History has been made following the first UCI Cycling Esports World Championships on Zwift, the first esports World Championship to be officially sanctioned by an Olympic Sporting Federation. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio of South Africa and Jason Osborne of Germany will wear the first UCI Cycling Esports World Champion Jerseys featuring the iconic rainbow stripes for the next 12 months.
The women’s race started fast and hard out of the gate. After 17km some of the big names had already been distanced including current road race champion Anna van der Breggan (NL, Wildcard) Annemeik van Vleuten (NL, Wildcard), Dame Sarah Storey (GB) as well known Zwifters, Ella Harris (NZ) and Jess Pratt (Aus).
Big names including Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SA), Cecilia Hansen (SE), Laura Stephens (USA) and Hannah Ludwig (DE) all made the front split. Indeed this split proved crucial as the front group stayed together for most of the race. With the final climb looming and just 1.3km remaining, Tracy (USA) attacked early using a power up with Moolman-Pasio quickly following. Moolman-Pasio pushed out in excess of 10 w/kg as she used the featherweight powerup at the steepest point in the climb. Sarah Gigante (Aus) closed the gap but in the end, Moolman-Pasio was too strong for Gigante holding on to take the win by half a bike length.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio after the race: “Everyone wanted to save what they had for that final climb and I must say I had to go all out. Hats off to Sarah Gigante, she had a really impressive ride and had me quite nervous at the end.”
The Men’s 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships race was exhilarating from the very beginning. As anticipated a blistering pace was set from the start. The attrition began to show with the leading group reduced to 49 riders with 13km to go, including big names Victor Campenaerts (BEL), Tyler Williams (USA), Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) and Rigoberto Uran (COL). Canada had a strong showing with Lionel Sanders, Matteo Dal-Cin and Jordan Cheyne all taking turns setting the pace, while the Belgian team looked to police the bunch and set things up for a sprint finish. The front group had some big names including Victor Campenaerts (BEL), Tyler Williams (USA) and Rigoberto Uran (COL).
Despite a number of attacks, the group entering the final few kilometers remained large. Many riders would try attacks, including Lionel Sanders, Harm Vanhoucke (BEL), Frederik Muff (DEN), and Rigoberto Uran (COL) but none could find any separation from the group. With just 300m to go Jason Osborne of Germany, a former Olympic rower, utilised the draft from his German teammate, Jonas Rapp to power away from the group. None could follow and Osborne was able to seal the win by dropping an aero powerup in the final 300m to comfortably hold off the chasing riders of Ollie Jones (NZ), Anders Foldager (DEN) and Nicklas Pedersen (DEN).
Jason Osborne on his race tactics after the race: “I knew my form was quite good and I had prepared well. I have a good one minute power, which can be important on that course. My main focus was to keep calm, swim with the pack and conserve all the energy for the last 80 seconds.”
Results of both races can be found here.