Cycling: Esports races can be more intense than the outdoor format, Sport News & Top Stories


SINGAPORE – Road cyclist Darren Lim has never donned the Singapore jersey in an international race since joining the national training team in August 2019.

But on Sunday, November 28, he donned one and competed in the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 UCI Esports World Cycling Championships – from the comfort of the OCBC Arena.

Although he hasn’t met any of his competitors from other countries in person, Lim, 23, said it was a good experience racing against other cyclists on the continent, albeit behind a screen.

“It’s a whole different experience (than running in person). You don’t have to focus so much on where you are positioned or your surroundings. It’s more about controlling your power in your legs. “, he added.

He was joined by national mountain bikers Arfan Faisal and Mun Yong Liang in the 59.5 km race on Zwift. It was their first participation in an international e-sport cycling competition.

Lim finished 13th in 1h28min 56sec while Mun (1:30:44) and Arfan (1:33:28) were 16th and 17th respectively. Japan’s Takato Ikeda won in 1:24:15. He and his compatriots filled the top five places, qualifying them for the world championships in February.

Online cycling, which allows riders to participate in virtual races on indoor training platforms such as Zwift, was approved by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as an official cycling discipline in 2018.

The first UCI Cycling Esports World Championships took place last December, with the participation of 132 riders from 22 nations.

Arfan, 21, said: “I tried my best but couldn’t keep up. The Japanese are very fast but I’m going to watch the video and think and see what they do to understand how I can. improve myself. “

On the virtual running format, he added: “Personally, I’m more of an outdoors person. I love the feeling of seeing and experiencing my environment. When you are in a peloton you can feel the tension and you can use all of your senses, not just your leg strength.

“But it’s good that we did this together in the same place because it really helped with the mood. I relish this opportunity because it’s not every day that you can represent the nation.”

Mun, 28, thought the virtual format was more intense because data like their speeds and heart rates was there for everyone to see.

(Left to right) Arfan Faisal, Darren Lim, Mun Yong Liang at OCBC Arena on November 28, 2021. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

The official said: “You can see everyone’s data and you know when someone is attacking, so you need to be vigilant at all times.

“It is also a good opportunity to put indoor cycling in the spotlight because it is very accessible and more people can enjoy the sport in a safe environment.”

Meanwhile, the women’s team of Tsalina Phang, Lyn Ahmad and Faye Foo automatically qualified for the world championships after their rivals encountered technical difficulties and were unable to settle in time. The results are awaiting ratification by the UCI.

Phang, 41, said: “It’s a bit disappointing not having the competition because I was excited and hoping to end my year on a high with running. But it’s cool that we are all three in the world championships. “


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