The Zwift National Championships are coming

Riders from 15 countries to compete for virtual national jersey

Online training platform Zwift has announced its men’s and women’s national championships, in which riders from the top 15 countries (i.e. the ones with the most Zwifters) will compete for the right to wear a virtual national jersey for a year.

There will be separate men’s and women’s races for each of the selected countries, which for 2018 are as follows: USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Sweden, South Korea, Denmark, Switzerland, France and Poland.

All will hold their national championship races on Saturday 24 February except Australia, whose race will take place later this year (date TBC) to align with the indoor cycling season south of the equator. According to Zwift, more countries will be able to compete next year.

As the Zwift National Championships are proper races, there are naturally some rules

For 2018, both men’s and women’s races will take place on the Watopia Volcano Climb course. The men’s races will cover three laps of the 14.2 miles circuit (2,007ft of climbing) while the women will do two laps, making for 1,388ft of ascending.

We queried the difference in distances — which aren’t a given in a virtual competition — and Zwift explained that the original format was based on the UCI’s national road races, but that it had polled a significant number of female racers intending to compete in the virtual championships and the consensus was in favour of not adding a third lap to match the men’s race.

As the Zwift National Championships are proper races, there are naturally some rules which are laid out in full on the event page.

Interestingly, riders producing more than 5W/kg average power will be automatically disqualified unless they can provide evidence of similar real-world performances for verification by ZADA, the Zwift Anti-Doping Agency. Yep, it’s a thing!

You’ll also have to wear a heart rate monitor to be eligible for the win and smart trainers (or power meters) are mandatory.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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