The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) recently announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zwift, the global online training and racing platform for athletes, for the governance and development of cycling esports as a new cycling discipline.
The inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in 2020, as well as qualification events for these Championships, will be held on the Zwift platform. These will be held on a date and at a venue that are still to be confirmed.
As part of the MoU, the UCI and Zwift will collaborate to ensure the sporting credibility of cycling esports events. This will include the establishment of a hardware programme that is reliable enough to be used in events sanctioned by the UCI, a performance verification programme that will validate a rider’s performance and ward against technological fraud, and a rider identification system, including height and weight. Different formats of racing, for individuals and teams, will be tested.
The UCI and Zwift have agreed that a maximum of 15 National Championships will be organised in select countries as well as Continental Championships; these competitions, organised on-site or remotely on-line, will act as qualification events for the new UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. The Zwift application will be the only programme used for all these events.
Following the first edition of the World Championships, the UCI will launch a bidding process to determine the provider with which it will collaborate for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships after 2020.
UCI President David Lappartient said, “Cycling esports is a fantastic opportunity for the development of cycling. It is a new way of practising cycling that is expanding rapidly and enables more athletes, whether beginners or more experienced, to train and race regardless of what the weather is like and where they live.”
Zwift’s Esports CEO Craig Edmondson added, “Earlier this year, we stated our ambition to develop an esports platform, but I think it’s much more than that. We are looking to establish a new approach to the sport. We are at the very beginning of a long and exciting roadmap here at Zwift as we look to establish a new and innovative cycling discipline.”