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Why the esports world championships competitors will all race on the same trainer model

Zwift has announced the event's virtual partners which include Garmin-Tacx, Toyota South Africa Motors, SiS and Shimano

Photo by: Zwift

On Monday training platform Zwift, announced Garmin-Tacx, Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), Science in Sport (SiS) and Shimano as the official partners for the inaugural 2020 UCI Cycling esports world championships. The men’s and women’s virtual world championship races, taking place this December, will be held on Zwift’s Watopia course.

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Athletes from around the world will connect virtually to compete in the UCI sanctioned event. Although a variety of trainer brands can be used to race in Zwift, there are small discrepancies between them in watt readings and communication time. While these little differences aren’t significant for most Zwifters, at a world championship level a few watts could mean the difference between winning a rainbow jersey and going home empty handed. In an effort to standardize equipment, Garmin-Tacx will supply all participants in the event with its top-of-the-line trainer, the Tacx NEO 2T, so that everyone is on an equal playing field.

“We are thrilled to be the Official Trainer Partner for this inaugural event,” said Susan Lyman, Garmin VP of global consumer marketing. “As a company that encourages athletes to push their limits year-round, we are excited to provide participants with state-of-the-art NEO 2T Smart trainers and be part of their success as they race to be the first-ever 2020 UCI Cycling Esports World Champion.”

Zwift says standardizing the equipment will help them achieve the “highest levels of fairness and equality”, an important angle for the company to emphasize as virtual racing moves from unsanctioned fun to an official UCI event.

Other partnerships

Shimano has also signed on as a partner for the 2020 UCI Cycling esports world championships. The company will be the event’s official drivetrain partner, as it says the Dura Ace groupset is the ultimate racing drivetrain for both outdoor and indoor events. Science in Sport (SiS) is also pushing the indoor angle, and will be providing 2020 UCI esports world championships athletes with their new line of indoor nutrition, Turbo+. SiS says the Turbo+ range of sports nutrition is designed to meet the demands of indoor training.

Surprisingly, the event also has an official automotive partner for 2020. As Glenn Crompton, VP of marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors explains: “The unique blend of esports and physical sport is particularly interesting for us. The world of cycling resonates well with our customer base while the buzz and appeal of esports present an opportunity for us to reach the next generation of Toyota drivers.”

The first UCI Cycling esports world championships will take place on Dec. 9, 2020.