Pro riders's union raises concerns over ‘sensitive health data’ amid rise of e-racing

The CPA wants to protect ‘freedom of choice’ for riders when it comes to their data

Many pro riders use Zwift as a training tool

The pro riders union has raised concerns over the sharing of “sensitive health data” amid the rise of e-racing.

Cycling e-sports have grown rapidly in recent seasons, with riders from the professional peloton getting involved and the UCI planning to hold a Zwift World Championships in 2020.

But the international rider’s union, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), says it should be up to the individual how their data is used.

Rider details like heart-rate power and watts per kilogram are one of the main attractions of e-sports, as they allow fan to compare their own numbers.

Retired Italian pro and CPA president Gianni Bugno said: “We believe protecting the riders’ freedom of choice concerning the sharing of their sensitive data – heart-rate, height, weight, watts per kg – is a matter of paramount importance.

“Riders must be free to decide individually whether to let the teams release their data - and if so at what cost - or to use their data personally for promotional reasons, or even to keep them entirely private.”

In September, the UCI and online training platform Zwift confirmed the first ever Cycling E-Sports World Championships would be held in 2020, with the international governing body also announcing a new rulebook for the discipline is in the works.

The CPA is joining the new UCI working group on e-racing to set down regulations for the discipline.

Pros have been getting involved in the emerging world of online racing, with Zwift launching the first pro cycling league earlier this year, followed by ‘Zwift Classics’ races.

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Bugno added: “Sensitive data is the individual rider’s exclusive property and cannot be shared without their permission.

“The use of rider’s data in the e-sports context has broad legal and commercial implications that must be dealt with by the governing body of cycling, alongside all stakeholders, as soon as possible.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.