Imagine qualifying for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships from your living room, while drinking a beer. No travel, fighting for front row starting position or helmet required. No crashing or road rash either. Just log into Zwift, pedal hard and e-qualify.
It might happen sooner than you think.
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has announced a partnership with Zwift, the virtual training and racing platform, to develop eSports cycling as a new UCI discipline.
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.”
The partnership’s first goal is to establish requirements, standards and rules that ensure sporting integrity and fairness for all UCI-sanctioned events taking place on Zwift.
That’s no small task. Ensuring competitive integrity and ferreting out technological fraud is a lot harder than asking someone to pee in a cup and sending it to a lab. Hardware will have to be UCI sanctioned and individual rider data verified, including height, weight and identity. Of course, UCI regulations will grow exponentially too.
Second, Zwift and UCI plan to launch the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in 2020 at a date and venue to be determined.
UCI and Zwift will also hold 15 National e-Championships in select countries as well as Continental e-Championships. These competitions will act as qualification events for the 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.