The first-ever UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will be held on 8 and 9 December, with the battle for the virtual rainbow jersey to be played out on Zwift.
Elite races will take place for men and women, with both events to be held on identical courses and over equal distances.
Zwift’s virtual world, Watopia, will be used to host the races, with exact route details to be confirmed in the coming months.
Pulling on the virtual rainbow jersey
The World Championships will see riders compete remotely from their own residence or training base, according to Zwift.
Unlike recent Zwift events, like the Virtual Tour de France, where the classifications were based on the accumulation of points, the winner of the inaugural worlds will simply be the first rider over the finish line.
The winners will be awarded both a virtual and physical rainbow jersey, which they will be able to wear in esports competitions the following year.
The 2020 Road World Championships were due to take place in Aigle-Martigny, Switzerland, from 20 to 27 September but were cancelled earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the esports worlds will be an opportunity for at least two riders to pull on a (virtual) rainbow jersey this year.
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Who will be crowned the first-ever esports world champions?
Twenty national federations, including Great Britain, the USA and Australia, will receive automatic invitations to the men’s event, and 13 for the women’s event.
National federations will be allocated a number of places according to a range of criteria, including the UCI road rankings (as of June 2020), the number of riders in the anti-doping registered testing pool and the number of eligible riders on the Zwift platform.
More details will be released in due course, but all five continents will be represented in both the men’s and women’s races, and the maximum number of entries will be the same for both events, according to the UCI.
Additional wildcard entries may also be awarded. The full list of countries receiving automatic invites is as follow:
Men’s event: Italy, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Australia, Spain, USA, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Colombia, New Zealand, South Africa, Norway, Ireland, Japan
Women’s event: Netherlands, Italy, Australia, France, USA, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Poland, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan