The coronavirus pandemic has forced many elements of our usual life to be transferred online, including sports. It even touched the world of bicycle racing.
One of the key players in this industry is Zwift, an online platform that allows cyclists and runners to compete at a high level in the comfort of their homes. You don’t need to buy special equipment for this, even a regular bicycle will do. It is only necessary to replace its rear wheel with a smart drive, which is able to dose the load on a virtual track. The machine also measures the performance parameters of the rider and transmits them to Zwift.
Cycling has managed to move online also because they have sponsors with prize funds. The first ever championship was supported by the same Zwift, which announced that it would award the winner with a prize of 8,000 euros. But where real money appears, fraudsters appear who want to get it.
With the start of the second season of its cycling league championship, Zwift announced that it would disqualify the top two riders for a period of six months. The fact is that according to the rules, tournament participants must provide data on their performance during the race from two different sources. In the case of the two identified cheaters, these data differed. The performance of one of them increased during the arrival by 9%, and the other – immediately by 32%. The second scammer confessed that he edited the parameters before passing them to Zwift. The first one claims that the strange jump in his performance was caused by problems with the program, because of which his team had to download data through a third-party platform.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that athletes have tried to use modern technology to gain an advantage in virtual competitions. For example, the German Formula E racer from the Audi team, Daniel Abt, was disqualified last year after hiring a professional gamer to compete in his place.