Brisbane Cycling Festival | Olympian Kate Bates and Esports…

Olympian Kate Bates and Esports Enthusiast Emma Pratt Race for First Place

On Thursday 21 March, Brisbane Cycling Festival ambassador and Olympian Kate Bates raced against AusCycling Esports National Championships finalist Emma Pratt in a 1km sprint to see who had what it takes to make first place in the lead up to Australia’s first cycling esports championship.

Australia’s cycling esports championships will be decided on Friday 22 March as part of the nation’s booming $4.5 billion sports tech industry and a major three-year partnership between AusCycling and QUT.

Ms Pratt, who narrowly took out first place in the race said it was an honour to be chosen as a finalist for the Friday 22 cycling esports event.

“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to compete in the Australia’s first ever national cycling esports championship! Around 2019, my sister competed in the Zwift Academy, where she won and got a pro contract for the year,” she said.

“Being my sister, she wouldn’t stop telling me to hop on Zwift, so I had to. There’s been lots of AusCycling races on Zwift, but this is a cool event where we get to race in the same room, which will be a whole different aspect to it, I’m really keen to see how it goes.”

Ms Bates said she was a huge supporter of the cycling esports games because it makes cycling accessible for those who are time poor.

“A lot of our esports athletes are athletes who could have been pro, but have chosen family, careers, and other pathways. This gives them a way back into the sport,” she said.

"It's so exciting that we're having this event for the first time at QUT, integrated into the Brisbane Cycling Festival. We'll be bringing a whole new dynamic to cycling esports broadcasting.

“It's something that hasn't really been done in Australia before, using the incredible technology at QUT, as well as the community power of the Brisbane Cycling Festival. I think it'll be a really cool event."

AusCycling CEO Marne Fechner said she was a huge fan of cycling esports and had given it a crack herself in the past.

“Cycling esports is an exciting addition to the cycling landscape. It’s another discipline that allows more people to engage in cycling in the way they want to. It’s great to see our first national championships this weekend!” She said.

“Anything we can do to get more people riding and showcase our fantastic athletes is a great opportunity.”

QUT Director of Sport Emily Rosemond said QUT was excited to be delivering the AusCycling Esports National Championships, a landmark event that showcased the excitement of Virtual Sports.

"The event is a thrilling showcase of the potential within esports and traditional cycling to merge into a compelling, accessible, and dynamic sport. It demonstrates how digital environments and cutting-edge technology can bring sports to wider audiences, and create a new, inclusive community of enthusiasts,” she said.

"In embracing the virtual format, we're not just transforming how competitions are held; we're partaking in a broader dialogue about the evolution of sports. This competition is about more than just cycling, it's about breaking down barriers, exploring new possibilities for engagement, and redefining what it means to be a part of the sports community.

"For participants, this event offers a unique platform to compete in an innovative environment that challenges their skills and pushes the boundaries of traditional cycling. Spectators, too, are invited into an immersive experience that blends the excitement of live sports with the accessibility and engagement of online platforms.

"At QUT, we see this as an opportunity to contribute our expertise and passion for sports, aiding in the delivery of an event that also provides educational experiences. Our students and faculty are eager to engage with the competition, applying their knowledge in events management and sports technology to enhance the event and learn from this pioneering approach to sports.”

The Brisbane Cycling Festival is Australia’s largest multi-disciplinary cycling event and features a unique combination of major international standard events including the Oceania Championships and Tour de Brisbane coupled with more than 100 community focused events for participants of all abilities and ages to enjoy.

In 2024, the Brisbane Cycling Festival is proudly supported by Brisbane City Council, through Brisbane Economic Development Agency and the Queensland Government, as part of a three-year funding partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland.

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