IS E-RACING THE FUTURE OF CYCLING?
The KISS Super League is the first dedicated esports competition featuring professional cycling teams which will be held exclusively on Zwift. The series consists of 15 teams from all around the world including UCI Pro Continental teams, UCI Continental teams, as well as community-level teams. Wahoo is providing the gold standard KICKR Indoor Smart Trainer to Wahooligan teams Hagens Berman Axeon, Novo Nordisk, and Arapahoe Resources–BMC, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes.
“Axeon has a track record of unearthing world-class young talent so I’m optimistic that esports on Zwift will help amplify this focus.”
Men’s Super League Teams
UCI Pro Continental Teams:
Hagens Berman Axeon
Israel Cycling Academy
UCI Continental Teams:
Oliver’s Real Food Racing
Team WIGGINS Le Col
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka U23
SEG Racing Academy
Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
Ribble Pro Cycling
Zwift Community All-Stars
Zwift Academy Dream Team
The race series will take place over the course of ten races made up of four riders from each team. Each rider receives points during the race series and these points are added up to determine the team winner of the series. While winning a race adds a large sum of points to the teams total it is important to have the entire team finish well. Individual results are not the main attraction here, rather the team’s overall standings are the primary focus.
Each rider must use a smart trainer with a +/- 2% power accuracy rating, a heart rate monitor and must weigh in before each race to ensure the power numbers are as accurate as possible. The KICKR Smart Trainer meets these standards and the TICKR Heart Rate Monitor ensures that accurate heart rate data is provided to riders and viewers throughout the series. These are the same tools used by Team Sky and Katusha Alpecin making the KICKR and the TICKR the Choice of Champions. Riders will be rewarded throughout each race with “power-ups” that provide the rider with a virtual advantage over their competitors. The rider and the team that knows how to put the game portion of Zwift to good use will have an advantage over the competition.
Is This the Future of Cycling?
With races disappearing off the calendar, teams losing funding and the doping scars from past generations, the state of pro cycling as we know it is in difficulty. We see teams like Education First Pro Cycling diversifying their race calendars to include races like Dirty Kanza and Leadville 100, Does this mean there is room for pro cycling to be something different than it has been for the last 20 plus years? Don’t misunderstand us, we love pro cycling and we love each of our pro teams that race with passion and embody what it means to be a Wahooligan. We are however interested in seeing elite cycling diversify the way races are held and finding new ways of engaging current and prospective riders.
“The history of cycling is very special to me but this doesn’t mean things should not change,”
Sir Bradley Wiggins
Brad says it best in the above quote. Change is good, it means growth, new opportunities and most importantly, change challenges the status quo, which is something we have been doing since the first day Wahoo opened its doors. We embrace this new form of racing by providing our teams with trainer products they can use to race on Zwift. The equipment used by the pros during the KISS Super League is the same trainer set up used by the Canyon ZCC team and the Cycling Hub team which is comprised of YouTubers the Vegan Cyclists and Cameron Jeffers, both of which are part of the KISS Community League.
Technology has always pushed racing forward, sometimes kicking and screaming but always forward. Riders and teams are always looking to technology to find an edge over the competition. Whether it be wind tunnel testing, training at elevation, frame materials and design or power- meters; technology has always been the catalyst to move racing and performance forward. With tech like the KICKR Smart Trainer and the indoor riding accessories available it is a natural conclusion that racing would follow in technologies footsteps as it has time and time again. E-racing on platforms like Zwift is just the next step in the evolution of elite level racing and may very well be the perfect fit for the amateur who is looking to test themselves against their peers.
Competition is at the heart of racing, does e-racing have the competition? We think so and we think you should give it shot as well. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.