- Doping has followed professional cycling into the virtual domain.
- To help safeguard its Esports World Championships, the UCI is partnering with Wahoo – a leader in activity tracking and indoor trainers.
- Wahoo’s KICKR V5 smart trainer will help keep riders honest during the Esports World Championships.
The 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships is scheduled for later this month.
Recognizing the immense growth in virtual riding and indoor training, the UCI isn’t treating its digital road cycling World Championship as a game.
Riders compete for significant prize money and status. Training protocols are every bit as brutal as you’d expect for any other professional cycling discipline.
Keeping digital racing 'clean'
An issue in virtual cycling, which mirrors traditional road racing, is cheating. Digital doping happens. Riders are required to submit reference power outputs, to ensure that race performances are within an acceptable threshold.
Technology integrity is always at risk, with riders competing remotely on indoor trainers. Unpoliced data references could allow some competitors to use e-bikes or third-party software to manipulate their power outputs.
The UCI has tried to regulate issues around digital doping. Still, one of the best ways to avoid those discrepancies in rider data, is using proper equipment that robustly resists manipulation.
Zwift on the screen and bikes on Wahoo hardware
To achieve the required level of event integrity, Wahoo will be providing all qualified competitors with its KICKR V5 smart trainer
"Building on our partnership with the UCI Road World Championships, we are delighted to support the 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships," said Mike Saturnia, CEO of Wahoo.
"The demands of e-racing at this level require the most accurate and consistent data possible, so it’s only appropriate that all athletes competing in the finals will be riding a Wahoo KICKR."
Lapping a virtual New York - for real money
Riders aboard their Wahoo KICKR V5 smart trainers will be racing for 54.7km, climbing 942m, by completing two and a half laps of the Zwift Knickerbocker circuit. If you want a real-world frame of reference, it is a route around Manhattan.
Prize money? The men’s and women’s category winners get R140 000, second place finishers R70 000 and third place riders, R35 000.