Gone are the days when cycling indoors was merely a lonely, monotonous, hard slog.
Thanks to new technology including smart trainers and state-of-the-art software, cyclists can measure up against on-line rivals from around the world in dynamic, motivating – but still hard – training sessions and competitions.
Just two weeks away from the first-ever UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, we take a look at the ins and outs of this exciting new development for cycling.
Growing in popularity for some time, cycling esports has undergone a major boom in 2020. Athletes confined to their homes during the coronavirus pandemic increased their use of indoor training options this year, and many Elite riders competed in virtual races set up by major race organisers: not least the virtual Tour de France and the virtual Tour de Suisse (Digital Swiss 5). On World Bicycle Day this year, the UCI and its partner Zwift organised four virtual pro-led rides on the Zwift indoor training platform, open to everyone with a connected home trainer and access to the Zwift software.
Now some of the world’s top athletes from both road and other disciplines, as well as stars of the Cycling Esports community, are gearing up for battle in the first UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. The event on 9 December – including a Women Elite and Men Elite race over the same course – is organised by the UCI in collaboration with Zwift.