Adegeest and Andreasson take rainbow jerseys at Esports World Championships

Dutchwoman Loes Adegeest and Denmark’s Bjørn Andreasson will don virtual rainbow jerseys on Zwift for the next year after taking the wins at the 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.

Adegeest, who rides on the road for FDJ-Suez, successfully defended the title she won last year, coming out on top in a three-up sprint at the end of the 12.3km final race run on Zwift’s hilly Glasgow Crit Circuit.

The 26-year-old, who in January won her first Women’s WorldTour event at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, outpaced Zoe Langham (Great Britain) for the win, while Jacqueline Godbe (USA) took bronze.

In the men’s race, Andreasson used an entirely different tactic, jumping away from the 10-man final group right at the very start and then tapping out a consistent rhythm and avoiding the stop-start nature of the elimination race sprints.

Behind him, Germany grabbed silver and bronze courtesy of former world champion Jason Osbourne and Marc Mäding.

“The attack from the start is like my signature move,” Andreasson said after the final race. “I do it a lot. I can get the gap early and nobody really wants to follow at the start. I’m riding mountain bike at the moment so it’s not very different from a mountain bike start.

“I knew if I got caught in the group I would do at least the same amount of power in the sprints and that would maybe be harder. The more sprints I could skip from the front, the better. I just kept it going as long as I could. After the last sprint, I could see that the gap was so big that I could hold it to the finish line. It was just crazy.”

Denmark’s Bjørn Andreasson celebrates his solo win in the men’s race (Image credit: Zwift)

Race summaries

Women’s race

86 riders started the first of three women’s races, which was whittled down to 30 for the second and then the top 10 in the final race. The USA (four) and the UK (two) had the numerical advantage in the final, collectively making up over half the field.

Their numbers were quickly whittled down, however, with the UK’s Lou Bates out first with a technical problem, followed at the start of the race by US pair Kristen Kulchinsky and Liz Van Houweling.

Unlike Andreasson’s move in the men’s race, there would be no long-range efforts, with the full group contesting each sprint lap after lap, with Swiss rider Kathrin Fuhrer and Swede Mika Söderström just edged out in the next two sprints.

The USA lost their third rider next as Arielle Verhaaren couldn’t keep the pace, while at the next sprint France’s Sandrinne Etienne was eliminated, leaving Godbe, Langham, and Adegeest to fight for the rainbow jersey in the final 1.6km.

The run-in to the final straight was a tense one, with none of the remaining trio of riders willing to commit to a longer attack, and it would come down to a final sprint finish. In the end, it was Langham who went first with Adegeest, who had won the second race of the event, quick to respond.

She had the tactics and the power in the finale, overcoming Langham, who looked to have gone a touch early, inside the final metres.

Men’s race

21-year-old Andreasson had been consistent in the first two races of the new three-race format run on Zwift’s Scotland course, taking sixth in the first (where Lotto-Dstny pro Victor Campenaerts was a surprise early elimination) and ninth in the second to get into the grand finale.

He was, without a doubt, the strongest man in the final race, where he jumped off the front from the start to distance himself from the 10-man group.

While the men behind him were sprinting twice a lap to try and avoid elimination, Andreasson tapped out a constant power as if he were riding a time trial, leading 13 seconds at the halfway mark of the 12.3km finale.

By that point, Freddy Ovett (South Africa), among the favourites for the win, had been eliminated in a sprint, while what was left of the chase group were busy accelerating and recovering twice a lap.

Andreasson’s lead over the chasing pack had, at one point, dropped to just over a second, but he kept at it and, by the time the 10 men had been whittled down to three, he was still out in the lead and enjoying a 14-second by the time the 10 men 

After just under 17 minutes of racing, Andreasson won by 16.7 seconds from Osbourne, who nipped past his German teammate Mäding at the death to grab second place.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Women’s results
Position Rider name (Country)
1 Loes Adegeest (Ned)
2 Zoe Langham (GBr)
3 Jacqueline Godbe (USA)
4 Sandrinne Etienne (Fra)
5 Arielle Verhaaren (USA)
6 Mika Söderström (Swe)
7 Kathrin Fuhrer (Swi)
8 Liz Van Houweling (USA)
9 Kristen Kulchinsky (USA)
10 Lou Bates (GBr)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Men’s results
Position Rider name (Country)
1 Bjørn Andreasson (Den)
2 Jason Osbourne (Ger)
3 Marc Mäding (Ger)
4 Anders Foldager (Den)
5 Kjell Power (Bel)
6 Freddy Ovett (Aus)
7 Haavard Gjeldnes (Nor)
8 James Barnes (RSA)
9 Oskar Hvid (Den)
10 Zach Nehr (USA)

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