Online training and racing platform Zwift has been unveiled as the Official Training Community of British Cycling, as part of a two-year deal. The partnership also marks the countdown to the national governing body’s own national-level virtual reality event using Zwift – the inaugural ‘British Cycling eRacing Championships, powered by Zwift’.
This news comes hot on the heels from the International Cycling Union (UCI) announcement to create an eSports World Championships.
Due to take place early in 2019, the eRacing Championship format will be comprised of a series of qualifying rounds culminating in a live final event between the top ranked riders. These finals will see riders compete for the KALAS Sportswear-designed national jersey, in a multi-event format comprising of a series of short races, including a time trial and elimination race.
Anyone can compete in the races. However, to qualify for the finals and the national title, riders must be a British Cycling member.
Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder, said “Wearing your country’s national stripes is a huge honour, but relatively few ever get the chance to compete.
“But that is not the case with the British Cycling eRacing Championships, powered by Zwift, as everyone in the country is eligible to throw their hat into the ring. We are looking at dates in February and March 2019, so now is a good time as ever to start training and keep in shape this winter.”
Serving as the means to bring British Cycling’s community closer, the two organisations will combine to deliver structured training plans to the national governing body’s 146,000-strong membership. This will include virtual rides with the Great Britain Cycling Team, progression tracking and exclusive in-game items available through the platform.
British Cycling’s Commercial Director, Jonathan Rigby, added “The eSport market is particularly exciting for cycling as it enables so many more people to participate and be active.
“We are thrilled to be exploring this new territory with Zwift to innovate in cycle sport. Their technology and our cycling expertise will together allow communities of cyclists to get more out of riding bikes for competition and for fun.
“We are also excited about what this could mean for identifying talent. We are proud to have a wealth of gifted riders competing on the world stage and we are confident that Zwift technology will enable us to unearth more future stars.”
Double Paralympic champion Steve Bate will be the first Great Britain Cycling Team rider to lead a Group Ride on December 12, at 7pm GMT, with the final ride of 2018 for the training community confirmed for December 19 with Jody Cundy.
Full details and competition rules for the British Cycling eRacing Championships, powered by Zwift will be unveiled in the coming months.