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Zwift launches e-sports league with 15 pro teams

Joe Robinson
22 Jan 2019

Teams will take part in the inaugural e-sports league that begins tonight in London

Page 1 of 2Zwift launches e-sports league with 15 pro teams

Zwift has confirmed the 15 professional men's teams set to take part in its inaugural pro e-sports cycling league, which begins tonight - Wednesday 23rd January.

ProContinental teams Hagens Berman Axeon, Israel Cycling Academy and Cofidis will be among those racing the KISS Super League, a 10-race series raced completely online using the virtual app.

The series will be contested on a points-based system with each race having to be raced by teams of four. The wearing of heart rate monitors will be mandatory while all riders have to race on organiser-provided power meters. 

Interestingly, the use of the in-game power-ups will also be permitted.

Also competing will be British Continental teams Ribble Pro Cycling, Canyon-dhb, Madison Genesis and Team Wiggins-Le Col, the latter racing at the launch of the new league at Pinarello's flagship London store on Wednesday 23rd January.

A live link to the race can be found here.

In attendance at the launch will be Bradley Wiggins himself, alongside Dimension Data's Steve Cummings, and Wiggins views the introduction of Zwift into the professional ranks as a natural progression that could potentially have wider implications to the health of children.

'I’m well known for being a student of the sport. The history of cycling is very special to me but this doesn’t mean things should not change,' said Wiggins.

'BMX bikes came out of nowhere to become the "must have" thing when I was a kid in the 80s. Now it’s an Olympic discipline. This story of cycling is ever evolving and as a parent I want to see our sport provide accessibility and inspiration for young people.

'If a computer game can get kids off the sofa and onto a bike to workout and compete, then I’m a supporter.'

Many have criticised Zwift for taking a sport that's core was to have riders outside to forcing them in, however, it does promote a healthy lifestyle that can be adopted by those too busy to enjoy the time-consuming hobby of cycling.

The brand also argues that this league will not compete directly against the stunning beauty of the Grand Tours or grit of the Monuments rather complement it with an interactive viewing platform, as stated by Craig Edmondson. 

'We’re not here to compete against the mighty backdrops of the Monuments and Grand Tours of pro cycling,' said Edmondson.

'Our role is to deliver something brand-new to cycling. By gamifying racing we will create entertaining coverage and introduce an added dimension to bike racing. Team-based competition, power-ups, course "know how" and the differences in racing physics makes Zwift a new battleground for competition. Watts per kilogram is only one of many key factors.'

Following the launch of the men's league, the women's league will be also launched in February with the inclusion of WorldTour teams Canyon-Sram and Cervelo Bigla.

Eventually, the brand hopes to launch its first e-racing game for amateurs by the end of January. 

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Page 1 of 2Zwift launches e-sports league with 15 pro teams