Thursday, February 23, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Last Sunday, ten Australian athletes, including local cyclist Kyle Marwood, geared up for the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, which is the premier virtual bike race in the world. The competitors raced across dozens of time zones and on two different days around the world. Primetime racing in Europe meant a pre-dawn challenge for the Aussies.
The World Championships had a different format this year, discarding the one-off scratch race in favour of a three race elimination style format. Although men’s world champion Jay Vine was unable to start, the Australian men’s team had the depth to challenge for results. Those with the most experience were 2022 silver medallist Freddy Ovett and fourth-place getter Ben Hill, two capable finishers on punchy terrain.
Last year, Sam Hill and Torben Partridge-Madsen provided valuable support to set up Australia’s one-two result, and they returned to the squad. Meanwhile, Josh Harris and local Mackay cyclist, Kyle Marwood, made their debuts. Marwood was a staple of last year's AusCycling Club Esports Series and made his national representative debut in the event. He is the owner of Mackay Cycles located in Ooralea and is a regular competitor at the Mackay Cycling Club's local races.
He geared up just after midnight and was supported by fellow Mackay Cycling Club members, Aram Drake and Jarrod Sampson in his garage, ready to tackle the world championship event in the early hours of Sunday morning.
In the first race of the men’s event, Marwood was amongst only three Australian riders in the top 30 who qualified for the second round. Freddy Ovett, who won the silver medal in 2022, progressed alongside Kyle Marwood and Ben Hill, who both made it through the first round in 29th and 30th respectively after a bunch sprint. Unfortunately, Marwood and Hill were eliminated in the second section of the race, which was the hilly component of the three-race challenge. Marwood finished 26th overall in the world. Ovett was the best-placed Australian, finishing in 6th overall.
Although Marwood did not medal, his participation in the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships was a significant achievement. It is a testament to his passion for cycling and dedication to the sport.
Kyle Marwood represented Australia last weekend in the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships