UCI confirms format changes to Esport Worlds for 2023

The esports world championships set for February see significant tweaks.

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The UCI announced key changes to the format for the next edition of the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships set for February 18.

Along with its partner Zwift, the 2023 championships will feature three events.

According to the UCI, they are called “The Punch,” “The Climb,” and “The Podium” across three different formats.

“This innovation will make the annual flagship event of cycling esports even more exciting and spectacular,” a press note read Friday. “The new format will be the same for both men and women. The two pelotons will each consist of a maximum of 100 riders who will have earned the right to start through a qualification system.”


Here’s what’s on tap:

The Punch: One men’s and one women’s race will see the 100 riders of each gender compete in a 13.8km race over rolling terrain. The top-30 will qualify for the next race, with the rest being eliminated from the competition.

The Climb: The second race will see the remaining 30 riders both male and female compete in hill repetitions, with a total length of 8.5 km and 162 meters of vertical gain. Only the top 10 finishers of both categories will advance to the next stage.

The Podium: The final event will take place on the last of the three new circuits containing short, challenging climbs, and will see riders fighting for position, as one rider is eliminated through each archway until three riders remain. These riders will then battle it out to the finish in a bid to win the title of UCI World Champion.

Officials said the start list for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships is expected to be announced in early 2023.

The UCI Continental Qualifiers for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will take place this weekend on the Zwift platform.

These qualifying events will see the men’s and women’s peloton compete for the 25 qualifying places for each gender to represent their country at the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.

Last year, Loes Adegeest earned a place on the Dutch national team through the continental qualifiers, and later won the 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships after dropping reigning UCI World Champion Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (RSA) on the steep final climb. She is due to turn pro on the road with FDJ-Suez next season.

The continental qualifiers could therefore once again prove to be the springboard to success, officials said.

The qualifying races this weekend can be followed on Zwift’s YouTube channel. The women’s races are on Saturday at 15:00 CET, and the men’s races are on Sunday at 15:00 CET.

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