The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has announced today that in conjunction with Zwift, a global online training and racing platform for athletes, they will launch the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in 2020.
The UCI said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with Zwift, for the governance and development of cycling esports as a new cycling discipline and this MoU follows the integration of cycling esports into the UCI Constitution, which was approved by the Federation’s Congress in September 2018 in Innsbruck (Austria).
The statement from the UCI said the objective of the MoU is two-fold: to establish requirements that guarantee the speciality meets the standards of sporting integrity and fairness necessary for all UCI-sanctioned disciplines, and to launch the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, as well as qualification events for these Championships, on the Zwift platform. Zwift was recently confirmed as Official Supplier to the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire (Great Britain).
A hardware programme is to be developed that will be reliable enough to be used in events sanctioned by the UCI, a performance verification programme that will validate a rider’s performance against technological fraud, and a rider identification system, including height and weight. Moreover, different formats of racing, for individuals and teams, will be tested. The UCI Regulations will be updated accordingly.
On the sporting side, the UCI will organise the 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships on the Zwift platform. These will be held on a date and at a venue that are still to be confirmed. 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 declared: “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 Memorandum of Understanding between our Federation and Zwift is a decisive step towards the total integration of cycling esports by the UCI.”
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. This partnership is a significant leap forward in that journey. 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.”