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In conjunction with the UCI, Zwift is hosting the first-ever cycling esports world championships, and today the organizations announced that all competitors will be on the same model of Tacx NEO 2T Smart trainers for the virtual competition.
Zwift announced a number of other sponsors for the event — Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), Science in Sport (SiS) and Shimano — but the Garmin-Tacx piece is critical to the competition itself, as the Tacx smart trainers will measure the power of each rider.
A variety of smart trainers have flooded the market in recent years, most all with claims of high levels of accuracy. But, as with on-bike power meters, there is almost always small differences in power measurement between brands. So, putting everyone on the same trainer is akin to putting everyone on the same weight scale.
Measuring each rider’s weight will also be critical, as that component factors heavily into the game’s algorithm as it does in outdoor competition. There has not yet been word on how riders will weigh in. In other serious virtual races, sometimes riders have to take photos or videos of weighing themselves before competition.
“We are thrilled to be the official trainer partner for this inaugural event,” said Susan Lyman, Garmin vice president of global consumer marketing
The esports world champs on December 9 will be held on Zwift’s Watopia Figure 8 Reverse Course, finishing on top of the KOM Forward climb.
Both the men’s and women’s fields will race 50km with 483m of climbing. And yes, each winner will be awarded an actual, in-real-life rainbow jersey.
“There’s no doubt that we are going to make history on December 9th,” said Zwift CEO and co-founder Eric Min. “This will be the first esports world championship to be officially recognized by a sporting governing body, and it’s one that embodies all the values of traditional sport.”