Top cyclists caught doping ... this time in a virtual championship Along with new forms of sports struggles, there are also new methods of cheating, which has been proved by the competitors taking part in the virtual cycling championships.

The coronavirus pandemic has moved many aspects of our lives to the virtual world, including physical activity. Of course, we are not talking about cases of playing NBA or FIFA on the console and computer, but the actual professional competition, e.g. in cycling, which is possible thanks to special software and interactive trainers. It turns out, however, that even this form of competition is not free from cheating ... only the form has changed - athletes may not doping, but they can manipulate the equipment, making it easier for themselves to win.

One of the online platforms that allows indoor riders to compete in sports is Zwift. As we mentioned, you do not even need to have special hidden links bikes of the company to take part - all you need is your own bicycle, in which we replace the rear wheel with an intelligent trainer, able to increase the difficulty of the race, based on a virtual route, imitating the conditions prevailing on a normal route (these devices they also measure other elements and send the results to Zwift). Equally important, it is not only about competing for competition or keeping fit, but also cash prizes.

It is true that not like in esports competition, for example in Dota 2, Fortnite and other gaming hits, but in the first Zwift championship, the winner could count on 8,000 euro prizes, so it was worth the effort. Unfortunately, some players, tempted by this vision, decided to use illegal boosters - today we learn that the two leading players were punished with a 6-month ban, because as it turned out, there are some problems with the credibility of their results.

Riders participating in the championship are required to upload data from two sources, and for the athletes mentioned, these did not match. One saw a 9% increase in power, the other as much as 32% - the latter admitted to data manipulation after initial denial, and the former still insists that a software problem forced him to use a non-standard platform. Either way, Zwift didn't buy this translation, so players have to come to terms with a temporary ban and a sense of shame.