Pinarello’s flagship store in London’s St James’s will tomorrow host the opening round of Zwift’s new esports competition for pro cyclists, the KISS Super League – and with Wiggins Le Col among the team’s taking part, Sir Bradley Wiggins will be among those in attendance.
The virtual cycling platform announced plans for the format in December and has now confirmed the teams from around the globe that will take part in the men’s and women’s competitions.
The former will feature four UCI Pro Continental team and nine UCI Continental teams while the women’s event, which starts in February, features six UCI Women’s WorldTour teams; each competition will also have two teams from the Zwift community,
It’s Zwift’s first move into esports but the company says it plans to launch a “complete Zwift eRacing product” in 2020.
Zwift founder Eric Min said: “Pro cycling has embraced Zwift as a training platform and Zwift has proven itself as a talent ID platform for Pro Cycling. Now is the time to push on with esports and in doing so build value for Pro Cycling.
“Our goal is to create a new sport within a sport, celebrated by pro cyclists, amateur cyclists and cycling fans all over the world.
Team Wiggins founder – and Tour de France winner and multiple Olympic champion – Sir Bradley Wiggins – said: “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.”.
““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.”
Zwift aims to inspire a generation of younger cyclists and a wider audience to cycling by ‘gamifying’ the racing experience.
Former Premier League executive Craig Edmondson, recruited by Zwift to head up its esport business, said: “We’re not here to compete against the mighty backdrops of the Monuments and Grand Tours of pro cycling.
“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.”
Men’s KISS Super League Teams:
Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team (Professional Continental)
Israel Cycling Academy (Professional Continental)
Cofidis (Professional Continental)
Novo Nordisk (Professional Continental)
Team Dimension Data U23 (UCI Continental)
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes (UCI Continental)
Team Wiggins Le Col (UCI Continental)
Arapahoe|Hincapie p/b BMC (UCI Continental)
Madison Genesis (UCI Continental)
Oliver’s Real Food Racing (UCI Continental)
SEG Racing Academy (UCI Continental)
Pro Racing Sunshine Coast (UCI Continental)
Ribble Pro Cycling (UCI Continental)
Zwift Community All Stars
Zwift Academy Dream Team
Women’s KISS Super League Teams:
Hagens Berman Supermint
Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling
Zwift All Stars
Zwift Academy Dream Team
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.