Over the past few years, ‘e-sports’ (the virtual equivalent of real sports) have been getting more and more attention. A number of different FIFA tournaments have been organised, where teams play online against one another for serious prize money. But with the advent of Zwift, cycling has also become increasingly digital. From 2019 onward, the cycling world will have a new series of events to contend with: the National eChampionships, which can be entered from the comfort of your own home.
eChampionships on Zwift
British Cycling has signed a two-year deal with Zwift, which has given rise to the British Cycling eRacing Championships. These will be made up of a series of qualifying races. The winners from these races will go on to start at the official event, which will be staged live. There are no restrictions regarding age or gender for entrants: everyone is welcome.
British Cycling en Zwift have joined forces for the first ever British national eChampionships
The race for the jersey
There’s a big chance that a large, mixed group of riders will be competing for the champion’s jersey. Although everyone can take part, only the 146,000 members of British Cycling are eligible to win. The members will first have to ride an individual time trial, as well as compete in the qualifying rounds. The winner will have the honour of wearing a specially-designed (virtual) jersey.
More than a championship
Although this competition has been created through a joint venture between two major forces in cycling, this is just the beginning. British Cycling is going to scout promising riders through Zwift. Team Dimension Data made a similar move through a venture with Zwift. In addition, British Cycling is going to distribute a structured training programme to all its members, as well as organising virtual group rides with members of the British national cycling squad.
It’s not clear at the moment when the championship will take place. But Zwift CEO, Eric Min, has said they are aiming for February or March. Furthermore, he adds, there’s no harm in starting up your training programme right now. Read also: How is Team Sunweb preparing for the 2019 season?