Prevalence of cheating on zwift


#1

After the recent Round 7 weigh-in results…and as someone who does not seriously engage in zwift or zwift competition…I am left with the impression that cheating is common on Zwift.

First of all, is this sample bias? How prevalent is cheating on Zwift (in Zwift competitions)?

Second, what sort of commentary is this on our collective attitude about doping?

I’ll say this, several years ago there was an incident where a perv filmed a TV personality in her hotel room through (I think) the peephole of an adjacent hotel room. I think that dude was sentenced to like 2.5 years eventually. So why does that matter?

Well, at the time many compromising images of the TV personality were making the rounds. A few times people asked me if I had viewed them. I always told those people, ‘No, because I’m not a F-ing perv.’ Whether you view those images on your phone or though the peephole of an adjacent hotel room you are the same thing: a peeping tom. In the latter case you’re so compelled to be a peeping tom that you risk doing it from her adjacent hotel room. In the former case you’re so afraid of getting caught that your peeping-tom tendencies can be supressed until the risk of getting caught is almost zero.

It speaks to your character. More than anything, true character is revealed when fear of reprisal is lowered to zer.

Similar situation on Zwift. How many Zwifters knowing lie about their weight by several kilos and their height by several inches? Of that subset, how many curse Lance Armstrong because he is a dirty doper?

Discuss!


#2

I don’t know how many people are cheating on Zwift, but I gotta say that you went from “cheating” to “pervs filming people through a peephole” so fast I got whiplash.

On topic, though, the question is unanswerable. This is why Zwift just got several million USD in capital to improve eRacing.


#3

Hmmm…I think that criticism is warranted. Apologies.


#4

Why is this on the TR forum?


#5

No offense intended, sir. I think the topic is important and indicates bad things about both human nature and the sancitity of any online activity, especially one where we invest so much of ourselves into it.


#6

Meh, why not? We’ve got lots of other threads about other software packages, and it’s not like Zwift racing is directly competing with TR. If anything, you could say that they’re complementary – people train on TR in order to be able to race, better, both in real life and on Zwift.


#7

But there are multiple forums for zwift, very active facebook groups etc. Just not sure it belongs here in a TR forum.


#8

Welp, if the admins don’t like it, they’ll shut it down.

On topic, I’ll say that the egregious cheaters (i.e. dudes with an e-bike, or a power-drill attached to their wheel) are pretty easy to spot, as they tend towards impossibly steady power. This is why heart rate monitors are pretty much required in order to podium, for almost any race. A non-trivial amount of people have been disqualified by the Zwift “anti-doping” group.

Weight dopers, though? That’s different. Tough to address that without a real world solution. I could very easily imagine Zwift HQ working on a partnership with scale-makers, where a user’s weight is instantly transmitted to an intermediary, and then pushed to Zwift. The hardcore classes / races would require a verified weight, updated weekly.

It’s solveable, but the brains of cheaters make little sense to the rest of us – they’ll put their mind to trying to beat the system.


#9

I think I would be happier if you removed the analogy from your post, because while I can agree that the behaviour is wrong in both cases, I certainly don’t think the effect is comparable.

I also don’t think that cheating on Zwift is super widespread, I think most of the complaints centre around the fact that Zwift themselves do nothing about it and instead have delegated all the policing to the community.


#10

「cheaters gonna cheat meme」的圖片搜尋結果


#11

I would like to say that ‘cheaters are only cheating themselves’, but I guess in this instance they’re not. If you’re participating and paying for the privilege, you’re also being cheated. I can see why people get frustrated.

That said, there is a simple solution. Don’t take part. You wouldn’t role up clean to your local race if you knew that the field wasn’t playing fair.

I don’t use Zwift (nothing to do with the cheating) but I’m sure that their business model would suffer if enough people just upped and left the platform. Then something would have to be done. I don’t know what, as I said, I don’t use Zwift.


#12

I can take my heavy kettlebell, and put one foot on the scale and press down to the desired weight. Hahahah capitalize on the eSport factor by doing televised weigh-ins for the pros :stuck_out_tongue:

As its been said, no matter what you do, cheaters gon’ cheat.


#13
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#14

I really don’t understand the analogy in the original post.

It’s life, people are going to cheat. At anything and everything. We need to firstly accept this. That isn’t saying it’s right, but it is going to happen. @GPLama did a very good video about the weigh-ins at the KSL live event. In my view, Cofidis should be thrown out. A professional athlete getting his weight wrong by 8kg is nothing other than deliberate. He shouldn’t have been allowed to ride that event. By then again, why was it not until almost a week after the event that it became public knowledge that this had happened at a live event? Scrolling through the rest of the Cofidis team on Zwiftpower, there’s another one that lost 6kg between weeks 2 and 4 of the KSL. But then you look at their stats and ask, why are Cofidis fielding average B riders in the KSL? Cofidis, go home. Utter disgrace.

There is no answer yet as to how to regulate cheating on Zwift. The blatant cheaters are often easy to spot in races. There’s the guy that ride at 4w/kg for an hour, then 10w/kg for the final 10 minutes. There’s the 50+ yr old that’s got his height at 170kg, but in his profile picture he’s got a 56cm frame with at least 10cm of seatpost showing. There’s the guy who has his weight at 54kg, giving a BMI of around 16 that flies past you on the Epic KOM, but profile pic tells a different story. (I’ve been beaten by these guys in the past week). For eSports to be taken seriously, these things do need to be addressed. Zwift is fun, but being beaten by cheats isn’t fun.


#15

Pure speculation, here, but I think there is going to have to be some sort of real-world verification of height and weight. Not for all divisions of Zwift racing, mind you, but for all of the “serious” ones.

I mean, @AndyGajda has reaised some really good points – you can see who’s cheating by being able to cross-reference race data with something in the real world, like a picture or other race results. The dude who DNF’d every Cat 5 race they did who’s suddenly on the podium on Zwift? Probably cheating. The dude who’s 140 pounds on Zwift but whose profile pic has him balancing a beer on his massive pot-belly? Probably cheating, and so on.

The problem that Zwift needs to solve is how they’re going to require this real world data without being too onerous. There will always be (and always should be) a racing division that requires on verification, at all, beyond stuff like “heart rate monitor required to podium”. That’s fine. But I think it’s totally acceptable to have increasing levels of verification above that, with the highest divisions requiring things like a recent picture of you holding your zwift ID, height and weight submitted by a doctor or testing lab (like Quest), and whatever else they want. You want to play baller? You’ve gotta pay baller.

I’m hoping that Zwift HQ is using their piles of filthy lucre to come up with partnerships with equipment manufacturers and vendors to reduce the prevalence of cheating. It’s not a solveable problem, but it should be one that can drive out all but the most determined cheaters, who will, sad to say, always be there.


#16

Said it before and I’ll say it again, the people who worry about doping in zwift racing aren’t the racers.

I jump in an A race from time to time and the top riders are usually the same crowd. I finish where i would expect for my fitness (and lack of zwift skill). You occasionally get the random obvious cheat but it’s rare. Typically the top guys are easy to find on Strava and road results and the vast majority are fairly accomplished racers (lots of very fast masters guys). Look at the leaderboards for races and big climbs and you’ll find many Conti, ProConti and the odd WT rider as well.

The typical zwift doping hand wringer is either a zwift user mad about getting beat in the one © category race they entered by what is probably just a sand bagger, or someone who has never entered a zwift race to begin with.


#17

There’s the high profile cases of cheating, like the Cofidis riders, but I suspect that it’s as rife, if not more so in the lower categories. Sandbagging/weight and height doping. I recall last year when I was still a B rider in a ZHR Hares and Hounds race the guys openly saying “I’m just over 4w/kg average. I’m sitting up for a bit” just to make sure they didn’t get upgraded or DQ’d. These types of thing are less easy to spot unless you are really looking hard for them.

I really do hope that they manage to figure something out for all categories of Zwift racer.


#18

Some of the races will ask for Strava and verifiable outdoor power data should someone have a particularly strong performance.


#19

I find it fascinating that majority of top A and A+ riders have their Strava profiles open, whereas most other riders that I’ve looked at don’t. I mean, who wants to check out a C Cat sandbagger’s secret training?

(I appreciate there are some that will have private profiles for genuine reasons)


#20

That’s assuming it’s a truthful profile pic. It is the Internet, after all…best to assume 100% “fake news” and go from there. Sad but true.

Full disclosure: I don’t Zwift or Strava (guess I’m allergic to orange).