I’ll be honest, when I outlined all the ways one could cheat in Zwift back in January, this method frankly wasn’t on my radar. But today British Cycling has stripped Cam Jeffers of his 2019 British Cycling eRacing Championship title, which was won all the way back on March 28th, 2019 – the biggest Zwift racing event ever to be broadcast, live on British television as well as around the world via YouTube & Facebook (you can watch it here, including the exact moment he was given his medal). Atop that, he’s also received a real world racing ban for 6 months.
British Cycling issued a statement saying, as well as an official disciplinary charge:
“It is stated that Cameron Jeffers participated in the British Cycling Zwift eRacing Championships qualifier on the 24 February 2019 and the British Cycling Zwift eRacing Championships Final on 28 March 2019, using in-game equipment that was obtained in a manner that contravenes the Disciplinary Rules for Cycle Sport, the Code of Conduct and the regulations stipulated in the General & eRacing Technical Regulations: This constitutes misconduct under Clauses 3.1 and 3.2 (a), (c) & (h) of the Disciplinary Rules for Cycle Sport.”
But what did he actually do? Did he cheat in the final competition itself on March 28th? Turns out, not directly. And this is where things get pretty murky pretty quickly. Oh, and no, Zwift wasn’t hacked for this.
However, before we get there, note that Cam Jeffers has issued a statement, staying:
“I was first made aware on the 8th April by British Cycling that they has received an anonymous email complaint about how I had obtained the ‘Tron Bike’ within Zwift. The virtual bike I used to compete in the inaugural British eRacing National Championships before winning the title.
Essentially an ANT+ Simulator was used to climb the 50,000m in game to unlock the bike which means I didn’t personally operate Zwift to unlock the bike.
I accept this practice was unethical and unsporting and I have cooperated fully with BC on their investigation. I fully believe in esports and it’s part of cyclings future. I will continue to support it and use what I have learnt from my mistakes to help shape it as it grows.
This has been a long, tiring, and financially draining process and I’d like to apologise to the people who support me. I’m looking forward to putting this behind me now and moving forward. Congratulations to the new eRacing National Champion James Phillips.
Finally, I have released a video on my YouTube channel containing all the details on this case which has led to a disqualification, 250GBP and a 6 month suspension of all racing.
The Twitter statement was issued at the same time as the British Cycling statement.
But are you confused already? No worries, let’s go bulleted point style on what he actually did:
1) In the lead-up to the event, Cam Jeffers used an industry tool called the ANT+ Simulator (normally used by companies to test products like power meters or bike computers), to fake rides on Zwift to earn a specific bike.
2) Specifically, that bike was the ‘Tron Bike’ which is awarded after 50,000 meters of in-game climbing.
3) That bike is considered one of the faster bikes, though ironically not the fastest. More on that here.
4) Once he had obtained that bike, he used that virtual bike within the qualifiers as well as the championship where he won the title.
5) As general backstory, using automation or bots in place of human performances in Zwift is against the Zwift Terms of Service (and has been for a very long time), so regardless of anything British Cycling or UCI puts forth, this by itself is grounds for termination of Cam Jeffers’ account.
As you can see, in the actual title itself it’s debatable whether he cheated. On one hand he used a bike he had not earned, on the other hand, there wasn’t a specific rule against that, despite what British Cycling states in their press release. Which isn’t me defending Cam (trust me, we’ll get to that in a second). Instead, British Cycling basically uses more generic rules to find him at fault.
British Cycling in their tweet states:
So if you go to the rulebook (as well as the linked PDF final judgment document) you find that section on page 196/197 (Clauses 3.1 and 3.2 (a), (c) & (h)), and within that these tidbits:
They’re basically saying that under C & H specifically that the act is fixing the competition. Again, it’s debatable on whether that’s true, but that’s the rules.
Now, up until this point my reaction was mostly shruggable. Basically I think the DQ and such is a bit harsh, especially with rumors that other pro athletes were ‘given’ the Tron bike anyway [Zwift says as of today they no longer do so however]. Let alone the fact that UCI rules do require that bikes in competition be made available to the general public, which this would seem to run astray of anyway.
But let’s set that aside for a second. Cam comes out and says what he did was unethical. And initially I assumed he had perhaps done a ride or two and just left the simulator in the background running and bulked up. But when I reached out to Zwift, it was a wee bit more serious than that. Here’s what they had to say (official on the record quote):
“In-game data indicated, among other things, that Cam Jeffers had ridden on multiple occasions at 2000 watts for over 200km with a weight of 45kg, and had also logged on in multiple locations over a short period of time (Cheadle, Plymouth and Denmark, etc.) Zwift detected a bot in the system to falsify power data and unlock the Tron bike.”
“The historic ride data of the rider in question had not been saved after each activity was completed and therefore did not show on initial checks.“
To me, that’s a wee bit more than just padding one’s account to meet the 50,000 meters climbed goal (something that realistically Cam could have probably easily done anyway in normal riding). What he did was going well out of his way to cheat. He used various tactics to hide his location (or potentially enrolled friends in other locations), he faked his weight, and went to un-human wattage level-durations and distance. Atop all that, he cleverly discarded the rides so others wouldn’t notice. By doing exceedingly high wattage rides with a low weight, he’d be able to very efficiently rack up the required amounts, with less time on the platform for someone to notice.
To Zwift and British Cycling’s credit here, they seem to be on the ball on this. It took less than a week or so from the event for the ball to be set in motion, though it somehow took nearly 6 months for this to be announced.
Zwift’s Craig Edmondson, CEO Zwift Esports, went onto say (in a prepared quote), that, “Good governance and integrity are the cornerstone of Zwift Esports. We are committed to utilising all the resources we have available to police competition at the very highest level and ensure fair competition. We fully support the action taken by British Cycling in the case against Cameron Jeffers.”
Now, I think this brings up plenty of other questions that Zwift and the UCI may need to be asking itself:
A) Shouldn’t riders all be using the same ‘provided’ digital bikes?
B) Shouldn’t there be clearer rules on ‘digital equipment’?
C) Shouldn’t there be a legit esports section in the British Cycling and/or UCI rulebook given there are national qualifier events? [Update: British Cycling has one, though UCI does not. BC’s does not cover this specific broken rule however.]
D) Shouldn’t all these things actually be written down in a public and accessible place?
Still, despite that – I’ll give Zwift, British Cycling, and even the UCI some credit here. When I first discussed how challenging this space was back in January, it was the wild west (at best). And now things are quite a bit more advanced than 10 months ago. There are at least rules written down, even if you can’t easily find them online (or at all online). And there’s structure. And even sanctions. That’s all good steps forward.
Which hardly means that either the work is done, or that the world is ready (or even wanting) esports in cycling. But, these are at least steps in the right direction.
With that – thanks for reading.
Frankly I’m amazed that they weren’t all on the same virtual bike anyway (for the championship races).
For what it’s worth, British Cycling do have published eRacing regulations here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/road/article/20190308-about-bc-static-eRacing-Rules—Regulations-0?c=EN
Not that they clarify anything in this case, as they make no mention of ‘in-game equipment’.
In my opinion, your point that they should have all been racing on the same ‘provided bikes’ is key to this really. The fact that they weren’t is a major failure on the part of British Cycling and Zwift in partnership.
Thanks, good to know! Like you say though, they’re a bit light on some of these things.
The rules weren’t published until *after* the race
The e-rules may not have been published, but the Zwift TOC and the BC regulations regarding code of conduct was very clearly written before and Cam and his supporters can argue until they’re blue in the face, but the fact is he broke both of these.
Whole affair just reminds me of why I think e-racing is a joke in the first place. I can add another half dozen cheat methods to your list if you give me some time in a quiet room with any of the tech.
But the whole idea that someone was so blatantly cheating their system and that it wasn’t flagged when the data was so obvious just shows a level of incompetence. When they added the fake Alpe it took less than a week for someone to wreck the leaderboard by riding without resistance and despite 1,000+ comments and his own explanation of the data his power numbers still stand on the leaderboard.
Got to keep the faith.
Zwift should be for fun and for training. Racing is a nonsense. Olympic hopes are a joke. Seriously.
Zwift isn’t a compliment to cycling and bike racing, Zwift is an alternative to cycling and bike racing. Virtual sports will be an Olympic event in the next 20 years if it becomes popular enough (brings money/sponsors).
E-sports being in the olympics is moronic. Zwift raising $100m to get into e-sports is also moronic. People already think that almost all Olympic athletes, competing in actual sports, are doped to the gills and cheating. No one will take e-sports seriously.
I have more respect for the Fortnite tournament that happened recently than I do for a UCI sanctioned e-sports race.
He got banned from real cycling because he cheated to get a bike for a virtual race? Not cheated in the race? Seriously? Yet Team Sky is cool to do what they do?
At the absolute worst, Zwift should have said all sanctioned races would use the same bike or a sponsored bike if the athlete is sponsored in real life.
While Zwift ‘racing’ may add a level of physical capability to other gaming ‘esports’ like Call of Duty it should not under any circumstances be listed as a sport (virtual or real) due to the lack of skill, tactics and knowledge required to be competitive.
The fact that cycling federations, like Cycling Australia and British Cycling, have degraded themselves by handing out national championships does not in any way make this any different.
I totally agree with you !
Unless you live in Antarctica or in the Gobi desert, get a life and go outside riding your bike.
So I know nothing about e-racing.
Why in the world would the in-game bikes make any difference?
And if so, why would a competition not standardize them?
The bikes basically have different properties that are modeled, just like outside world bikes. Aerodynamics impacts like drag, or weight, etc…
> So I know nothing about e-racing.
Well you share that state with zwift and British cycling
And as you say, in the outside world, bikes are checked (randomly) to ensure they meet the specs, so why not here.
So what happens if say, a Team Dimension Data recruit from Zwift had done the same thing, and then road the Worlds and won, would they then be DQ’d?
“then rode the World’s and won, would they then be DQ’d” – Err … What???
Cameron Jeffers overall watts in the zwift final was greater. So he should have won.
In addition the rules that he broke were published after the events.
This young man’s future in cycling is now put into question. I agree that he shouldn’t have asked someone to get the tron bike but I think the penalty is too harsh.
I think we should consider that his penalty may not be harsh enough. If he’s willing to go to these lengths for a virtual race, now that he has a taste/ history for elaborate cheating, what would he be willing to do in the face of real world racing pressure? I would be deeply suspicious of him for a long time.
As for raw watts, that’s not all it takes to be a true champion.
Given the number of factors which are out of the control of the organizers it seems odd that one thing (the “equipment”) which is in their control wouldn’t be standardized. Assuming it does make a difference.
Presumably Zwift could provide a mode for racing where each competitor is treated the same, regardless of their selected bike, helmet, virtual sock height etc.
This is quite fascinating stuff, but I’m hanging out for your Vivoactive 4 or Venu review rather than this
Next week. With a newborn this week, been mostly focused on her.
Congratulations!! I hope mother, baby and older sisters are doing well.
Ray – congratulations to you and the Girl!
Congrats to both you and The Girl!
Congratulations to both of you!
Cam was clearly a little cheeky.
But he was riding a legitimate & legal bike the entire time. He didn’t actually even qualify, he came 12th and then got bumped up.
You can’t have newcomers racing on inferior virtual ‘equipment’, thereby forcing them to pay for Zwift for months, re-arrange training schedules etc just to ‘unlock’ items.
Plus Cam didn’t win by a slim margin on the day, he had tons of points in hand.
Surely you need to differentiate between the ‘Zwifting’ and the BC sanctioned ‘Racing’. Everyone needs to be on a level playing field when racing on Zwift (for a BC sanctioned competition).
Yes, absolutely, the ruling enforces the pay-to-win nature of the championships.
The facts are facts, he has not denied that he used the simulator, and of course he did it because he felt he needed to it, and in fact he did need it, why sanction him if he didn’t gain any advantage using the Tron bike, so everybody concerned believes it was an advantage.
When he did this there were no eRacing rules, also even today there is no rule
saying you can only use equipment that you yourself gained in “the game”, why ? because that is utterly impossible to verify who was riding, we also know that some equipment has been given to riders, is this not cheating ? Is Zwift not “fixing” the winners by giving them better equipment that others have to earn, can we go and verify all the riders Zwift stats in the top 20 and see who has done 50,000m climbing ?
What we are talking about here is the bike you are using in a race, the rules on “real bikes” are complex, BC decided not to impose any rules on eRacing bikes, but suddenly decided that there must be a rule for this, the rule they have used is so vague it could be applied to almost anything, “Cam cheated by improving the output from the Fan thus keeping him cooler for better performance” so we disqualify him.
There was and is no rule about in game equipment or how you can obtain the equipment, to disqualify somebody for breaking a non existent rule is nonsense.
Your final 4 points I completely agree with…. and this is the point I just made, to wreck a young professional like this disgusts me.
I’m mixed. I agree with your last line – I think the punishment is out of line with the crime.
Personally, if it was up to me, the punishment would be roughly as follows:
A) Banned from Zwift for violating the ToS with intent to game the system
B) Given some sort of BC financial penalty
I don’t believe for a second he didn’t understand the Tron bike or the nuances of the ANT+ Simulator. C’mon, he’s one of the leading ‘authorities’ on Zwift racing.
While the eRacing rules were published March 8th, the event occurred March 28th. But ultimately, that frankly doesn’t matter. The rules that BC slapped him with weren’t actually the eRacing rules. Nope, they were the general BC rules that item C I highlighted above is pretty clear on. And again, also the Zwift ToS violation.
“so everybody concerned believes it was an advantage.”
Yeah, except that advantage is about 2 seconds over an hour, see here link to docs.google.com
I don’t know anything about the race in question but it sounds like he didn’t win by a slim margin.
And also, that advantage was given out by zwift to random pros without them doing the required in game work. So perhaps everyone else who got the tron bike for free from zwift should be banned too?
Seems to me that Zwift should set up tiered system: Pros, Amateurs, etc
Any “Pro” that does 2000 Watts for over 2 seconds should have the account locked down.
Though I agree in general, track sprinters peak well over 2000 watts
I’d like to see the 45 kg sprinter that can lay down 2000 W for a few seconds…
Really? Ok…I had no idea.
Then 30 seconds or whatever. My point is Zwift should have banned him right after the 10 hour event. This highlights that Zwift is not ready for these types of events if they cannot even monitor/curate their own database.
I think this shows that sporting organisations are now beholden ro a commercial entity for the execution of their esports races. It means Zwift TOC become defacto rules for virtual bicycle racing.
How is this different from pro riders selecting equipment or getting wind tunnel time? Richer teams have more advantage.
To finish my thoughts.
What if a virtual racer is sponsored by Training Peaks does all their training on training peaks then has a “slow” virtual bike because they don’t do training hours on Zwift? I. E. This is less a uci/British cycling virtual bike race, and specifically a Zwift race for Zwift athletes.
You can’t ride on Training Peaks, but I roughly get what your saying (replace ‘Training Peaks with Bkool or Road Grand Tours).
But I agree with you, at least within the realm of a national federation body.
I meant Trainer Road… 😉
Agree with your line of thinking. There needs to be separation between the entity putting on the race, and the platform it is being run on. I pretty much see this similar to say someone rolling through a stop sign while out training, then at a later date when they win a race being DQed for this past infraction.
I think BC need to concern itself with real cycling and real doping in the real world, not fecking about with imaginary shiite.
Let’s keep religion out of this.
This seems to be a crazy reaction and punishment…
The “crime” is only very remotely related with the event he is being punished in. It’s like stripping Bernal from the TdF trophy because he was using one of his team mates bikes without permission..
Yeah exactly ! He should get penalized for the issue of obtaining the bike, but not for the title of the race he won fair and square
Just the fact that he puts so much energy in cheating here should be reason enough to ban him for life from cycling. He is exactly one of the guys this sport does not need.
Yes, this was all precisely planned and orchestrated. Given the extent of pre-planning I think he should have received:
1. Zwift account deactivated
2. Lifetime BC ban
3. Prison time (at least 12 months)
Prison time? Are you totally stupid or just joking?
Of course he is dead serious. No parole, make him serve the full 12 mths. Lifetime placement on high-risk repeat offender database.
This is fascinating. I Zwift (therefore, I’m dry) and I get it. Rules are rules. The data don’t lie and the DQ is fair … Think of the TDF riders DQ’ed for fighting among themselves this summer. Jeffer’s behaviour has implications across the competition.
Kudos for owning it dude. Put it behind you. Get on your bike. Earn the Tron whip legit, and Ride On!
From what you said, it’s sound more like he play around with the data like any people testing or playing video games. Then he discard the data thinking it wouldn’t make any different.
To me this is like playing the iconic Sims game and got bored and start killing the characters and quit without saving. Then later people jailing him saying he like to kill real people.
The whole thing was on live tv. DQ him, I understand but the 6monyhs ban is a little too much.
This was a phenomenal read. Thanks!
This is utterly ridiculous. It’s not that he used simulator to boost his result on the race. Pretty sure his actions were closer to “I can’t be arsed climbing ADZ 40 times” than “I need an advantage” and there should be no penalty. The use of crazy w/kg is irrelevant, a mere time saver.
For future competitions – there should be a race bike, equalising everyone.
Yet, I’m really surprised he didn’t have the tron bike already. It’s not that hard to get if you’re smart with your training.
The only reason they don’t all use the same bike in the first place is so Zwift can get more money. It’s a money-making tactic. I don’t really care how he got the bike. If he competed fairly in the final competition and got disqualified for gaming the program, seems to me it’s more a problem with Zwift than with the competitor.
you’re spot on. This UCI championship is set up as a pay-to-win competition for the platform operator. Longer subscribing racers have the time and opportunity to get the fast gear. New first time Zwifters have zero access to that same gear. Blaming and chastising him and extracting a confession over “gaming the system” (not during actual racing, mind you) to get a TRON bike just hides the fact that they are enforcing rules supporting a pay-to-win business model under the guise of a supposedly fair sanctioned competition. A 6 month real suspension for gaming a pay-to-win rigging? Wait until the list goes public of who has done the same, come around the 2020 championship season.
As it’s the second time he’s been disqualified this season (he was disqualified for racing several races with a video camera onboard) I wonder if the punishment is a reflection of the fact he’s a repeat offender
I think it says more about the organisers and the competition. I. E. They don’t have a clue what they want the rules to be so they will allow everything until they see something they don’t like than penalise to creat some “case law” to shape the rules.
They used this case to set a precedent. I’m trying to think of a ‘real world’ similarity that would match this. Here is what I came up with… “Stealing my favorite Candy 3 pedals, winning the MTB world championship in them, and then UCI banning me for cheating”.
Well no, more of a thief, not a cheater.
What’s interesting is, as noted – it’s not actually the fastest bike. Depending on the course, I think the Specialized Tarmac Pro, Felt IA or Shiv S-Works are faster than Tron. Of course, some of those ‘faster’ options are only available at higher levels, so…using the simulator to rack up miles and get those bikes without actually riding is also a cheat.
Seems a silly reason to cheat – not only is it not the fastest bike, the differences are minor (a few seconds here and there over 23km (14 miles), and would be negated by things like drafting and powerups etc.
But still overall, good to see Zwift and UCI taking things seriously.
And we know which bikes are fastest how? From people using ant+ simulators to test them! 🙂
Some of the faster bikes you listed are TT bikes which get zero benefit of the draft so aren’t a realistic option to use when other racers are using road bikes that do get the draft in zwift. The Tron is historically, and currently, the fastest bike in Zwift. There was a blip this year when zwift released the drop shop that it wasn’t but it was later corrected. Anyways, the time differences we are talking about here are super small, and in a drafting scenario likely make no difference.
Er, the whole point, as I noted – is that other bikes could be faster *depending on the course* and would likely be negated by drafting etc.
there will always be cheaters. who are they cheating? themselves.
The way this UCI-BC-Z National Championship is set up, not having “all riders using the same ‘provided’ digital bikes?” amounted to an event that is de facto pay-to-win, as new users to the platform have zero access to the performance enhanced bikes. So the real irony is that they choose to enforce a rule that many racers (yes previous national champions) have violated in the same or similar ways and are therefore disqualified moving forward, regardless of whether new rules are implemented in the future to standardize equipment. All these people have engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct according to the same rule Cameron Jeffers was subject to. You are going to see a complete s*itshow when the next year’s national champions are named, if rules are going to be applied equally to others moving forward. All those “anonymous tips” on who did similar? That list is long and full of distinguished names.
I think it makes sense to ban him and strip his title from an ethics point of view similar to how sports stars get the boot for crimes they might do in their personal lives, but I don’t think I would characterize what he did as cheating in a sporting event.
Clickbait title. He was banned for his personal conduct.
I’m not sure what’ clickbait about it. He cheated to get the bike, that’s as clear-cut as possible – he admitted as such. Whether the punishment fits the crime is an entirely different animal.
But I couldn’t have written a more clear-cut non-clickbait title if I tried.
6 month IRL ban for in-game cheating (really a minor infraction given the arrangement was default pay-to-win) does seem very odd to me.
I agree, the title is misleading, the most direct interpretation is that someone won without putting in the power that zwift recorded in the race. It does require more words to craft a less misleading one, something like “using an ineligible bike”.
This is so simple and factual it’s laughable:
1) He, by his own admission, cheated to get the bike
2) He, by his own admission, used said cheat-obtained bike in the finals
3) His title was revoked, as per British Cycling and his own admission, for cheating by using said cheating obtained bike.
Any other wording is attempting to downplay and minimize the cheating.
We can agree to debate all day long the punishment (which I think is overkill), or the way the bikes were handed out to others (questionable), or even the fact that this somehow took 6 months. But what’s not factually debatable is he was banned for cheating. Every party in this situation agrees on that: Cam, British Cycling, and Zwift.
You’re ignoring the simple fact of what people will think happened when they read the headline. The message that people receive when they read the headline is very different from what happened.
I have zero interest in minimizing the cheating. I have a very large interest in getting an accurate representation of what happened.
I hope when people read the headline the takeaway is he cheated. I also hope they read the rest of the post to understand exactly how he cheated.
If you disagree, I can’t change that.
Your hope is probably not going to come to fruition unfortunately. I wish everyone got all the details of everything, but I’ve seen that is never the case.
It’s not a matter of disagreeing, it’s a matter of what people will think. That’s something that can be empirically tested (show the headline to someone who doesn’t know anything about the incident and ask them what they think it means) and it’s not a matter of opinion.
Ray, I applaud your patience in repeatedly responding to people who insist on veering into internet pedantry. There’s not a post you write that someone couldn’t quibble with some wording, but you do a great job of maintaining balance and equanimity. In this case, your post is clear, interesting, and I hadn’t seen this story anywhere else in the cycling news I read. Thanks for a nice article
I don’t know maybe I’m just too old, and grew up when journalists actually wrote real headlines that were simple and accurate. This headline reminds me of those. Told me EXACTLY what the story was about….the winner cheated. The story then went on to provide all the details, facts, sources, links to other information, etc. to me this is a classic new story that provides real, old school before sensationalism, writing. Maybe everyone who feels it’s misleading is more used to the bullshit headlines we get these days that are exactly what clickbate is to me. Something to bait me into reading a story that barely has anything to do with the title.
This article discussed exactly what the title suggested…cheating.
Or maybe your a pretentious airbag. Seriously, the headline is dead simple and 100% accurate. Go preen somewhere else.
Just to be clear, I’m responding to Tod, not dan.
Ray, do you have any information from Zwift regarding when Cam got his Tron bike?
If he did that after he registered to the race and just before the qualification, I might understand the DQ decision.
Not exactly, it roughly sounds like Feb timeframe. However, it honestly doesn’t matter too much, getting the bike that way is a violation of Zwift’s Terms of Service, which in turn would make him ineligible to compete in a Zwift race.
Yeah, but if it’s run as a National race with a National federation I don’t think Zwift ToS should apply.
And congratulations on Peanut#3!
I have been riding Zwift since November 2017 and I have ridden over 9100 miles. I have a Tron bike and worked very hard over a long period of time to earn the bike and am proud of the achievement. To hear that this guy cheated the system for a Tron bike and did not put in the time and effort to legitimately get it really pisses me off. I think he should be banned for more than 6 months. He should be made an example of. What a dirt bag
I have news for you, your accomplishment isn’t diminished by the unrelated actions of others.
He could have kept the weight his usual and did an alp or two over time and nobody would notice it, but instead runs at 2000w at 45kgs, hi i’m stupid. What I want to know is why does zwift allow anyone to run the simulation software, there’s no code required, imo, if zwift sees that power device it should prompt a password and immediately phone home to zwift to verify user has rights to use the freely available software, why did they allow him to do it in the first place? it’s not an unknown bug/exploit.
The entire point of the ANT+ Simulator is to allow hardware companies to certify products, and thus, it needs to roughly look like a real power meter. There are ways Zwift and the industry could work together to mitigate this a bit, but the industry has largely not taken any meaningful steps here from a technical solution perspective – mostly because Zwift hasn’t either, nor has Zwift meaningfully engaged the industry here on a technical level.
I have it, I’m sure you have it and as you would know, it’s incredibly easy to acquire and use, which is exactly why zwift should have a password for developers and a phone-home verification to alert zwift of users using it. Yes it looks like a power meter, but It connects with a specific name, zwift has the ability to detect it. This whole event should be a wake up for zwift to clamp down on enabling cheating. Now for Jeffers claiming he didn’t cheat because this wasn’t in the rules at the time, I say BS to that because that would mean any form of zero-day attack/cheat would be allowed because it’s not a written rule, seems he doesn’t get the point with such justification. I first noticed someone riding consecutive rides of 10 hours for days straight until the tron unlock sometime 2017, I told zwift and they never did anything about it, they’ve been very lax on the subject, knowing about this exact thing for years, I can assure you this cheat is no surprise to them, one thing they can’t say is that they were blindsided, which to me, makes them guilty in some sense for enabling this in the first place.
There must be a way to normalize the data amongst the riders to remove the affect of someone’s bike. My guess is that Cam still wins.
Probably, but the same could be said for traditional doping in real-world cycling races.
No it can’t. The advantage of the Tron bike is easy to calculate. You can use an ant simulator to do it (and as you know it’s been done). Effect of doping on the human body? Can you do it? I doubt it. And this is a totally different animal because it’s the equipment and not the actual power put out by the person that is in question, it can be very easily isolated from the individual.
Just like real work drugs, you can’t calculate the benefits of a cheating instrument. Thinking you can is naive.
This is especially true when looking at the qualifier aspects. Was this bike at some point the make or break difference between bridging a break or struggling for longer on an inferior bike? Which in turn burned through more matches?
Doping and cheating questions and answers are never simple.
“Just like real work drugs, you can’t calculate the benefits of a cheating instrument. Thinking you can is naive.”
You can calculate the benefit of the tron bike over the second best bike, and it has been done, denying this is denying facts. And you know this.
The edge of the tron bike is very slim (based on the zwift insider spreadsheet maybe 2 second on an hour when there is zero drafting, which obviously this was a road race so there was drafting). I know zero details of the actual races involved but from other comment it sounds like it wasn’t close.
I fully agree that in general it can be very hard or impossible to tell if the cheating makes a difference in all cases, but in this specific case it seems like a strong argument can be made. If I’ve made a mistake in here somewhere, please let me know.
he did not cheat on qualifying and not on the race.
I don’t understand the problem.
a competition must be independent of a game or training on zwift .
I watched his apology video and there are some items not mentioned he said (can’t prove if true)
1. He was approached by someone who said “I can get you the Tron bike” he gave details to his account and it was done, he wasn’t trying to hide by accessing from different locations, the other person though was
2. Did he do it to be faster, he states it was only because he thought the bike was cool
3. When all this happened there were not rules around this so they have applied the rules to actions retrospectively.
I completely agree with sanction in sport and do not agree to any cheating, but honestly I do not feel that he cheated in the race or qualifier IMO
1) I don’t believe one should get off the hook by employing others to do their dirty work.
2) I don’t believe for a second that he just thought the bike was cool. That’s like stealing a car because one things the rearview mirror is cool. Sure, the bike (and mirror) might be cool, but that’s not why you stole the car/bike. He was well aware of the benefits of the bike, and had commented on previous videos about the bike’s speed.
3) The rules were there well before this, the Zwift ToS prohibits it, and he needs that in order to race on Zwift. The specific rules he broke from a BC standpoint have been around decades.
Look, I don’t think the punishment fits the crime – but I also don’t think he’s being at all honest in his video.
1. His association with Cycling HUB is suspicious. Posts on Facebook suggest they are offering an unlocking of the Tron bike for other riders. They have uploaded vlogs on Youtube showing gaming or cheating of the game currency. See this link to instagram.com
2. It is a well known fact it is faster. There is a competitive advantage having it.
3. When this happened he violated the Zwift Terms of Service. He admitted he cheated the system to gain competitive advantage over others. Deleting the robot rides was indication of an attempt to conceal the actions.
Oh, that’s interesting, it appears we have a conspiracy. As of this post I would like to go on the record as being the first to refer to this as: The Wattgate Scandal.
“1) I don’t believe one should get off the hook by employing others to do their dirty work.”
But your article uses details about how the dirty work was done to paint a worse picture of the person. So if he just handed over his account password over to someone else that changes the picture.
Grant Playford provided further (alleged) details of how the cheating was done. Your reply was “I don’t believe one should get off the hook by employing others to do their dirty work.”
However in your article you used details of the cheating to paint a worse picture of what was done. So by including that in your article you are saying that the details of the cheating matter. And then you just dismiss considering this new detail with that statement. You can’t accept some details and dismiss others.
Alledged being the important wording there, I noted why I think those statements are at best optimistic interpretations or at worst outright lies.
I don’t see anywhere that you have talked about him handing over his account password to someone else to get the Tron bike, care to point to it? (Yes, I’ve read the article and every comment)
It’s he said she said.
He says he handed it over to someone else to do the dirty work. Zwift said the account was logged in multiple places but can’t say the human behind the keyboard.
I simply said above that it’s someone, either he or people he hired. Given I don’t at all believe his statement around the just wanted a cool bike bit since he posted in a February on a video specifically about the Tron bike advantages specially on a video using the ANT+ simulator, then I have low confidence he had nothing to do with it.
That’s not really a “he said, she said”. That’s a “he said, and she had information that is consistent with what he said but she can’t say anything factually as to the truth of his statement”. Honestly, I have no idea what happened, but I haven’t seen anyone provide any evidence that this specific claim of Cam is false. If I missed some I would love to take a look. Didn’t someone in the comments say that there are groups offering to be able to get Tron bikes for people on facebook?
You use parts of Cam’s account to back up your article, so you can’t point to one false statement by Cam to invalidate his other statements (otherwise you should invalidate all of his statements and strike them from your article). Therefore, if you want to invalidate one of his statements you need to provide evidence that that specific statement is false.
I actually only used Cam’s Twitter statements in the article, not his video statements.
Some people here in the comments have used his video comments. I’ve responded here in the comments around his video statements and inaccuries there, such as the ‘I only got the Tron bike because it looked cool’ – which doesn’t hold water.
One only has to look at the first comment on this video, combined with the title and methods of this video to understand why: link to youtu.be
Posted in February.
(And yes, I have screenshots for when someone decides to delete it.)
Right, I’m not saying he didn’t lie about things (as I already stated in my previous comment when I referred to one of Cam’s statement as false). I was just looking for more information on his claim about giving his account password to someone to get the Tron bike. Not sure why you keep bringing up his other statements. I’m not trying to defend the guy, I’m just after information.
One of the funniest things about this is these guys thinking they’re smart enough to get away with it, how smug they are to have this software they can’t contain it. Cam shouldn’t have made the comments he made because he doesn’t realize how he’s contradicting himself, he thinks his comments will clear things up but doesn’t have the foresight or hindsight to see how it can be used against him and how he loses credibility. This is why people get legal representation, why it’s best to withhold comment and not represent yourself. I’m finding this rather entertaining.
No. You are not just after information. You are on a quest to prove you’re the “smartest” person in the room. FFS if your just after more information go to google, send some emails, make some phone calls …I don’t know do something…anything…to actually get this information you claim you’re after. You’re just trying to win a debate at this point in time, or…even worse yet…just troll and argue.
Better yet start your own site. Sorry to be harsh but that is what this feels like. This is one of the few places a person can go and actually engage the owner directly about the information they provide. If you want to self promote go start your own blog and you can stroke your ego there. It my opinion and perception and I stand by it. You
Always remember: It is not e-racing, we are talking about, it is ZWIFT racing. The cycling associations cooperate with one specific sponsor/company for a sport that is not e-racing but zwift-racing like other e-sports are concerning to a specific game. There are commercial interests and investors’ money and financial dependencies between game company, investors and associations that get sponsored.
You have to keep that in mind, when judging.
Well, it’s definitely e-racing, it’s just e-racing that happens to be on Zwift.
I agree that it’s questionable as to why national federations are aligned to a singular platform for this.
I’m very surprised you find it questionable DC.. I know for a fact that certain people ‘high up’ in the UCI have made financial investments in Zwift, this goes back many years.. so it’s no surprise that Zwift is pushed to the forefront as the main platform for UCI Racing.
Hm, in that case it is in fact questionable. When officials ‘high up” have financial relations to a company that’s the foundation (not just the sponsor) of a championship, then interests of a economically working company might interfere with the way the association would behave if they were autonom or Zwift just a (replaceable) financial sponsor.
I am not against Zwift per se, it can be fun, but how Zwift/BC acted in that case and punished this young guy that “bought” a Tron bike, is just a taste of how bizarre this “marriage” is.
Agreed Ray. Cam gamed the system and his video didn’t come across as sincere. But why on earth didnt Zwift standardize the E-quipmemt?
I think these “high ups” should be immediately DQ’d from their position.
Couldn’t agree more with you! Thanks
I wholly support the action of banning him if he is a repeat offender. But does this incident constitute a repeat offence?
Watching this on YouTube, the actual final event was on the same day, in real world in a studio where all the riders were on the same physical bikes and turbo trainers. So, far more controlled than real-world outdoor / velodrome racing. Therefore:
1. If Cam (or someone else on his behalf) unfairly obtained the Tron bike before the event, he will potentially have missed out on 50k metres ascent (plus distance covered in total) of real world turbo-training. So that’s to his detriment;
2. He didn’t cheat in the actual race itself.
I get that all erace entrants should have had the same bike, if the purpose is to control the race to that extent. However real world racing is with different bikes, so if all the erace entrants were on different zwift bikes surely that’s acceptable? It still comes down to real-world fitness and tactics because it is clear the entrant is not using a bot in-race;
Has Cam actually benefitted from using the tron bike? Evidently not. He has not ‘doped’ to improve his performance.
Reminds me of that US skier who was banned from racing for smoking dope before an event. It wasn’t a performance enhancer …
As an avid Zwifter, albeit more on the running side, this does really sadden as you can see from Cam’s YouTube channel how much he lives and breathes bike racing indoors or out. What I find most uncomfortable with is that the powers that be brought everybody to the same place on the same trainer, weighed everybody and seemingly overlooked that your choice of Zwift equipment can influence the result and then you still get the luck of which power ups you have. It does seem, as others have noted, they are rather inventing the rules on equipment after the fact. Not sure it really matters how exactly he got the bike if was not done on the bike and again it was not prevented by Zwift plus clearly he got assistance/advice in so doing. That is obviously not in the spirit of Zwift as a game but is this Zwift full stop like we do from our own homes for fun or professional eRacing where surely you can completely level the playing field and yet they did not (completely).
IRL I have “had to” buy Vaporflys on eBay, go faster wheels etc etc. Essentially I was attempting to “buy” a racing advantage without actually running or riding. Not sure if this really is any different except IRL I am seemingly allowed to spend as much as I like as long as others can do the same.
It would be interesting to know if they actually also checked every other rider who took part in the qualifiers. I somehow don’t believe that he might be the only one to cheat.
If they didn’t and just wanted to make an example of the champ, which is understandable in some respect, then it appears to me to be very questionable to host such events at all.
This is even messier than real sports. On top of the problem of doping, you add all the possibilities of hacking and altering the software. As soon as more money will be up for grabs for athletes, this will become way more sophisticated than real world racing. And the UCI can’t even handle the latter…
Well I have a different point of view to all this. ANT+ Simulator has been here for quite a while. So many blogs and posts showing how to use it to do kms in zwift to get stuff. Bringing these races up to this level requires more than just covering it on media, create rules, etc… I think this was not entirely Cam’s fault. He seems to be a passionate young man “you can easily find out this by looking at his humble videos” that got tricked by a system that is not yet very well setup. Did he really get the tron bike specifically for winning the championship? There are so many big entities involved here and who do we blame? The little kid!!! This show that the big entities need to learn from this fix the problems for next e-racing. As for Cam forget about this and don’t let this shake your passion for cycling!
Honestly this would not stand in front of a court. Legally this is a joke, nothing else. How can you be penalized according to rules that did not even exist at the time of the offense? That´s like lowering the alcohol limit today but penalizing car drives which were over the limit before the new one counted. I don´t know if he has the means but he should sue the crap out of british cycling
He didn’t cheat during the actual event. This is nuts. He should not have been DQed. That said I bet Zwift would have just given him the bike if he asked….
Yes he did cheat to get the Tron bike…
Did he cheat in the race itself after that? Noo..
I don’t see why he got banned honestly, when the some competitors were given the bike automatically….
I think this ban is nonsense…
Congrats to Cameron Jeffers !!
Shame on you Zwift !
Which is worse..?
(a) Lying to your Beloved Queen
(b) Coercing a defenceless country into manufacturing dirt on your political opponent
(c) Cheating at a video game
In real life (IRL) i get that not everyone gets the same access to equipment due to financial reasons, or whatever, though UCI technically requires that the stuff be public. This is why when Wiggin’s had his TT monster bike built for the hour record it was then made available on Pinerello’s site for what? like $16-20k if memory serves right.
But esports are different, and just because something happens IRL doesn’t mean it should happen in-game. To some people esports may be new. It certainly is for cycling, but esports has been around for decades. Esports should be about skill and skill alone. Putting content behind paywalls or unlock walls for a national competition is amateur at best. What other games do in these situations is have dedicated tournament accounts that are used during competition to ensure everyone has the same content unlocked
If Zwift wants to be taken seriously as an esport then it is going to need to change to be taken more seriously. Reportedly not giving pros the Tron bike is a step in the right direction to prevent preferential treatment but ultimately their goal should be finding the best zwifter on an even playing field.
Breaking the rules of Zwift – it’s funny how when using a bot when not competing it’s a no no, but when you run TrainerRoad or other application while using zwift it’s ok… in the end both allow you to gain points while not actually riding in zwift. Should you be thrown out of zwift platform while doing the latter?
Yeah but in one case you are actually putting in the power. What if you rode on zwift and completely ignored the zwift screen and instead read a book? Are your zwift accomplishments totally invalid then?
To be honest, Zwift isn’t ready for that kind of things. Improvising isn’t the key! As far as I know, that guy crushed the field on the live event : legitimate & they approved the bike, wieght him, etc.
If ant+ simulator isn’t good for him, Zwift should go out and cancel a lot of accounts…
Do you really think he is the only one..
Not a fan of this decision. 1. The rules appear to have been made after the fact. Ex post facto is against the US Constitution for a reason. 2. Why on God’s green earth would the UCI, BC and Zwift run a competition and allow people to have different versions of a bike in a game? They went to such lengths to make sure the event was not “gamed” but then allowed this. That isn’t on the athlete. 3. It seems like they could easily look at Ride data to see if Cam actually earned the win. There is a computer history that can easily be analyzed. If it made a difference, then they could take action. But to make a harsh penalty for something that was not clearly against existing rules at the time of competition for a problem that a whole lot of organizations could have easily avoided seems like the wrong call.
So call e-rules are cut/paste from the road, with one page at the back that mention some e-racing. Zwift and BC is not doing anything good for cycling, quite oposite; just totally spoiled new e-racing with doping that did not happen.
Here is big issue I have with this: most of the super league pros and people that participated in top racing did not earned TRON bikes, as they do not use Zwift platform for training, pros were paid by Zwift to shop up and ride/race they were all given tron bikes, Jens voight and many other pros did not climb 50.000m, BC rules do not say that in order to participate in Nationals on Tron bike you need to complete climbing challange. They can’t have that or non of the pros would actually do it, they do not have time for that BS.
Would British cycling disqualify someone if they stole or committed fraud to get a bike to use in a real life race? What if a company offered a fancy bike as a prize for logging a certain number of miles on their workout tracker and you cheated to get it? Would you be disqualified if you won a big race riding that bike? What if the bike prize were part of a British cycling sponsored training program?
If the same would not happen in real life, this decision strikes me as incorrect.
Pretty sure riding on a stolen bike would get you disqualified, “bringing the sport into disrepute” or some other catchall clause.
Is the anonymous tip was the vegan cyclist ? After beating him with the YouTubed race on a tron bike ?just a thought
Hmm, VC beat Cam in the head to head? So very much doubt it.
It wasn’t exactly a secret anyway…could have been loads of people.
He cheated Zwift so should be punished by Zwift on the Zwift platform only. Bigger issue is the fact a competitor can obtain an equipment advantage by spending time and money on a specific platform. All competitors at this level should have the same in-game equipment options regardless of the time and money they spend on the software vendor (Zwift).
“That bike is considered one of the faster bikes, though ironically not the fastest. More on that here.”
The link you included actually says the Tron bike is the fastest. However, I think what you are referring to is that for a period earlier this year the Tron bike was not the fastest. Historically the Tron bike has been the fastest. Until this year when Zwift released the drop shop when it was eclipsed. However a few updates later Zwift restored the Tron’s status as fastest, so it seems this was a mistake by Zwift. The period where the Tron bike was not the fastest could very well have overlapped the race date, I don’t remember. For most of Zwift’s history the Tron bike was the fastest, so that’s likely why it was chosen in this case, and perhaps the person in question didn’t keep up with all the the minutiae of zwift updates.
The Tron bike is the fastest if you’re talking about standard (drafting) races on flat courses, or courses with minor climbs.
If you’re racing up the Alpe, it’s a really bad choice.
They only changed the Tron once that I’m aware of, and that was when the Drop Shop came out. At that time, they rejiggered the weights/CdA of lots of frames and wheels. This included making the Tron heavier.
Also: just because it’s a couple seconds faster over a full lap doesn’t mean it’s the “fastest” bike for a particular rider. What if that rider struggles on climbs (like me)? They may do better on a lighter bike which lets them not get dropped from the pack in the hills.
There’s actually a lot of nuance/strategy to think about when it comes to bike/wheel choice in Zwift… if you care to think about it. 🙂
Hmm, I thought the Tron bike was dethroned for flat/mixed courses for a short time after the drop shop came out? Did I misremember?
That’s now how I remember it, but I just turned 40 so senility may have arrived…
Now=not in my reply. Senile and unable to type!
Okay! I’ll get this creaky brain of mine checked out. Thanks for all your testing!
This is the equivalent of Usain Bolt losing his Olympic medals because he stole a pair of running shoes from Sports Direct. Absolute nonsense. British Cycling should be ashamed of itself.
? This is the equivalent of Usain Bolt losing his Olympic medals because he stole a pair of running shoes from Sports Direct.
That’s not a bad analogy. One would assume that an athlete caught like that would be tossed out by his country’s Olympic federation, meaning they would not be allowed to compete, or would be retroactively dq’d if the activity was uncovered after the fact. Makes perfect sense. As I noted – it’s a good analogy.
> Absolute nonsense
So I fail to understand why you then claim it’s ‘complete nonsense’.
Infractions do not need to be in the actual race/event, or impact the outcome of the actual race/event, to warrant a dq / ban.
Maybe a catchall morality requirement would justify. But “fixing” the race is a stretch and does sound like nonsense where others received the same bike for free.
Theft is wrong – but has nothing to do with athletic performance. To labour the analogy… if Usain Bolt was caught stealing before the olympics then fine, kick him out of the team for being a bad person. But if you found out afterwards they were stolen shoes (and the same as everyone else’s) then do you really think people would be calling for him to relinquish his gold medal and have his world record wiped from the history books. A couple of people might… but everyone else would simply applaud his performance, think he’s a dick… and move on. They would also point to the athletics rule book and say there’s nothing in there saying you need to show a receipt for your Nikes before you run! As I say… imho… absolute nonsense.
E what? Who cares?
DC, you are 100% right….he cheated to obtain the bike…the end. He violated the terms of service …..the end. What’s so difficult for people to understand about that?Now Zwift has a credibility problem for handing out to bike to random pros and yeah I think the 6 month real life ban is excessive but these are separate issues. I don’t know what some people were on to think this was click bait. I kept scrolling up to see where it was possibly click bait and for the life of me I can’t see it . DC…carry on and keep doing what you are doing.
seems strange that you seem to take issue with the way in which he cheated (ie the 2000w @ 45kg bit)
that seems so very minor to me. it’s like he’s just typed in a cheat code to gain the bike, what does it matter if he set the bot to 2000w or 200w to get it?
You did not mention that he cheated before BC make the rules.
If Cam can afford the expenses, he might get the case but he is not Froom.
Why zwift allow using the bike from the begining if you want fair competition!!!??
Watch this video and leave this article.
link to youtu.be
If you look through his YT videos it’s quite obvious when he get the bike (I think). He doesn’t have it, goes on a training camp to Europe, then had it afterwards. You can see his ‘level’ in the game changes quite a lot, and he made daily videos from his camp – which involved lots or IRL riding – not Zwifting.
Assuming I’m right, all the evidence was on his own channel and fairly obvious.
Yeah every follower from his chan knew it, that’s where the anonymous tip comes from,
Ray, talk about poking a hornets’ nest! I bet you never expected so much heat over an article about a video game.
I hope the arrival of your new daughter helps you to keep this sillines in perspective and not to care too much about the foaming mouths…
But, seriously, should BC and UCI be working so hard to promote one company’s product? Isn’t this like a UCI-promoted series of races for only Trek bikes?
> But, seriously, should BC and UCI be working so hard to promote one company’s product? Isn’t this like a UCI-promoted series of races for only Trek bikes?
Who else would the BC and UCI be working with? CVRCade? I mean, talk about LOL.
Zwift is currently the only legit platform available for pro-level e-racing.
Re: Foaming mouths
I think it’s a good example in 2019 of people putting on blinders to real world facts. We see this well beyond sports these days, where the social media driven aspect or twisting of words somehow can override factual timelines , specifics, or events.
I’m a fairly firm believer though in it all catching up eventually. Shrug.
BKool is also doing pro level eRacing with Movistar. But the issue isn’t the platform, it’s that being a regular user of the platform gives you an unfair advantage over non-users.
During the event he used a legitimate piece of equipment in a legitimate method. It doesn’t really matter how he obtained the bike, the contest was a legitimate measure of his skill versus the other players.
The way he acquired the Bike harmed no one. They aren’t limited resources.
I can only imagine a real world sport with these type of restrictions. You have to ride a Schwin unless you unlock certain achievements. Upgrading your bike by using a third party service (local bike store) is cheating. Sure, I guess you could structure a race series that way but don’t pretend it is a ‘real sport’.
I fail to grasp how it’s legitimate.
He cheated to obtain the bike, against the terms of service of the platform. The act of which one attempted to cover up.
The bike has legit benefits that he took advantage of, despite not being a legitimate owner.
I’m honestly fairly flabbergasted that people keep trying to justify this specific aspect of the case. There are far better avenues to take/debate than this one. The cheating part is so unambiguously clear cut. The correct avenue for him or his supporters to press for future events is why riders have different bikes to begin with.
But those were the rules when he raced, and also the rules when he cheated to obtain his future race advantage.
Your argument basically says that if someone cheats to gain an advantage by doping during training, it doesn’t matter and you’re fine with it as long as they don’t dope during the actual race.
Is that what you’re saying?
Comparing Doping, which can refer to a broad spectrum of different methods of cheating, to equipment acquisition, is a rough analogy.
If the sport of this computer game is “who can level up the fastest and get the best bike” then yes, it was “cheating” . If the sport of this game is “who is the best real world rider”, then this TOS violation was not cheating. He did not put other riders at any more competitive disadvantage than a well funded rider in the real world has an advantage over less well funded riders. Or if all Riders rode on identical equipment, should he still have been DQ’d for this TOS violation?
As for doping. In this e-sport event, any rider had the potential to match this player by obtaining the same Bike in a traditional manner. With Doping, during an event, the doper has a significant performance advantage over ‘clean’ athletes. As for doping during training maybe I’d agree that that would violated the TOS of a road race and leave it at that to avoid derailing the thread into a PED talk. 🙂
I’m with you on this DC. Initially I was surprised a guy who spends his life on the bike and has so much time to legitimately get the Tron bike would cheat to get one. Not only cheat but do this to a company who has used him in their adverts. It took me about 4 months to get the bike, and I hardly put in ridiculous hours. CJ could have done it in a month, if integrity mattered. The video was an opportunity to make an unequivocal apology but he didn’t.
More surprising is the extent of people defending the cheating. Disappointing too because if so many people think it’s cool to cheat to get something, no doubt the same people are overestimating their FTP and underestimating their weight in Zwift. Yeah, ya’ll know who you are.
Problem I see, going from what DCR said, is that Zwift gave the Tron bike to some of the other riders. That’s like the British Athletics giving a couple of athletes a 1 metre head start in a 100m race cos they are sponsored by e.g. NIke, since they’re the same sponsors of the national kit. If BC cycling called their title the British Zwift Racing Champion then fine but to call it the British eRacing Champion is BS.
“and had also logged on in multiple locations over a short period of time (Cheadle, Plymouth and Denmark, etc.)” this takes about 1 seconds worth of detective work. Cam is part of the Cycling Hub group, one of its founders is Danish. Cam lives in Cheadle and rides for a team that is based just outside Plymouth.
it would be interesting to know if the pro riders had to earn their team bikes used in the nationals? (the aeroad is nearly as efficient as the tron bike) and how did two of the riders get to use the elusive 808/super9 wheel combo?
Not sure on other bikes, however, Zwift did come back tonight and state specifically the Tron bike was never given out, and always required to be earned.
There’s a fair bit of rumor to the contrary, and I’m honestly not sure I believe this entirely. I suspect there’s a bit of gray ground here since the statement also noted that since the Cam incident they’ve put in place automated checks to remove not attempts to do what Cam did specifically. Which doesn’t address of other riders did the same previously.
I suppose it’s just like doping in the real world – you only hear about the ones that get caught.
He acted unethically and put himself, the organizers and the sport into disrepute. And he was punished for it. This is not a new concept in sport, or life, and not a hard concept to grasp.
WRT to the 808 – Not sure on who the second was, but I think one of those was Gavin. He has been on the platform a while, perhaps before the 808 was removed (and then later reintroduced in the drop shop).
Anyone who had that combo must have been an early Zwifter as the World Champs was before you could get them in the shop.
Feel sorry for this guy, from seeing that headline and reading these comments its like he is on the same level as Armstrong. Another half baked zwift event that has backfired spectacularly, this time villifiying and punishing an almost innocent to a ridiculous degree. Much more criticism should be directed at the organisers. Shame.
“almost innocent” 🙂
in other words… guilty.
I saw in his video response that he intends to continue eRacing on Zwift for Team Wahoo. If he’s broken the Zwift ToS then how is that possible. Shouldn’t his account be terminated or is he special somehow?
And a footnote is that all his rides on Strava are now being flagged…probably wishes he had a private profile by now.
My issue is that British Cycling and Zwift went against the UCI Equipment rule (assuming in game equipment is equipment). ARTICLE 1.3.006 “Equipment shall be of a type that is sold for use by anyone practising cycling as a sport.” There are special rules for prototypes, but to restrict equipment to selected riders goes against the principle that cycling (and therefore e-cycling) is for everyone.
Yup, absolutely. This is, however, an inevitable result of a sports governing body getting into bed with a commercial enterprise in order to promote their product. Zwift can’t accept the level playing field because it undermines their business model, so UCI/BC turn a blind eye because they want a slice of the e-racing pie. These performance advantages that you can only “earn” after paying months of Zwift subscription put the customers of other platforms at a competitive disadvantage. It’s like the UCI signing a contract to give Trek bikes a 2kg weight advantage in return for a bung from the company – good for the business, but catastrophic for sport.
Not sure I follow this. All sports governing bodies need to ‘get in bed with’ commercial enterprises. The UCI gets a major chunk of its revenue from ‘media & marketing rights’.
> It’s like the UCI signing a contract to give Trek bikes a 2kg weight advantage in return for a bung from the company
This example makes zero sense, and makes less than zero sense in Cam’s example that we are discussing here.
Firstly: Congratulations another major milestone in your lives together,
Secondly: Your title is spot on
Thirdly: I am happy with what has happened here
I have seen this guy on YouTube for about 18 months and he appears to be going through everything in terms of racing and amateur racing to give himself a shot at going pro and living his dreams.
Zwift banned his account, great so make him earn everything again properly.
BC gave him a tiny fine and banned him from racing in the winter months (wow what a bummer!). BC also sent a statement to all other riders and (e-racers) ‘don’t cheat in any form’.
CJ got a wake up call about what it is like ‘going pro’
Hopefully BC,UCI and Zwift got a wake up call too. They need to up their game regarding e sports, why were
these racers not on sponsored bike from BC thus harmonising the playing field?
All the best to the Rainmaker tribe!
So the next time a cyclist gets caught cheating on their taxes, should we expect UCI to ban them because they might have paid for some of their equipment with illegitimately acquired money?
This bickering about virtual game items just illustrates how confused Zwift still is between their fitness game roots and their attempts at becoming the de facto reality for competitive trainer use (which btw is nothing new, a similar short-lived fad happened about a century ago, as a small-venue alternative to the then incredibly polar velodrome races)
Who cares. Everyone cheats on Zwift which is why its nonsense to run a competition in the first place.
Its not like he took EPO is it…jeez a Tron bike which makes sod all difference to Zwift.
I do find this whole episode absurd from a number of viewpoints.
1. From a gaming point of view – historically, gamers have used hacks, cheat codes, easter eggs left by developers, etc to acquire rare pieces of equipment in games almost as long as we’ve had RPG gaming. What seems new, is that now(within Zwift) it is considered a moral failure to do so?
2. Like so many have pointed out, the fact that the competition isn’t normalized for the competitors, on site, for the championship is absurd. Nothing they did outside the governance of the competition should factor in their performance during the competition. They get weighed in day of, they use the same bikes, same calibration, same everything, and that should apply “in game” as well. Set them up with new avatars, with equipment choices that are available to all competitors at the event. Nothing anyone did in their basement should impact the competition.
3. How did they catch him? Wasn’t it a hot tip? – So for the next competition – someone hacks some miles in their basement, how is he/she getting caught? Again- if everything is normalized, it wouldn’t matter anyhow. So why not just eliminate the potential for advantage?
4. Can I also just say how embarrassing it is to explain to non cyclists, how, cyclists cheated by hacking their indoor trainer so they could get the “Tron” bike for an e-biking national championship. There’s almost not a word in that sentence that isn’t embarrassing.
Thanks for the details, I guess..
1. You are wrong. E-sports (competitive gaming, with huge cash prizes and growing in popularity) does not in fact allow any hint of cheating. Something like this would make the competitor a pariah in the “sport.” The entities that run computer game e-sports go to great lengths to prevent this kind of fraud, and appear to be successful at it. If they weren’t, fans wouldn’t be so involved. This kind of fairness is also crucial for non-competitive players (i.e., those just playing DOTA2 or whatever just for fun). Any sign of an unfair advantage for some players is actively avoided, often at great expense to the game developers.
2. So you’d allow someone to cheat to get to the finals? What about the riders who didn’t cheat, and are displaced from the finals by such cheaters? More importantly, do you think anyone would be interested in watching or following an event where the competitors in the finals didn’t all get there by their merit.
3. Read below.
If anyone here is interested in how the broader gaming industry deals with cheating in eSports and in regular PvP games, here’s an in-depth article. You can see how far Zwift needs to go if they want to have their virtual races taken seriously and keep nonsense like this from continuing to happen.
link to esportsobserver.com
Are there competitive e-sports (of the gaming type) where participants bring their own account/character, with individual upgrades and lack of upgrades etc?
I’m completely out of the loop regarding competitive gaming, but my impression was that the games that are played in on-site tournaments tend to be of the clean slate type, where customizations are at most cosmetic. Traditional RTS (e.g. any iteration of Starcraft) certainly fit that bill.
There are no other eSports than the gaming kind. Read the link I supplied to get a feel for how these things work. There is a difference between eSports and PvP games like Starcraft and DOTA2. In the former, it is a strict level playing field in all cases I know of.
Cam has run afoul of British Cycling rules in the past. He has been sanctioned and fined previously. In addition, in Qualifying Cameron and his teammate Ed Laverack weight doped. “Honor System” Cam was found to be weight doping -4 pounds and Ed who only weighs 140lbs was caught doping -7 pounds from the Qualifiers to the Final when the scale was used. This is easily viewable on ZwiftPower.com archives. I am the person who reported Cameron to British Cycling. I notified Cameron, Chris Pritchard and Cycling Hub ahead of time what action I was taking. I have also sent emails to Wahoo and Oakley as sponsors of the fraud.
I appreciate you coming forward, and giving more information. I think you did the right thing. I also like your cover name – very appropriate! This information just strengthens the case that the punishment wasn’t so harsh and out of line as it may have first appeared.
For some balance.
His previous sanction within BC was for using a GoPro.
He took videos of his weight during the qualifiers
He discussed the strategies on the day and whether to load up or go light, it’s in his videos.
Nearly everyone weighs in heavier on the day. The event in NYC found this, GPLama himself even found this when he raced in Vegas.
If you look at ZP you can also see he added 4kg before his race against the the VeganCyclist, which he then lost. Not sure that fits the weight doper narrative.
I’m not sure ‘George Smiley’ has ‘come forward’ if he’s using the name of a famous John le Carre novel. His ‘reporting’ to BC, Wahoo and Oakley for ‘fraud’ strikes me as someone with an axe to grind more than anything else, particularly given the information I’ve gleaned from his many youtube videos (and confirmed by Joe’s post below).
I don’t appreciate cheating, and I doubt most fans, as well as other competitors, do either. I applaud George Smiley for blowing the whistle, since it appears that Zwift has entered into this eSports competition game somewhat unprepared. If I were a regular Zwifter, and I saw clear indications of fraud as in this case, I’d damn well report it, too.
BTW. Cam is a 23 year old man who still lives in his parents attic near Preston. His stats are easily viewable on British Cycling website. He is not an up and coming rider as his only wins are in local crits of a dozen or so riders. His “elite” license was granted for cherry picking weak crits and building the necessary 300 points. He regularly loses to Category 1 and 2 racers at the regional level and is arguably not in the top 5 riders on the Saint Piran team which is a ego project for nearly 40 year old team owner Steve Lampard who is still by far the best rider on the team.
If you went to the trouble of concealing a motor in your real-world bike frame and won a bike race but never actually used the motor (discovered after the fact) during the race, did you cheat? I realize we’re talking about an illegal bike vs. an illegally obtained bike. But still, you suffered a weight penalty. You gained no competitive advantage.
It does seem like people are defending Cam and questioning whether he truly “cheated” because either A) people take shortcuts all the time to get the best equipment in virtual games/sports, and/or B) he received no advantage that he couldn’t receive within the rules. The indisputable fact is he took deliberate action to obtain a perceived advantage regardless how marginal the gain might have been. And either he or someone on his behalf took measures to conceal that fact. In the end it appears he only cheated himself out of a title as based solely on sporting grounds he appeared to be superior on the day.
I believe a big part of the decision was public perception (the small segment of the public actually interested in cycling e-sport). There’s always going to be a school of thought which says, “He cheated to obtain the bike he used in competition. I know officials are saying that he didn’t cheat during the actual race but how can we have confidence in that?”
I believe he cheated. Period. I don’t believe DCRs title was at all misleading. You can question the extent of the punishment but that’s a separate debate.
I think my point of view was misconstrued as being sympathetic to Cam, I am not.
1. No, I wasn’t referring to competitive e-sports – I’m coming at this from “the bike racer who doesn’t play video games” perspective. I probably do not have a very nuanced perspective of e-sports. My first point is just that I always though it was a thing, where if you walk into a specific room in game, and hit the up button 5 times, while holding the fire button, you get some magic level 30 battle axe – Anyhow, that seems like something that would happen in video gaming. When it starts mattering in a tournament setting, then the organizers/developers should do whatever it takes to avoid an unfair advantage. I would not think you’d have someones winnings impacted by what goes on in someone else’s basement. After reading your article, it sounds like they control the tournament setting pretty well to have a level playing field at the events, but entry is still gained from high level game play at home – and they are working on being better at identifying people who exploit hacks/cheats at home. I’m not sure I read anything that indicated that the e-sport tournaments imported any saved equipment, etc.. like Zwift does here – but I admittedly know nothing about e-sports.
2. No. I would not have the ability to get to the finals based on what happens in someones home. You show up somewhere to compete on a level playing field. If there have to be qualifiers, or cat-ing up, so be it, but in a controlled setting. If you are telling me that you get to participate in the national championships based on zwift virtual racing you’ve done at home, I’m a hard pass on that. As a cyclist, I see way too many crazy power/weight stuff online, and even with digital bluetooth scales, etc., I wouldn’t trust any of it. I mean, aside from weight doping on zwift, anyone using a power meter has a calibration setting where you could calibrate it manually.. And there’s no way to normalize a ‘watt’ for someone at home. Even between two power meters of the same brand, there are differences. I have two quarq d-zero’s on two bikes – one calibrates (-330) the other (+520) – If I don’t zero it, etc. readings can be all over the place, what’s a watt to me, might not be the same to you.
Again, don’t mistake my post with any sympathy for Cam, though I can understand why you might the way it was written. My post is mostly about how dumb this whole tournament is, if it provides people advantages or disadvantages based on game play that has occurred outside of the governance of the competition? It’s one thing to get good at the game at home, its another thing to have advantages/equipment you gained, come with you from home game play.
If it’s an Atari Pong tournament, you get good at playing Pong. There shouldn’t be a national championship where if you played Pong for 30,000 hours, you get a slightly wider line/paddle to use in the tournament against people who might not have played it as much, but are just as good at game play.
I have a hard enough time in cycling with doping cheats out on the road, and now you are designing a cycling tournament where the outcomes can be influenced by game play when nobody is watching at home? No thanks.
Additionally, while writing this, it occurs to me that a key problem with Zwift, specifically, is that it is a virtual reality environment, and any outcome that occurs inside the game, that differs from an outcome that might occur in a real race in real life, is a failure of the virtual reality environment to account for all real life factors, since there are no additional strategic elements to game-play that don’t exist on the road (I guess except the feather/truck thing).
@ Jeffrey: On your point # 1, it’s much less common now for game developers to leave developer hacks in the shipped game (things that allow the developer, while testing, to make a character invulnerable, for example). And on games that are popular enough to be played competitively for stakes, those kind of in-game cheats are not going to exist (or they’ll be patched away quickly). To the extent that a game has an exploitable quirk like that, it either quickly becomes well known (gamers do two things – they play games, and they talk a lot in public forums to other gamers about playing games) and becomes part of the game strategy, or the devs patch it (usually the latter). Realize that even fairly new games that are played in competitive eSports will have thousands of hours of game testing before initial release, and literally hundreds of millions of hours of real-world game testing by paying customers. This is one wrinkle in the Zwift case – gamers pay a lot of attention to what other gamers are doing. They’re obsessive about it. Players who are abusive or doing something shady get reported, and banned, and winning strategies quickly propagate. I don’t think most Zwifters are paying too much attention to what other Zwifters are doing. Plus, as these comments show, a lot of cyclists are not nearly as intolerant of cheating as the typial gamer.
As for eSports players getting a competitive advantage in their basement, and getting into a tournament based on inflated scores/ratings, there are lots of small tournaments leading up to the big-money tournaments. Frauds get found out, mostly because they flame out in tournament settings. Since every move one makes on a a computer is logged, suspicious activity is usually easy to check, at least until those logs get overwritten.
Actually, Alpe du Zwift feels on my Direto very close to the real thing – I know Alpe d’Huez pretty well.
Firstly, I’m not a fan of e-racing and I think the winner should only be given a ‘digital champions jersey’ (not a real one).
Secondly, its stupid that all riders aren’t on the same ‘equipment’.
And finally, the crime doesn’t fit the crime. If he won a real road race on a ‘stolen’ bike bike, would he be DQ’d?
The whole thing is stupid
I am slightly amazed “pro’s” / elite rides are not bench marked fairly. This is purely a game of WATTS. Height, age ,weight and setup should not be a factor when racing.
In the real (outdoor) world, weight is a major factor in how fast a person goes – pro or otherwise.
If two pros each ride at exactly 400w up Mt. Ventoux, and one pro is 50kg and another is 55kg, the one who is 50kg will get there first (assuming aerodynamics/etc are equal). Zwift attempts to replicate that same concept indoors, hence the need for weight and height.
So he cheated to get a bike! Did he cheat on the actual races? No he did not! All this news coverage is shaming of him is nonsense! No one cares how he got the bike… zwift cares so they should program the software better to stop people from doing it… end