Watts Up in Watopia: Esports World Champs

For the third time, Zwift is hosting the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. The event was first held in 2020 in Watopia. After a year hiatus in 2021 due to the pandemic, the second event was held in 2022 in the virtual world of New York. This year, the event is being held in the new virtual world of Scotland with a unique race format.

Race Format

The men’s and women’s fields will both be contesting three races within 75 minutes. The US men have 11 qualifiers among the field of 85, and the US women have 7 qualifiers among the field of 87.

Among the US women racing this year, Jacqueline Godbe (5th) and Kristin Kulchinsky (9th) finished in the top 10 in 2020, and Liz Van Houweling (5th), Courtney Nelson (8th), and Jacqueline Godbe (9th) finished in the top 10 in 2022. Among the US men racing this year, Ryan Larson finished 9th in 2020.

The first race is called The Punch and will be held on the Rolling Highlands course. The course is 14.1 km with 105 meters of rolling climbs. Only the top 30 from each field will advance to the next race.

After a short rest, the top 30 from The Punch will line up for the second race called The Climb, which will be held on the City and the Sgurr route. The course is 8.6 km with 161 meters of tough climbing per lap. Only the top 10 from each field will advance to the final race.

The third and final race is called The Podium and will be contested on the Glasgow Crit Circuit, which is a 3 km loop with 33 meters of climbing that makes for a punchy lap. This final race contested among the remaining 10 racers from each field will have an elimination format, commonly used in track racing. Once the race is underway, the LAST rider to cross the line is eliminated from the race. The eliminations will continue each lap until there are three remaining racers. On the final lap of the race, the three will battle for positions on the podium.

This new format will make for better viewing and more exciting racing than previous editions of the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. The compressed timeline of the three races can fit within your trainer session on Feb 18 (or after if you watch the replay), and the tactics of the racers could prove to be illustrative for your next category event on the same courses.

Where to Watch

The races will be broadcast live on Zwift’s YouTube Channel and on GNC’s YouTube Channel. Results will be available on Zwift’s website after the race. The races start at 10 am PST/1 pm EST. If you can’t catch it live, than the replays will be available on both YouTube Channels.

Leaderboards Are Coming

Right now, if you want to check your course times against the racers contesting the world championships (or your riding buddies for that matter), you have to head over to Strava. However, a recent survey distributed to the Zwift Advisory Panel suggests that leaderboards for courses in Zwift may be coming soon to the Companion App. It’s definitely a feature they are working on, but we will have to wait to see how leaderboards get integrated into the different parts of the Companion App. My hope is that they get incorporated into the club feature in a way that lets us establish in-club bragging rights for course PRs.

Here’s what we at Slowtwitch have planned for the rest of the month.

Slowtwich Indoors Event Preview (All Times Eastern)

Go to Zwift Events to sign up for these rides and runs.

Monday 100/100 Group Run, 7:00 AM & 7:00 PM
Join us for a group run on the virtual track of May Field that will kick start your week. Don’t forget that each of the five ride workouts and five run workouts have a short and long option. Rather than canceling a workout when you are crunched for time, you can complete the short version and still reap the benefits of the program.

Tuesday Ride of the Valkryies Workout (Women Only), 6:00 AM
This event is by and for women. It’s an almost no-drop, rubber-banded Structured Training workout, featuring a warm-up, set of intervals, and a cool-down.

Tuesday Structured Training, 7:00 PM
Our Tuesday ride features triathlon-focused cycling workouts written by coaches and pro athletes affiliated with Slowtwitch. The workouts last 60 minutes and will help add variety and interest to your weekly training schedule.

Wednesday Group Run, 7:00 AM & 7:00 PM
A more scenic group run on the Quatch Quest course.

Thursday Rise & Grind, 5:35 AM
This workout is an early morning bracer for the East Coast crowd. Get your work done before heading off to work.

Thursday SWIFT Ride, 6:55 PM
The newest ride to the Slowtwitch Indoors family, Slowtwitch SWIFT (Strong Women, It's Fun Together!) is here to bring another women's only ride to a slightly friendlier time slot. This ride will focus slightly more on strength-based work so bring those climbing legs. But even if you're feeling more like Mark Cavendish in the mountains of the Tour de France, so long as you keep the pedals moving, you'll stay with our group.

Friday Festina Lente, 9:00 AM
This structured training workout is designed to get you geared up for the weekend. Roughly translated as “make haste, slowly,” Festina Lente features a workout that will get your engine running but still leave some in the tank for the big rides and races you have planned for the weekend. This ride is led by members of the Kanberra Cycling Team as lead beacon.