Zwift has officially unveiled plans for a pioneering e-sports competition, touted as a rival to the UCI World Championships which it has lost to MyWhoosh. The event, named The Zwift Games, will feature both male and female athletes vying for the top spot in three distinct disciplines, with the most substantial prize pot ever offered by Zwift being equally distributed among the champions.
The competition promises inclusivity, opening its doors to cyclists worldwide and offering an open qualification pathway leading up to the elite finals scheduled for early March 2024. These qualification events are set for February 2024, ensuring every keen Zwifter has the chance to progress to the final stage.
Zwift’s move comes after a previous announcement in August that they would relinquish hosting rights for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships to MyWhoosh, which will now manage the championships until 2026. Despite this change, Zwift remains committed to developing premier events, as evidenced by the upcoming Zwift Games.
Community events will run alongside each championship race, offering an alternative for those who prefer not to compete for the overall titles. Zwift asserts that such an open format could make the Zwift Games the most democratically held cycling championships to date.
Gameplay Details and Race Formats
The Zwift Games will comprise three championship events:
The Sprint Championship will adopt the best features of Zwift’s Battle Royale from the 2023 Esports Worlds, with riders facing multiple back-to-back events. The Epic Championship will be a gruelling race of at least 60 kilometres, including the Coastal Causeway route and a new course, possibly making it the largest cycling esports event globally. Lastly, The Hill Climb Championship will search for the top esports climber by challenging racers with the entire Alpe du Zwift climb, alongside an accompanying community challenge.
Significantly, race distances will be equal for both male and female competitors, and the prize money will reflect this parity. More information on the event specifics is expected to be shared by Zwift in December.