Zwift is looking to ‘redefine and amplify cycling esports’ with the launch of the new Zwift Games.
According to the global online cycling platform… ‘Set to become the largest cycling esports event ever held, the Zwift Games are designed to give any cyclist the chance to enjoy fun and challenging virtual competition and to compete alongside thousands of other Zwifters.’
The Zwift Games are open to all, providing an open qualification pathway to the Zwift Games Elite Finals and the chance to be crowned overall Zwift Games Champion.
Qualification races will take place in late February 2024, with Zwift Games Elite Finals to be held over the first two weeks of March 2024. The Zwift Games will crown men’s and women’s champions across three medal disciplines, as well as overall male and female champions. Winners will also take home a share of Zwift’s biggest-ever prize purse (details to be confirmed).
The launch of the Zwift Games in 2024 appears aimed at resetting Zwift’s dominance as a virtual cycling platform, and as an environment for esports racing.
It follows the news that UAE-based virtual cycling platform MyWhoosh has replaced Zwift to become the host platform of UCI Esports World Championships going forwards. This was despite Zwift having forged a long-standing collaboration with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and being the host platform for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.
Championship and community events
Uniquely, any Zwifter from around the world will be able to enter any of the new Zwift Games championship events. Zwifters interested in participating in the Games without vying for the overall crown of Zwift Games Champion can enter community events linked to each championship.
Zwift adds that… ‘Such an open competition promises to make the Zwift Games the most democratic cycling championship ever held. To give Zwifters a look at the future of cycling esports, Zwift will also host exhibition races that showcase the latest innovations in Zwift racing.’
The Zwift Games will include the following three championship races:
The Sprint Championship: This race is built on elements of the Zwift Battle Royale pioneered for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. A challenge for the best cycling esports sprinters, racers will tackle several events back-to-back on a variety of courses, including some that are new to Zwift. Qualifiers will be open to all Zwift riders, with the top finishers progressing to the finals.
The Epic Championship: This is a race for those who like to go long. The gruelling race will be at least 60km long. The virtual race will make use of Watopia’s new Coastal Causeway as well as a new route. An Epic community event will take place at the same time as the championship, and any Zwifter can participate in either event without a qualifier, creating what Zwift is anticipating… ‘may be the world’s largest-ever cycling esports event.’
The Hill Climb Championship: Since it first opened in 2018, the Alpe du Zwift has tackled by more than 600,000 Zwifters who have navigated its 21 virtual hairpin turns and scaled its virtual heights. During the Zwift Games, the mountain goats of Zwift racing will have the chance to race from the bottom to the top. There is also an accompanying community challenge, which will feature the Alpe and other Zwift climbs, which all have different levels of challenge.
As with all Zwift races, Zwift adds that parity will be a central pillar of the Zwift Games. Race distances will be equal for men and women, and prize money will be split equally.
Further details, including the exact dates, formats, information on global broadcasts, and prize purse distribution will be shared in December.
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