By Ryan Dabbs
Zwift is set to host the 2022 UCI Cycling e-sports World Championships on 26 February, 2022 with any riders given the opportunity to qualify this time around.
A new qualification pathway will make the 2022 e-sports World Championships the most accessible yet, because community riders around the world will have the chance to qualify. Rather than the process being specifically reserved for higher level competitors, the qualification pathway for this e-sports World Championships provides everyone with a chance.
Five Continental Qualifiers, covering Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas will take place on 27-28 November, with the top five from each race awarded a start in the Elite 2022 UCI Cycling e-sports World Championships. The qualifying members will race for their respective National Federation.
Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder, said: “I’m delighted that community racers will be offered this new pathway into the UCI Cycling e-sports World Championships in 2022.
“Cycling e-sports was born from community racing, no different to any other form of e-sports competition, and it’s within this community where most of the talent lies. Cycling e-sports is a new discipline and skill, tactics and experience all play a huge role. I truly believe that we are creating one of the most accessible forms of competition.”
The UCI will also award automatic invites to 23 National Federations, which depends on a combination of cycling e-sports community size and the depth of talent on both e-sports and UCI road rankings.
UCI President, David Lappartient, said: "I’m excited for the opportunity to build on the success of last year’s milestone event with the second UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.
“The Olympic Virtual Series held earlier this year showed how cycling e-sports has the ability to drive global participation in cycling. It is therefore exciting to reveal a new opportunity for emerging cycling e-sports stars enabling them to compete with household names from the UCI WorldTour peloton.”
Centred around New York's Central Park, the 2022 e-sports World Championships will move from Zwift's virtual world of Watopia, to its New York map, which is set 100 years into the future, with elevated glass roads providing riders with views of the Manhattan skyline.
Both the men's and women's Elite fields will cover 54.9km for the race, while field size, broadcast exposure and prize money will also be equal for both men’s and women’s races.
Winners will also get both a digital and physical rainbow jersey, confirming them
as esport cycling world champions.
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