British Cycling has announced its line-up of 15 riders competing for Great Britain in the UCI Cycling E-sports World Championships, with 10 women and five men hoping to become world champions from their own home on Saturday February 26th.
Great Britain’s team features a mix of elite pros and amateur qualifiers, with each rider having proven themselves as the elite talent in e-racing. They’ll compete for equal prize money too, with the winner of both the Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s races earning € 8,000 and their own rainbow jersey in real life.
The 15 riders selected by British Cycling had to secure their place in the squad through a length qualification process, which included over 500 people battling for a coveted spot on the team.
British Cycling CEO Brian Facer said: “We’re incredibly excited about the potential for e-racing to create new pathways into our sport and help us reach a new, younger and more diverse audience, and through our partnership with Zwift we ‘ve been able to seamlessly integrate it into our offer for riders of all abilities.
“The open qualifiers saw 550 riders vying for a place in the team at this year’s championships, showcasing the strength and depth of the e-racing community across Britain, and I can’t wait to see how the team gets on later this month. ”
The women’s team includes UCI Women’s Continental rider Hayley Simmonds and Illi Gardner from Team CAMS-Basso, 2021 British Cycling National Masters Road Race champion Mary Wilkinson, Cycling Weekly Lockdown Series winner Charlotte Colclough and 2020 Zwift London International Women’s Race winner Harriet Gilson.
Accomplished hill climbers Natalie Stevenson, Lou Bates and Zoe Langham are also included, with double CTT Women’s BAR champion Alice Lethbridge and World Masters time triallist Helen McKay making up the rest of Great Britain’s women’s team.
Hayley Simmonds said: “It’s always a proud moment for me to pull on my national jersey and in this instance I’ll get to wear two of them – a real-life one and a virtual one as well. Zwift racing is still a relatively new experience for me so I’m looking forward to competing, and it’s crazy to think I’ll be competing for a rainbow jersey inside my own house. ”
The men’s team includes winner of 2018 Zwift KISS eCrit Series Live Final Gavin Dempster, 2019 British National Hill Climb champion Ed Laverack, Wahoo Le Col Zwift racing league rider Joseph Rees, NeXT eSports pb Enshored Team cyclist Mark Bruce and the runner-up last this year’s Masters Road Race National Championships, Andy Nichols.
Ed Laverack said: “I’m over the moon to be included in the squad, and to get the chance to represent British Cycling in the upcoming world championships. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’s going to be an amazing experience to be able to share the experience with a great group of riders. Hopefully we can produce a result and make everyone proud. ”
Eurosport, discovery +, GCN + and Zwift’s YouTube channel will broadcast the event from 6pm to thousands of cycling fans, as the riders take to Zwift’s New York “Knickerbocker” route in a scratch race format. They will cover a 54.9 kilometer route, which features 944 meters of elevation and gradients of up to 14 percent in places.
The riders will each also have three-in-race ‘PowerUps’, designed to provide them with extra attacking impetus whenever they need an advantage.
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