2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships With Chris Dawson

#TORQFuelled Chris Dawson battled to an impressive 21st place at the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships on 18th February 2023 held on the Zwift Esports cycling platform.

Eighty six riders formed the opening field of the UCI Esports World Championships, and #TORQFuelled Chris Dawson (representing Ireland) was one of the riders to watch!

For 2023, the Esports World Championships opted for a brand new race format. This new format featured 3 individual races in the virtual world of Glasgow, and just like any other Zwift race you may have competed in, the athletes were able to deploy “PowerUps” which would add an element of tactical strategy to the racing.

All athletes were awarded the same PowerUps throughout the race. The first of which, known as the “Breakaway Burrito”, was up for grabs in race 1 & 3, and the “Anvil” was the PowerUp selected for race 2. When deployed, the “Breakaway Burrito” disabled drafting for all riders in a small radius of the competitor for 10 seconds, which means those around the rider using the “Breakaway Burrito”, have to ride just that bit harder to maintain the same pace. On the other hand, the “Anvil” makes a Zwifter heavier for 30 seconds. With the second race featuring a fast and lengthy decent, the “Anvil” PowerUp became a highly valuable strategic tool.

An overview of each stage can be seen below.

Race 1 // “The Punch” // 14.1 km // 106m Elevation 

All 86 riders started race 1 known as “The Punch”. This race was an elimination race, with only the top 30 riders progressing into race 2 known as “The Climb”. Race 1 featured two short punchy climbs which saw riders having to dig deep into their reserves to ensure they didn’t lose those valuable meters which kept them sheltered from the virtual wind resistance. Chris rode the first race very tactically, staying sheltered within the main bunch of riders and slowly progressed his way through the peloton as the Km’s ticked by. On the final climb (a hill top finish), Chris unleashed a powerful attack, ensuring he rolled through the finish line in 8th position, giving him a place in the second race of the the evening.

Race 2 // “The Climb” // 8.6km // 166m Elevation 

As the top 30 riders from race 1, entered race 2, there was very little time to feel settled. Race 2 was short and sharp. 8.6km in total, with 3 short and steep climbs. This race provided no other option but to dig deep from the outset. Chris once again rode a very tactical race, positioning himself well for the first climb, using it as an opportunity to identify the strongest riders in the peloton and learn which “wheels to follow”. With the race distance being so short, it wasn’t long before the heat was turned up and the first of the attacks were deployed on the second climb of the stage. With a gap of 3 seconds opened as a result of the attack, riders used the “Anvil” PowerUp (making them heavier) on the decent to attempt to close the time gap. With only 2km to go, Chris ramped up the power to bring the group back to the breakaway, forming one large group of riders once again. Only the top 10 riders from race 2 would progress through to the final race of the evening, which meant with less than 2km to go, these positions would be battled out on the final climb.

Attacks, and counter attacks came thick and fast, and with only 10 places up for grabs, there was no time to think about which attack to follow. The riders had to go with them all. On the final climb, Chris was looking strong, clearly showcasing his ability to counter the moves. With around 400m to go, Chris was in 6th position. Realising that the in game dynamics could result in Chris not benefiting from the “elastic band” effect, he tried to back off the power slightly to ride in the slipstream of another rider. Just as Chris was implementing his race strategy, a burst of attacks came from behind making it very difficult to connect with a rider. Chris finished the evening of racing with the rank of 21st in the world! We think he can be very happy with that!

We are really proud to have supported Chis on just one of his major 2023 goals and we will keep you up to date with other major events that Chris is competing in throughout 2023.

Race 3 // “The Podium” // 12.3km // 133m Elevation

The last race of the evening known as “The Podium” saw the top 10 riders from race 2, battle it out for the title of Esports 2023 World Champion. This race was a true elimination race, where riders completed laps of the course route seen below. Each time the peloton crossed the start finish line, the last rider to do so was eliminated from the race until only the final 3 riders were left.

The 2023 World Champion, Bjørn Andreassen rode away in the early stage of the race opening up a 10 second gap. This strategic move was enough to see him hold the time gap to the end and race to achieve a solo victory.

To watch the World Championship race again, you can watch watch it on the Zwift Youtube channel here.