Racers now required to qualify for US National Esports Championships

USA Cycling launches six-race series to serve as qualifiers for championship hopefuls

USA Cycling 2022 eSports National Championships
(Image credit: USA Cycling)

Just five years ago, there were no virtual cycling championships to contest - neither on a national level nor on a global scale. But the virtual sports world is booming, so much so that USA Cycling felt the need to lay down some criteria of who can compete in the 2024 Esports National Cycling Championship and vie for the increasingly coveted stars-and-stripes avatar kit.

Previously, anyone could register for the USA Cycling Esports National Cycling Championship but for the January event, championship hopefuls are required to participate in at least one qualifying race. 

USA Cycling is partnering with Echelon Racing to host a series of six races on the Zwift platform, open to all competitors and nationalities. In order to compete in the USA Cycling 2024 Esports Championship, however, you must hold a valid USA Cycling license.

Racers will have three chances to complete a qualifying race before the 2024 championships, and three more virtual competitions they can opt to race in after the championships.

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December 2, 2023Bell Lap Criterium38 Kilometers
December 16, 2023Innsbruck KOM After Party37.2 Kilometers
December 30, 2023Casse-Pattes Circuit46 Kilometers
January 6, 2024USA Cycling Amateur National Championships3 Race Omnium Event
January 7, 2024USA Cycling Elite National Championships3 Race Omnium Event
January 13, 2024Wandering Flats Time Trial25.1 Kilometers
January 20, 2024Serpentine 8 Gravel38 Kilometers
January 27, 2024Libby Hill After Party Road Race33 Kilometers

It is $25 in total to register for all six races, excluding the USA Cycling Esports National Championships. Riders must abide by all USA Cycling esports guidelines and rules which may include verifying data and rider identity. 

With esports gaining traction as a potential Olympic sport, cycling “traditionalists” may want to begin warming up to the idea that phenomenal riders truly can be made in the great indoors. 

The UCI and USA Cycling certainly appear all-in. In December 2020, the UCI hosted its first-ever esports world cycling championship, which saw a global field contest a 50km route with 483 meters of simulated elevation gain on the winding roads of Zwift's Watopia. The men's race was won by Jason Osborne, an Olympic rower for Germany, while WorldTour climber Ashleigh Moolman Pasio won the women's race.

The esports global cycling championship took a hiatus in 2021 but has since been held in 2022 and 2023 - again on Zwift - with Denmark’s Bjørn Andreassen and the Netherlands’ Loes Andegeest taking gold in the men’s and women’s races, respectively.

USA Cycling hosted its first Esports National Cycling Championship in 2022 on the RGT platform. Illinois’ Mason Rocca (606 Racing) and California’s Jacqueline Godbe (Saris/NoPinz) claimed the gold, and went on to represent their country in the 2022 UCI esports world championship later the same week.

In 2023, Godbe took first in the elite women’s national championship race again with Scott Catanzaro (NeXT esport p/b Enshored) winning the elite men's race. Godbe went on to clinch bronze for Team USA after three intense races in the 2023 UCI esports championships. 

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