The 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championship

Coming to a screen near you the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Championships.

Saturday February 19th at 6pm UTC, the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Championships will be happening on Zwift.

If you’re a keen indoor cyclist – or even if you’re not – this is a chance to watch the world’s best Esport athletes battle for a rainbow jersey. So get comfy on your sofa with your favourite race food and “recovery” drink and watch the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Champs!

One lucky rider will get to wear this jersey at the end of the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships

The athletes will be competing on Zwift’s new Scotland world map. The maps draw inspiration from parts of Scotland that will be hosting the real-world UCI World Championships. And these real-world champs are a special edition where all cycling disciplines will be present.

Zwift created the Scotland map specifically for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Champs
Zwift created the Scotland map specifically for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Champs

The format

This year’s UCI Cycling Esports World Championships are trying out a new format. Rather than one race with one winner at the end, this year there’s a three round competition. First up is “the Punch”. This is one lap of Scotland’s “Rolling Highlands” route. The Punch is a rolling, figure-8 route with the key Breakaway Brae “Punch” at the end of the 5.1km lead-in as well as the end of the race. Only thirty riders will progress to the next round “the Climb”.

The “Climb” is held on Scotland’s “City and the Sgurr” route. This map features three ascents of the Sgurr climb, with the finish line coming at the top of the third ascent. Riders will tackle the Sgurr Summit North first on gravel roads. They then descend the other side, turn around, and climb the shorter, paved Sgurr Summit South. From there it’s one final descent and turnaround before the last climb up Sgurr Summit North to the line!

From there the final ten will compete on Scotland’s “Glasgow Crit Circuit”, which is described as “a punchy, twisty city crit course perfect for elimination-style races”. Each lap the last rider through the Clyde Kicker and Champion’s Sprint banners will be eliminated, leaving just three riders to fight it out for the rainbow jersey and pocket the 8000 euros. With all the races being around twenty minutes, the action should be fast and furious.

Riders and regulations

There will be separate races for men and women, with equal prize purses of 8,000 euros for first, 4,000 euros for second and 2,000 euros for third. While some countries have only one or two riders, others are fielding more than ten riders. Will this lead to something like the tactics you’d see in a real-world race? Most riders will have been selected by their national federations, trawl though the start list at the end of this article and see if you can spot the big names!

To ensure a level playing field riders will have to comply with the following rules.

  • Zwift’s Esports Rules and Regulations apply to these Esports Worlds events, as well as UCI’s Regulations. The UCI assumes overall responsibility for the governance of the events.
  • Riders have to hold a racing license valid in the relevant country.
  • Riders are required to comply with the UCI’s anti-doping program.
  • All UCI Esports Worlds riders will use the same trainer for the big race: Wahoo’s KICKR v6
  • Trainer Difficulty of 100% will be automatically set for all riders
  • Bikes and wheels will be neutralized in terms of performance, so riders can select any frame or wheelset they’d like (not TT bikes, disc wheels, or “novelty” bikes allowed)
  • All riders must complete a performance verification prior to the race. This can either be a dual-recorded ZADA workout test on Zwift, or data files/Strava links which evidence a rider’s best IRL efforts across several time intervals.
  • Height and weight verification videos are required from all riders.

All the action is live on Zwift’s YouTube channel or GCN’s YouTube channel. It will also be available via Eurosport (digital).

The fields

Men's field for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Champs
Men’s field for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Champs
Women's field for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Champs
Women’s field for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Champs

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