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Zwift national champion stripped of title because he didn’t earn the ‘Tron’ bike he rode within the game

It was all about the bike

The British Cycling eRacing national champion has been fined, banned and stripped of his title because the bike he rode in the final had only been earned through simulated efforts. Cameron Jeffers accepts that using software to get access to the bike was “unethical and unsporting” but says his physical performance in the final was still superior to those he beat.

British Cycling yesterday announced that a charge of unsporting conduct had been upheld against Jeffers following his victory in the inaugural eRacing national championships in March.

A statement said that the charge, “related to manipulation of pre-race data to gain an unfair advantage via in-game equipment.”

Jeffers – who rides on the road for the Saint Piran team in Cornwall – was stripped of his title, fined £250 and handed a six-month suspension from all racing.

The eRacing national championship was handed to James Phillips, who came second on the day.

In a video on YouTube, Jeffers explains that the unsporting conduct charge related to the bike he rode in the qualifiers and finals: a Zwift Concept Z1 bike – widely known as a “Tron” bike.

As well as offering a distinctive neon look, the Tron bike also offers in-game advantages. According to a speed test run by Zwift Insider, it beat the stock Zwift setup by 68 seconds on a full Watopia Figure 8 lap.

Towards the end of his video, Jeffers is keen to talk up the research and training he put in ahead of the national championships. As well as researching power-ups and course profiles, he says his physical performance in the races exceeded those of his rivals.

So you want to get into Zwift racing? Here’s our guide to getting started

In December last year, Jeffers had just got into Zwift racing and decided he wanted to give the recently announced national championships a go.

“I was starting to do more and more of the local community races within Zwift and someone messaged me; someone said to me: ‘Do you want the Tron bike in Zwift?’”

At the time, Jeffers hadn’t done much racing on Zwift and had “a pretty basic bike,” so he agreed.

To unlock the Tron bike, you have to climb 50,000m. Jeffers allowed the third party to log into his account and they used computer software to simulate the necessary efforts.

From then on, Jeffers used the Tron bike in training as well as in the qualifiers and National Championships.

He points out that British Cycling’s technical regulations for eRacing were written on March 8, 2019 – several months after he had gained access to the bike.

Jeffers actually only finished 12th in his national championships qualifier with only the top 10 going through to the finals.

Seemingly hinting at wider eRacing teething problems, he said that two of the top ten, “for some reason, they got taken out of that qualifying race – I don’t exactly know the reason why.”

Having qualified, Jeffers then faced a series of checks from Zwift and British Cycling. He said they requested power data and proof of his weight. He added that eRacing suffers “a host of problems,” day-to-day, including uncalibrated turbo trainers and inaccurate weight data.

He was given the green light to compete only for British Cycling to uncover the simulated efforts to acquire the Tron bike following an anonymous email complaint in April.

In a statement, Jeffers said: “I accept this practice was unethical and unsporting and I have cooperated fully with [British Cycling] on their investigation. I fully believe in esports and it’s part of cycling’s future. I will continue to support it and use what I have learnt from my mistakes to help shape it as it grows.”

Last month the UCI announced that it is to host the Cycling eSports World Championships in 2020.

UCI president David Lappartient said there was “a particularly exciting opportunity” to attract a younger audience to cycling through eSports.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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33 comments

Avatar
doc_davo | 47 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

Thats not particularly true or fair.

Lots of things in life can and do move on, and cycling is one of them. Whether you appreciate it or not (and I'm not a massive fan) Cameron's YouTube channel - effectively about domestic racing - has 50K subscribers, Biritish Cycling's YouTube channel has 20K follows, so you could argue in this modern day, he is doing more than our national governing body to promote the domestic racing scene.

This is especially more poignant that the domestic racing scene is on its knees and pretty much the worst its been for year, whilst the full Pro level is seeing boom years from a GB riders perspective. Not only is he doing it, but its doesn't cost me £65 per year to be a memeber of Camerons Cycling, and suffer from shocking calender oppurtunities and £25 fees to do a crit....

 

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andyp | 1607 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

'TT and power/weight is as much of an advantage on a TT as it is on the road'

 

hahahahahahaa

hahahahahahhahahahaa

hahahaaha

 

hahaa.

ha.

etc.

 

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Darren Franks replied to andyp | 30 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

Article wrote:

…A statement said that the charge, “related to manipulation of pre-race data to gain an unfair advantage via in-game equipment.”

Was he 'gaining an unfair advantage via in-game equipment' or removing one? I guess this comes down to how you interpret 'fair' when it comes to competitive e-sports.

I borrowed a mate's bike for a crit race in the summer. Should I have been DQ'd?

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peted76 | 2528 posts | 3 years ago
3 likes

So he brought an ingame bike from a chinese gold farmer.. jeeze, what a load of tosh. Can't help but feel this is an massive own goal for zwift.  Black mirror'esq.

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doc_davo replied to peted76 | 47 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

peted76 wrote:

So he brought an ingame bike from a chinese gold farmer.. jeeze, what a load of tosh. Can't help but feel this is an massive own goal for zwift. 

More so BC really, they are the ones who had an ill thought out national champs structure that favoured early adopters of Zwift, rather than traineroad, tacx, sufferfest etc - so probably there was the commercial pressure on them. There should have been more standardisation, not benefits based on how long you had been using Zwift.

In reality there should have been a selection of bikes to choose from, each with different advantages aero vs weight, have the same ability to choose different kit aero vs weight, and give a choice of x number of power ups. They were trying to embrace the 'E' in esports rather than it being pure roller racing, so you need to understand the platform not just bang the power out, much like in road racing where tactics still play a part

as for the miss approporiated kit, Zwift have given free virtual bikes and kit away to 'sponsored' riders, on eof the finalists was offered a Tron bke by zwift apparently.

Further to this the lack of accurate calibration on the day meant there was probably around 4% max difference between traininer set ups, not insignificant at 400W and also probably more of a effect than the tron bike.

Next we'll here that BC ban a rider for lying about a KOM or long ride they have put on Strava to psych a competitor out before the nationals!!!!

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Nick T | 1972 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

Who's the national champion down at the batting cages this season

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Nick T | 1972 posts | 3 years ago
4 likes

All this time fucking about on zwift, just imagine how good you'd be at street fighter if you spent that time more productively 

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ktache | 5910 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

Fine references, I raise you a Sarah Dunant and a Bonnie Greer.

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Judge dreadful | 645 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

Something that still makes me giggle, is the female ‘winner’ who was banging on about having a power / weight disadvantage on the hills. What? I mean really WTAF, you were on a turbo, going nowhere, this whole ‘genre’ is a massive joke.

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vonhelmet replied to Judge dreadful | 1636 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes
Judge dreadful wrote:

Something that still makes me giggle, is the female ‘winner’ who was banging on about having a power / weight disadvantage on the hills. What? I mean really WTAF, you were on a turbo, going nowhere, this whole ‘genre’ is a massive joke.

I believe a smart trainer will simulate the effects of the gradient and gravity and so on, so power to weight could be a thing... still stupid, though.

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bigbiker101 replied to Judge dreadful | 93 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

Judge dreadful wrote:

Something that still makes me giggle, is the female ‘winner’ who was banging on about having a power / weight disadvantage on the hills. What? I mean really WTAF, you were on a turbo, going nowhere, this whole ‘genre’ is a massive joke.

There isn't one profesisonal who doesn't have a modern TT and some form of simulation software, be it Zwift, TrainerRoad or the likes, all this comments says is you are living in the 20's mate, eSports maybe rubbish, but TT and power/weight is as much of an advantage on a TT as it is on the road

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Judge dreadful | 645 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

So, got caught cheating, at cheating ( Zwift bollocks ). Way to golaugh

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vonhelmet | 1636 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

What a load of wank.

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Xena replied to vonhelmet | 168 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

vonhelmet wrote:

What a load of wank.

That’s very well written piece , could you expand more on your “ load of wank “ comment . What’s behind such a coherent and thoughtful post ?  Have you anything published ? 

 

 

 

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vonhelmet replied to Xena | 1636 posts | 3 years ago
6 likes
Xena wrote:

vonhelmet wrote:

What a load of wank.

That’s very well written piece , could you expand more on your “ load of wank “ comment . What’s behind such a coherent and thoughtful post ?  Have you anything published ? 

 

 

 

Not every comment that follows yours is a response to yours.

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Rick_Rude replied to Xena | 840 posts | 3 years ago
4 likes

Xena wrote:

vonhelmet wrote:

What a load of wank.

That’s very well written piece , could you expand more on your “ load of wank “ comment . What’s behind such a coherent and thoughtful post ?  Have you anything published ? 

 

 

 

I thought it rivalled the work of Joyce but in a more abrupt form. The sort of thing Tom Paulin would have praised in a maudlin fashion on The Late Review. Darcus Howe would have loved it. Top marks. 

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Natrix replied to vonhelmet | 72 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

vonhelmet wrote:

What a load of wank.

I think I've seen your youtube channel..............

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Xena | 168 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

This whole computer generated sport is complete and utter bullshit . May as well play Mario cart.

Having all the gear and no idea. So typical . Everyone is a expert but cameraon  ( pun )couldn’t wipe  the shit of pantani ‘s arse . I’m sorry but every time I watch a cycling you tube channel like his or Francis Cade ( I think that’s its name ) it’s just pretentious wank  and “ look at me “  they are everything that is wrong with cycling they inspire no one except more of the pretentious same . 

I wanna see some kids from Hackney  or Tottenham  etc you get my point who are inspired to ride a bike  some real genuine athletic ability . Cycling keeps saying  it’s a people sport and Italy or France etc it is . But in the uk it’s full of pretentious wankers who get excited about long socks and ceramic jockey wheels that spin forever and the latest Rapha underpants .  Wankers all of them . 

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Rick_Rude | 840 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

I was reading about some guy who's gamed Zwift by the use his tech knowledge and an xbox controller. Somehow he's managed it to just hold the trigger down and put in inhuman effort whilst he just goes about the housework or whatever. I'm guessing if you want to just unlocks stuff without the effort that's the way to do it. 

I've just bought an Elite Direto so I'm not robbing  myself of the achievements seeing as I'm skint now. Need to get every penny out of it. So far direct drive is massively superior to my Tacx Vortex. 

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jamesppics | 16 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

"Someone emailed me and asked if Id like the bike and I didnt know anything about it".

Curious for someone whos youtube channel is all about his zwift racing...  

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Gary Macaulay replied to jamesppics | 4 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

jamesppics wrote:

"Someone emailed me and asked if Id like the bike and I didnt know anything about it".

Curious for someone whos youtube channel is all about his zwift racing...  

 

thats not true  , I watch his stuff on YouTube , and only a small part of it was Zwift related 

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Organon | 683 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

I don't use Zwift so forgive a silly question. Why are you able to earn much better bikes in the game? There is no 'Tron' bikin in reality. If it is a championship why don't they all start on the same bike? Yes in the real world it is possible to have a better bike than the next bloke, but at the top end pros all have 10K bikes that are within 1% performance of each other, as soon as one manufacturer does something, they others move to catch up. The bike should not be a radical component compared to the athletes performance (in real life anyway.) So why not have a level playing field? It's effectively an amateur ergo competition.

Apply Holy Grail logic: It is a silly place, let us not go there.
 

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jamesppics replied to Organon | 16 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

Organon wrote:

I don't use Zwift so forgive a silly question. Why are you able to earn much better bikes in the game? There is no 'Tron' bikin in reality. If it is a championship why don't they all start on the same bike? Yes in the real world it is possible to have a better bike than the next bloke, but at the top end pros all have 10K bikes that are within 1% performance of each other, as soon as one manufacturer does something, they others move to catch up. The bike should not be a radical component compared to the athletes performance (in real life anyway.) So why not have a level playing field? It's effectively an amateur ergo competition.

Apply Holy Grail logic: It is a silly place, let us not go there.
 

these and other gimmicks and shenanigans are what are supposed to make the game "sticky", and given Peloton has just IPO´d making its owner 450 million, its important. 

I find the whole "vrtual racing" thing tiresome and trivial. 

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Awavey | 3782 posts | 3 years ago
4 likes

I must have missed the announcement during the actual races/champs that said it was even more gamiefied because riders werent even on the same 'virtual' bikes and you could get upgrades...it was all about the riders physical effort people said...so what next year loot boxes ?

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brooksby replied to Awavey | 12198 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

Awavey wrote:

I must have missed the announcement during the actual races/champs that said it was even more gamiefied because riders werent even on the same 'virtual' bikes and you could get upgrades...it was all about the riders physical effort people said...so what next year loot boxes ?

Maybe next year you'll get to ride while skinned as Darth Vader...

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Awavey replied to brooksby | 3782 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Awavey wrote:

I must have missed the announcement during the actual races/champs that said it was even more gamiefied because riders werent even on the same 'virtual' bikes and you could get upgrades...it was all about the riders physical effort people said...so what next year loot boxes ?

Maybe next year you'll get to ride while skinned as Darth Vader...

Would the cape slow him down though,its not very aero...albeit sounding asthmatic bound to get lots of extra TUEs  3

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pavlo | 32 posts | 3 years ago
6 likes

"Don't be a dick"

Everyone knows what this means, and it doesn't need to be enshrined in any rules for someone to know when they are very much being a dick.

What a dick.

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Woldsman | 470 posts | 3 years ago
10 likes

It’s all a bit silly, isn’t it? 

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brooksby | 12198 posts | 3 years ago
2 likes

Difficult, isn't it? On the one hand he clearly cheated to get the bike (however you define 'cheating') but on the other hand the rules saying that such cheating breaks the competition rules weren't put in place until *after* he'd acquired the bike..,

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billymansell replied to brooksby | 208 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

brooksby wrote:

Difficult, isn't it? On the one hand he clearly cheated to get the bike (however you define 'cheating') but on the other hand the rules saying that such cheating breaks the competition rules weren't put in place until *after* he'd acquired the bike..,

Don't be fooled by this (further) deception.

He was found to be in breach of Terms of Service rules of Zwift and then found to be in breach of existing British Cycling rules of conduct.

Talk of breaking later rules is just another lie being spread by him and his accolytes.

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