Out of 56 competitors in the inaugural UCI Esports World Championships, triathlete Lionel Sanders finished 29th. Only a few days earlier the Canadian finished fourth at the PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona. Even though he’s still recovering from that performance, Sanders was able to put together some impressive power numbers yesterday.
The Canadian out-biked professional cyclists like the current holder of the world hour record, Victor Campenaerts, who finished just behind Sanders in 30th place. Belgian elite cyclist Thomas de Gendt couldn’t keep up with the Zwift experience of some other riders, either. Sanders’ success is no-doubt the result of the many hours the triathlete generally spends on the Zwift platform – one assumes things would have been very different in a “normal” road race.
Surprisingly it wasn’t a pro cyclist who took the World Championships of Esports – Germany’s Jason Osborne, a former rowing world champion topped the podium. He was the fastest on the day through the popular Figure 8 Reverse loop in Zwift’s Watopia circuit, making his move on the final 800-m climb. Osborne took the gold ahead of Dennmark’s Anders Foldager and Nicklas Pedersen, who took the silver and bronze medals two seconds behind the winner.
While Sanders finished in the middle of the pack, half-way through the race he moved to the front in a small attack with two other Canadians. Unfortunately, he was quickly caught by the group. Overall, though, the Canadian team were the top-performing country thanks to their hard work with five men in the front.
Sanders completed the 50 km race in 1:05:42, 28 seconds behind Osborne. The Canadian’s Normalized Power (NP) for the race was 362 watts, which was good for an average of 5.4 watts per kilogram, with a peak of 8.9 watts for a short period of 15 seconds.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio wins the women’s race
South African Ashleigh Moolman Pasio won the women’s race in 1:13:26. Australian Sarah Gigante took second, while Sweden’s Cecilia Hansen rounded out the podium.