The second edition of the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will be held on Saturday, February 26th, 2022. 180 of the world’s best cycling esports competitors will take to the start line in Zwift’s New York map to race the Knickerbocker Circuit. The course will be selective and the racing will be action-packed from the very first lap. We’ve pulled together a complete guide to the 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, including rider start sheets, broadcaster information and a race guide ahead of this landmark sporting event.
Cycling esports is one of the nine UCI cycling disciplines. The 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will be the second edition after the inaugural Championships in December 2020, held in Zwift’s Watopia.
Cycling esports is an athletic competition where the real-world efforts of the competitors power their avatars in the game. Riders will all be competing on the same Wahoo KICKR V5 Smart Trainers which intelligently respond to the changes in virtual gradient, simulating the draft of other riders and gradients of the climbs.
Unique to cycling esports are PowerUps which bring in an additional layer of gamification, strategy and viewer entertainment. PowerUps come in many forms but can all be used strategically to help them escape on a climb, win a sprint, or save additional energy in the draft of other riders. A complete guide to Zwift PowerUps can be found here. For the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, racers will have seven chances to secure PowerUps during the race. Three PowerUps will be used as follows:
Van PowerUp: The Van PowerUp increases the draft effect by 50% for 30 seconds. In a double draft event, this powerup will give you 3x the standard draft effect. Use at higher speeds when you are already drafting off another rider. This PowerUp will appear three times during the race at the Sprint Arch at 7.3 km, 29.7 km & 52 km.
Aero PowerUp: The Aero PowerUp improves aerodynamic efficiency, reducing CdA by 25% for 15 seconds. Best used at higher speeds. The Aero PowerUp will appear twice during the race at the K/QOM Arch at 9.7 km & 32.1 km.
Feather PowerUp: The Feather PowerUp reduces weight by 10% for 15 seconds. Best used on steep climbs, this will be important in the race to the hilltop finish. The Feather PowerUp will be available twice during the race at the Lap Arch at 22.5 km & 44.6 km.
The discipline is still in its infancy but has already seen specialist riders emerge, competing in elite esports events like the Zwift Racing League Premier Division. The 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships offered a unique qualification pathway that gave any Zwifter the opportunity to qualify for the Championships and represent their National Federation through a series of Continental Qualifier races.
The winner of the men’s and women’s events will be awarded the UCI Cycling Esports World Champions jersey incorporating the famous rainbow stripes. Winners will earn the right to wear a physical jersey during the sanctioned esports races and activities they take part in throughout the following year. Alongside this, the winning athletes will also be able to wear a digital version of the UCI Cycling Esports World Champions rainbow jersey, whilst on the Zwift platform.
Racers will tackle the challenging Knickerbocker route with a hilltop finish, a special course that Zwifters were able to try for the first time during the Tour de Zwift. Rolling roads and steep gradients will make for a selective race. Both Men’s and Women’s Elite fields will tackle two full circuits of the 22.5km route before finishing at the top of the New York KOM, a 1.4km climb with an average gradient of 6.1% and ramps of up to 17%. In total, riders will cover 54.9km and 944m of climbing. Field size, broadcast exposure, race distance and prize money will be equal for both Men’s and Women’s races.
180 of the World's Best Cycling Esports competitors will be taking to the start across the two races. The full start lists for both fields can be found here.
3 hours of live coverage will start from 6pm UTC on Feb 26th. The Women Elite race starts at 6.15pm UTC. The Men Elite race starts at 7.45pm UTC. Racing will be broadcast live on the following channels:
- Global - GCN+ & Zwift YouTube
Sarah Gigante (Australia) - Runner-up in 2020, Gigante is a consistent Zwift racer and one of the best climbers out there. Gigante rides professionally on the road with Movistar Team and has an explosive kick that many of her competitors will fear.
Illi Gardner (Great Britain) - One of the most important riders in the Great Britain team, Illi has a huge amount of Zwift racing experience and excels when the climbing starts.
Zoe Langham (Great Britain) - Zoe qualified for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in the European Qualifying event. She has impressed this year in the Zwift Racing League Premier Divison.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa) - The defending UCI World Champion. Ashleigh is one of the best climbers in the world, both on the road and in Zwift. She will want to retain those rainbow stripes!
Jacquie Godbe (USA) - One of the strongest esports specialists in the field, Jacquie is rarely beaten in an uphill race.
Freddy Ovett (Australia) - Freddy shot to Zwift prominence during the Virtual Tour de France in 2020 and has consistently placed high in all the Zwift races he’s participated in since. One of the best sprinters in esports racing, but is also able to get over some of the harder climbs.
Chris McGlinchey (Ireland) - Chris is incredibly experienced as an esports competitor and one of the strongest climbers in the field. The NYC KOM Climb will suit him well.
James Barnes (South Africa) - James is the man in form in 2022. He has been instrumental in helping his team, NeXT Esport, make it to the top of the Zwift Racing League Premier Division.
Takato Ikeda (Japan) - A pure climber and always aggressive. Takato will be riding with a strong Japanese team and will be looking to take advantage of the NYC KOM climb.
Matthias Deroose (Belgium) - Matthias is another strong climber, one of the top-ranked riders on ZwiftPower. He has been a consistent points scorer for his team, BZR, in the Zwift Racing League Premier Division and has a lot of cycling esports experience.