The professional riders’ union, the CPA, has called for athletes to have a say in whether their personal data is shared during e-racing events.
E-racing – typically on Zwift – is a relatively young, but growing discipline and as such regulations are still being fine-tuned.
Earlier this year, British Cycling held the inaugural eRacing national championships, only for the winner to be fined, banned and stripped of his title because the bike he rode in the final had only been earned through simulated efforts.
Zwift and the UCI have agreed to host the first ever UCI Cycling Esports World Championships next year.
CPA president Gianni Bugno welcomed the growth in e-racing and said that pro road racers could bring “kudos and value” to the discipline. However, he also warned that regulations would need to be looked at, specifically with regards to the sharing of personal data.
The spectacle of e-racing relies heavily on data with the presentation of power figures providing viewers with the opportunity to quantify the efforts of riders. Bugno said that whether or not this information were visible should be down to individual riders.
“We believe protecting the riders' freedom of choice concerning the sharing of their sensitive data (heart rate, height, weight, watts per kg, etc.) is a matter of paramount importance,” he said. “Riders must be free to decide individually whether to let the teams release their data – and = if so, at what cost – or to use their data personally for promotional reasons, or even to keep them entirely private.
“Sensitive data is the individual rider's exclusive property and cannot be shared without their permission. The use of riders' data in the e-sports context has broad legal and commercial implications that must be dealt with by the governing body of cycling, alongside all stakeholders, as soon as possible.”