Zwift will today host the first race in a new cycling esports invitational series, the Zwift Grand Prix. The new series will feature six new event formats. According to Zwift, these prioritize… ‘strategic thinking, competitive skill, teamwork, and viewing pleasure.’
The series is part of a wider strategy to drive forward the development of cycling esports as a discipline during 2022-233 – culminating in a brand new event format for the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, taking place on the Zwift platform in February.
A total of 24 teams have been selected to take part in the inaugural series, which will see equal fields, the same race formats, and equal prize money for both men and women.
Round One begins today, Friday September 23rd, at 18:00 UTC, and will see the racers compete in over five short-format events.
Zwift noted that the first round in the series… ‘‘Parcours Picker’ is a team-based point competition, with points accrued over all five races, with double points in the final race. Team captains need to be careful about rider selection, as they will be required to field every rider but must use a different member of their five-rider team in each of the five rounds.
‘Course knowledge will be essential, as each individual performance will contribute to the overall success of the team. The smaller field sizes will not only contribute to more dynamic racing but will provide an opportunity for every individual rider the chance to shine.’
Nathan Guerra, Founder of Zwift Community Live, and commentator for the Zwift Grand Prix, said “Two things really stand out to me in this first round of the Zwift Grand Prix Series.
“Firstly, this new format of competition provides the opportunity for teams to let their whole roster shine. It will be interesting to see how teams play their cards according to the predicted matchups and courses in store.
“As spectators, we will be able to see the strengths of every individual, in every team. That’s unique. Cycling is a team sport but it’s usually the all-star rider that gets the recognition from fans because they cross the line first. It’s easy to overlook the efforts of the team that got them in a position to win.”
Guerra continued, “Secondly, this series clearly aims to meet the needs of both the rider and the spectator. High risk to reward scenarios, embedded meaningfully in a larger tournament competition, helps deliver on making this an exciting format to watch but also keeps the racing fresh for the riders.
“As we see in round one, there are opportunities that provide each individual the chance to really show what they can do. It’s experimental, but this test comes out of many years of discovery to find the ingredients that will help cycling and esports to synergize. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds this season.”
All races will be streamed live on the Zwift YouTube channel.
Full season schedule:
Round 1 – Parcours Picker
Men: Friday, September 23 @ 18:00 UTC
Women: Friday, September 30 @ 18:00 UTC
Round 2 – Team Elimination Omnium
Men: Friday, October 7 @ 18:00 UTC
Women: Friday, October 14 @ 18:00 UTC
Round 3 – Squad Skirmish
Men: Friday, October 21 @ 18:00 UTC
Women: Friday, October 28 @ 18:00 UTC
Round 4 – Points Elimination Reverse
Men: Friday, November 18 @ 19:00 UTC
Women: Friday, November 25 @ 19:00 UTC
Round 5 – Team Elimination Omnium
Men: Friday, December 2 @ 19:00 UTC
Women: Friday, December 9 @ 19:00 UTC
Round 6 – Individual Relay
Men: Friday, January 13 @ 19:00 UTC
Women: Friday, January 20 @ 19:00 UTC
Men and Women: Late March (time and date TBC)