[Source: UCI] The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zwift, a global online training and racing platform for athletes, for the governance and development of cycling esports as a new cycling discipline.
This MoU follows the integration of cycling esports into the UCI Constitution, which was approved by the Federation’s Congress in September 2018 in Innsbruck (Austria). The objective is two-fold: to establish requirements that guarantee the speciality meets the standards of sporting integrity and fairness necessary for all UCI-sanctioned disciplines, and to launch the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in 2020, as well as qualification events for these Championships, on the Zwift platform.
The news follows the confirmation of Zwift as Official Supplier to the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire, Great Britain.
As part of the MoU, the UCI and Zwift will collaborate to ensure the sporting credibility of cycling esports events. This will include the establishment of a hardware programme that is reliable enough to be used in events sanctioned by the UCI, a performance verification programme that will validate a rider’s performance and ward against technological fraud, and a rider identification system, including height and weight. Moreover, different formats of racing, for individuals and teams, will be tested. The UCI Regulations will be updated accordingly.
On the sporting side, the UCI will organise the 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships (on the Zwift platform). These will be held on a date and at a venue that are still to be confirmed. The UCI and Zwift have agreed that a maximum of 15 National Championships will be organised in select countries as well as Continental Championships; these competitions, organised on-site or remotely on-line, will act as qualification events for the new UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. The Zwift application will be the only programme used for all these events.
Following the first edition of the World Championships, the UCI will launch a bidding process to determine the provider with which it will collaborate for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships after 2020.
UCI President David Lappartient declared: “Cycling esports is a fantastic opportunity for the development of cycling. It is a new way of practising cycling that is expanding rapidly and enables more athletes, whether beginners or more experienced, to train and race regardless of what the weather is like and where they live. The Memorandum of Understanding between our Federation and Zwift is a decisive step towards the total integration of cycling esports by the UCI.”
Zwift’s Esports CEO Craig Edmondson added: “Earlier this year, we stated our ambition to develop an esports platform, but I think it’s much more than that. We are looking to establish a new approach to the sport. This partnership is a significant leap forward in that journey. We are at the very beginning of a long and exciting roadmap here at Zwift as we look to establish a new and innovative cycling discipline.”
Zwift is a fitness company born from gaming, that is dedicated to fitness and experienced in software and video game development. Combining that passion and deep understanding of the fitness world, Zwift is the first company to use massive multiplayer gaming technology to bring the outdoor experience indoors. Athletes from around the globe can train and compete with each other in rich, 3D-generated worlds simply by connecting their existing devices & hardware (e.g. cycle trainers, power meters, treadmills, heart rate monitors, etc) wirelessly via open industry standard ANT+ and BLE. From friendly competition, to racing and structured training programmes, Zwift is building a community of like-minded athletes united in the pursuit of a better social fitness experience.
About the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)
Founded in 1900, in Paris (France), the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the worldwide governing body for cycling. It develops and oversees cycling in all its forms, for all people as a competitive sport, as a healthy recreational activity, as a means of transport, and also just for fun. The UCI manages and promotes the eight cycling disciplines: road, track, mountain bike, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle, cyclo-cross, trials and indoor cycling. More information on www.uci.org.