arch at 9.7 km & 32.1 km.
- Feather PowerUp: The Feather PowerUp reduces weight by 10% for 15 seconds. Best used on steep climbs, this will be important in the race to the hilltop finish. The Feather PowerUp will be available twice during the race at the Lap Arch at 22.5 km & 44.6 km.
The cycling esports discipline is still in its infancy but has already seen specialist riders emerge, competing in elite esports events such as the Zwift Racing League Premier Division.
The 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships offered a unique qualification pathway that gave any Zwifter the opportunity to qualify for the championships and represent their national federation through a series of Continental Qualifier races.
The winner of the men’s and women’s events will be awarded the UCI Cycling Esports World Champions jersey incorporating the iconic rainbow stripes. Winners will earn the right to wear a physical jersey during sanctioned esports races and activities they take part in throughout the following year.
Alongside this, the winning athletes will also be able to wear a digital version of the UCI Cycling Esports World Champions rainbow jersey, whilst on the Zwift platform.
Racers will tackle the Knickerbocker route with a hilltop finish, a special course that Zwifters were able to try for the first time during the Tour de Zwift. Rolling roads and steep gradients will make for a selective race.
Both the men’s and women’s elite fields will tackle two full circuits of the 22.5km route before finishing at the top of the New York KOM, a 1.4km virtual climb with an average gradient of 6.1% and ramps of up to 17%.
In total, riders will cover 54.9km and 944m of virtual climbing. Field size, broadcast exposure, race distance and prize money will be equal for both men’s and women’s races.
180 of the world’s best cycling esports competitors will be taking to the start across the two races. 3 hours of live coverage will start from 18:00 UTC on February 26th. The Women Elite race starts at 18:15pm UTC. The Men Elite race starts at 19.45 UTC. Racing will be broadcast live on Eurosport (Europe) and GCN+ and Zwift YouTube (global)
Zwift has noted 10 riders to watch
- Sarah Gigante (Australia)
- Illi Gardner (Great Britain)
- Zoe Langham (Great Britain)
- Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa)
- Jacquie Godbe (USA)
- Freddy Ovett (Australia)
- Chris McGlinchey (Ireland)
- James Barnes (South Africa)
- Takato Ikeda (Japan)
- Matthias Deroose (Belgium)