Zwift is set to host next year’s UCI Cycling Esports World Championships on 26th February 2022.
The next UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will move from Zwift’s Watopia to its New York Map. Centred around Central park, Zwift’s New York Map transports riders, and viewers, 100 years into the future with elevated glass roads that take riders high into the Manhattan skyline.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to build on the success of last year’s milestone event with the second UCI Cycling Esports World Championships,” said David Lappartient, UCI president. “The Olympic Virtual Series held earlier this year showed how cycling esports has the ability to drive global participation in cycling. It is therefore exciting to reveal a new opportunity for emerging cycling esports stars enabling them to compete with household names from the UCI WorldTour peloton.”
The 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will be one of the ‘most accessible World Championships to date’, with a new qualification pathway. Five Continental Qualifiers to UCI 2022 Cycling Esports World Championships, covering Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas will be open to top community esports competitors from around the world and will take place on 27th-28th November 2021. The top five from each race will be awarded a start in the Elite 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships and will race for their respective national federation. Full details on the qualification pathway can be found here.
“I’m delighted that community racers will be offered this new pathway into the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in 2022,” said Eric Min, Zwift CEO and co-founder. “Cycling Esports was born from community racing, no different to any other form of esports competition, and it’s within this community where most of the talent lies. Cycling esports is a new discipline and skill, tactics and experience all play a huge role. I truly believe that we are creating one of the most accessible forms of competition.”
In addition to the qualification pathway open to community members, the UCI will also be awarding automatic invites to 23 national federations. Places will be awarded based on a combination of Cycling Esports community size and the depth of talent based on both esports and UCI road rankings. More detailed criteria will be released in due course.
“I’m very excited to hear the news that Zwift will host the second edition of the UCI Cycling Esports World Champs,” said Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, professional cyclist with SD Worx and 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Champion. “I believe it is a great fit for Zwift to be the hosts of the most prestigious esports race of the year, as they are currently the leaders in the esports movement with their many community leagues and the Premier League racing on their platform.
“I’m also very happy to see the progression of the esports discipline with the opportunity for community athletes to qualify for the World Champs this time round. It’s no secret that I’m a huge advocate of virtual cycling and passionate esports cyclist, so I’m super excited to race the World Champs on a cool course in Zwift’s virtual New York on 26th February next year and this race will definitely be my first big goal for the 2022 season.¨
Participants will again be competing entirely remotely from their own residences or training bases. Zwift PowerUps will be made available in both the Continental Qualifiers and the Elite Championships. Winners of both races will be awarded the UCI Cycling Esports Rainbow Jersey that will be awarded virtually. The winners will also receive physical jerseys which they will be able to wear in esports competitions for the following year.
Further information on the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships 2022 will be unveiled in the coming months.