Zoe Langham Switches to Esports Opportunity to Leave Her Next Crossroads in Career Choice Yorkshire News

Zoe Langham of Great Britain competes in the elite women’s race at the Zwift New York Knickerbocker course. Image by Alex Whitehead/

Langham pushed his way through the pack on the final climb, the Big Apple skyline providing a stunning backdrop as he crossed the line in third place, 1.4 seconds before snatching the rainbow jersey from him and just eight hundredths of a second from a silver medal.

Still, a bronze medal at her first UCI World Championships as a member of the British cycling team is a remarkable achievement, and she could feel proud of herself as she stood on the podium in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

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Zoe Langham competes for GB at the Zwift New York Knickerbocker Coursein the UCI World Cycling eSports Championships Image by Alex Whitehead/

no one was without cyclists. There is no platoon to ride shoulder to shoulder with. No fans. No sponsorship caravan.

Everything was done online. And when she was done and looking for people to hug, teammates or opponents, there was no one there, only her partner supporting her as she slumped exhausted out of the saddle after an hour and 23 minutes of racing in her front room at Nottingham.

Welcome to the burgeoning metaverse that is esports, a virtual reality competition that bubbled under the surface for years before exploding in the age of the pandemic.

Langham’s bronze on Zwift New York’s ‘Knickerbocker’ course was a historic moment for British cycling; the country’s first medalist in an Esports event sanctioned by the sport’s governing body, acceptance by the UCI of Esports confirms his growing relevance in the sporting world.

Zoe Langham takes a breather after competing on Zwift’s New York Knickerbocker course at the recent UCI Cycling eSports World Championships Photo by Alex Whitehead/

Langham’s journey sums up the ascent.

“I started about 18 months ago,” begins Langham, who is in his fifth and final year of studying to become a doctor.

“It was due to Covid and since I didn’t get home from work until late and it was dark, I started doing a little more indoor training.

“Some of my friends ran on the Zwift program and recommended it to me, they said it’s really fun, you should try it, and it’s evolved from there.

ON: Zoe Langham competed with her road cycling rivals via virtual competition Image by Alex Whitehead/

“I really enjoyed the races, they give you a hard workout without really feeling like you’ve done a workout. It makes it really fun.”

To begin with, Langham was not a sports superstar. She represented Ripon Grammar School in track, hockey and netball, and was an occasional runner in her teens, but that was about it.

He took up cycling in college when an injury made it difficult for him to run, he joined a climbing club and represented his university at the BUCS Championships, a silver medal there, the highlight of his sports career, but by no means the best in the world.

Langham wasn’t a professional athlete, far from it, until she took up esports.

And it was while competing virtually on Zwift every Monday night that his performances really got noticed.

“Anyone can compete in the lower divisions, and you work your way up to the Premier League, there have been plenty of professionals competing since the early days of lockdown,” says Langham.

“The manager of LeCol-Wahoo, a Premier League team, noticed my numbers and wondered if I would like to move up to that level.

“Then for the world championships British Cycling chose five of their own riders, but they also opened it up to the public with a qualifying event, and that’s what I signed up for.

“The top five of the qualifier got a spot and I managed to win that, that’s how I got my spot on the starting line.”

The day of the world championship race, last Saturday, was very structured.

You may not have traveled to a race, had a one-on-one meeting with coaches and teammates, or signed autographs for fans beforehand, but the regimen before an esports cycling race is no less manageable.

If anything, it is even more so, and the onus is on the rider to strictly abide by the rules.

“Everything is very strictly regulated, there are only certain turbo trainers you can use, everything has to be dual-recorded,” he says of a room in Nottingham that looked like a film set.

“I have to use a power meter as well as the turbo bike to provide two readings of the power outputs I do and they have to match. If they don’t, you’re disqualified.

“You have to weigh in beforehand, a really rigorous weigh-in procedure that is recorded at least two hours before the race.

“So you also have a heart rate monitor and if that heart rate monitor malfunctions, you’re disqualified.

“A lot of the things that make people skeptical about esports is how you stop people from cheating, but at the Premier League level,…

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This notice was published: 2022-03-05 06:15:50

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