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Lucas Carstensen defends leadership in virtual Bundesliga

Sunday, May 10, 2020 in Pro Cycling

After only finishing 61st in the difficult mountain arrival to Alpe du Zwift, Lucas Carstensen narrowly missed out on the day's victory in second place in the fourth round of the virtual Bundesliga, but extends the lead in the overall standings.

Last week was the third run of the virtual Bundesliga of the German Cycling Federation, which was held for the first time. The first two races were decided by Lucas Carstensen in the sprint. Other riders should appear at the 12km long mountain arrival. 

A rower, a mountain biker and a professional roadcyclist

The world class rower Jason Osborne won first, followed by Ben Zwiefhoff, one of the best mountain bikers in Germany. Behind it, BIKE AID rider Erik Bergström Frisk finished third. The first three riders were all close to the 6w / kg mark for just under an hour's riding time, which are absolute top performances. 

The rower appearing at Zwift races is not uncommon. In Austria too, Rainer Kepplinger, a rower, caused a sensation in the national virtual league. Rowers have a very high VO2max (maximum oxygen absorption) and are used to the maximum load on ergometers, which trains the leg muscles in a similar way to that of cyclists. Osborne has clear goals in cycling, after the Olympics 2020 in rowing he wanted to switch to professional cycling. According to rumors, Ben Zwiehoff is also looking towards the road and already has a preliminary contract for Bora Hansgrohe at the end of the year.

Are Zwift races fair?

Osborne's achievements may have surprised some, but are understandable. Nevertheless, the topic of Zwift racing and fairness is a special one. Those responsible try as best that the races run fairly. The cornerstone for digital performance calculation is your own body weight. Erik Bergström Frisk sums it up. He contested the race at the weekend in his parents' holiday home, then had to validate his body weight as third place by filming himself on a scale and sending the video to the racing jury. However, there was no scales in the holiday home and he was only able to submit the data back home on Monday, which almost resulted in disqualification. 

The indication of your own body weight is only one component. Unfortunately, there are a number of other ways to go faster at Zwift than you really can. Anyone who is a technical expert can even win every race with a game console sitting on the coach. In order to find out, results from real races, performance data during training outdoors at Strava up to the results of performance diagnostics are then requested and painstakingly compared. Unfortunately, it happens regularly that some want to profile themselves with unrealistic performances at Zwift races. However, these are often exposed by the community and then disqualified. 

The ultimate way to fairness is only through Zwift races, where all participants ride in the same place and on the same technical equipment, also intended for the first official world championships. In Corona times, however, the variant “networked together, everyone at home” has the greatest charm.  

Justin Wolf rode final attack

At yesterday's fourth round of the virtual Bundesliga, BIKE AID was again at the start with numerous riders. Globally networked and still at home, a special time when Charles in Kenya, Erik in Sweden, Adne in Holland, Justin in Dortmund, Matthias in Blieskastel and Lucas in Hamburg together ride bike races in front of the screen. Time trial specialist Justin Wolf was able to launch an attack a few hundred meters from the finish line, making the sprinters extremely nervous. Shortly before the finish line, Lucas Carstensen had to go, but just missed the day's victory behind Richard Banusch from the LKT Brandenburg team.

Lucas Carstensen before overall victory​

The fifth and final run of the series is scheduled for next Saturday. Bike Aid rider Lucas Carstensen has good chances to claim overall victory in the first virtual Bundesliga of cycling. We keep our fingers crossed for the team and are happy that we can deliver success even in these times. 

Results Race 3

Results Race 4