55 women from 20 counties around the world lined up for a chance to compete in the first UCI Cycling Esports World Championship race on December 9. Participants were a mix of professional road cyclists, mountain bikers, and digital pros from online cycling platform Zwift. Racers cycled four laps of the virtual course titled “Figure 8 Reverse” in Zwift’s Watopia, totaling 50km and 483m of elevation on their indoor trainers. CCC-Liv’s Ashleigh Moolman Pasio pushed to the front of the lead group aboard her virtual Liv Langma off the start, setting a quick pace with the other leaders that splintered the peloton.
On the final climb with just 500m to go, Moolman Pasio started her sprint. With the help of a carefully timed feather power-up which reduces a rider’s weight by 10 percent in the Zwift platform, she burst ahead and held off her competitors all the way to the line to secure the victory and the very first UCI Esports World Championship title.
“I’m super proud and happy to be the first ever UCI Esports World Champion,” Moolman Pasio posted on Instagram. “2020 has been a strange year, but I’m proud to be part of this Esports movement.”
After taking to Zwift during the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown in Spain earlier this year, Moolman Pasio also racked up wins during the platform’s Classics series, Tour for All, and the virtual Tour de France.