Perceptions of Cheating and Doping in E-Cycling

Andrew Richardson, Nicolas Berger, Phillip Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

E-cycling is a growing area of cycling appealing to competitive cyclists and fitness enthusiasts. Zwift is the most popular e-cycling platform, with approx. 1 million subscribers and is a virtual environment that hosts regular races, including the UCI e-cycling world championships. The
popularity of Zwift has given rise to cases of cheating and hacking the system to gain an advantage
in e-racing. As a result, some high-profile professional riders have faced bans. We set out to understand the thoughts and concerns e-cyclists have about cheating, hacking, and doping in e-cycling.
A total of 337 females and 1130 males were recruited over a 7-week period via social networking
sites to complete an online survey. Forty-four per cent had experienced cheating during e-racing,
which made them feel angry, annoyed, disappointed, and cheated. However, 15% of those who
experienced cheating said they did not care, possibly because many see e-racing as a game or training tool rather than a competitive event. Eighty-seven per cent of participants were in favour of
enforcing a ban on cheaters in e-cycling, while 34% wanted cheaters to be banned during in-person
cycling events too. Results indicate that many e-cyclists have experienced cheating and would like
clearer rules and bans for cheaters during e-races.
Original languageEnglish
Article number201
JournalSports
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2023

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