Australian riders have captured five of the first 50 spots available at the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.
The Continental Qualifiers to the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships were held on Zwift last weekend, and featured a new qualification format across three regions. In Asia and Oceania, three women’s and five men’s places were available.
The events consisted of three back-to-back races, mimicking the elimination format that will decide the esports world champions next February.
The first two were simple scratch races, where each winner earned a qualification spot. The remaining riders contested a ‘win-and-out’-style criterium race, where the winner of each intermediate sprint booked their ticket to Worlds.
In the women’s Continental Qualifier, Hong Kong’s Lam Kong won the first race. Justine Barrow took out the second race, soaring to the top of the Innsbruck QOM Reverse climb.
Vicki Whitelaw secured the last spot available, outsprinting two New Zealanders in the final criterium.
The men’s events saw New Zealand’s Ollie Jones dominate the opening race, but Tasmania's Josh Harris clinched his spot by winning the Innsbruck hill climb with a powerful surge at the top.
In the criterium, Torben Partridge-Madsen earned qualification with an early breakaway. Kiwi Thomas Berry followed suit with a solo move to earn qualification, before Queenslander Kyle Marwood sealed the last spot with a well-timed late attack.
The UCI Cycling Esports World Championships will take place on February 18, with Australia aiming to defend Jay Vine’s world title in the men’s event.
The full Australian team will be announced by AusCycling on December 5.
You can see the full list of qualifiers below: