Zwift has announced the latest development in cycling e-sports in the form of new “Classics” races.
The Zwift Classics will be raced by professional from well-known teams alongside amateurs in the model of the Kiss Super League series, which launched earlier this year.
Online training platform Zwift will host a series of “one-day” events for men and women, in contrast to the Kiss Super League which was a series of linked races with an overall winner.
CEO of Zwift e-sports Craig Edmondson said: “We’re thrilled to be taking the next step in our e-sports journey with the Zwift Classics.
“The Kiss Super League was a fantastic first series and we took many learnings from it.
“The focus for the Zwift Classics will be on streaming – we want to deliver the best experiences for the viewer at home. The dynamic of one-day racing is different to that of a series or a stage race – these races will have to lay everything on the line. It’s win or bust, so I have no doubt we will see some exciting high-octane racing.”
The Zwift Kiss Super League brought together riders from men’s second and third tier riders from across the world in an 10-round series of online races, with eight women’s rounds being held alongside.
Madison Genesis rider Ian Bibby won the inaugural men’s league, while Louise Houbak from the Zwift All Stars talent squad won the women’s.
The races were streamed live on Facebook with some teams also racing in person during special, including the launch at the Pinarello store in central London.
In the Zwift Classics, teams of five will race over six confirmed events starting on July 3 with a women’s event and running until September 5.
The teams will vary between rounds, but confirmed riders for the women’s London International race in July are Sho-Air-Twenty20, Innovation Cycling, Vision, Race3R, Velocity Vixen/Fox, Team Draft, Rowe and King, WNT-Rotor and BRT Hellcatz.
General manager of the Sho-Air team Nicola Cranmer said: “I am excited to see another Zwift race series on tap.
“I love the pro-am format as it has the potential to open up talent identification outside of the existing pro peloton.
“It’s still early days, but I feel strongly that a robust e-racing program can be pivotal for women’s cycling, helping attract in new partnerships.
“The entertainment value is high, the media impressions are tangible, and there is a new fan base to be cultivated.”
The current events scheduled are the women’s races London International on July 3, Richmond Challenge on August 7, and Rund um Innsbruck on September 4.
Men’s races will be held on July 10 with The Apple Lap, Trofeo Bologna on August 14 and finally Watopia Cup on September 5.
Teams racing the men’s events have yet to be announced, with more races expected to be scheduled in the future.
Races will be streamed live from the Zwift Live Facebook page.