Zwift bans two riders from top races for falsifying data | CyclingTips

Is there really a good way to address this?

(except obviously not caring about virtual racing and get the head back down at watching the power numbers of the TR workouts)

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For official esports, seems fine to me. It’s similar to the way things are handled with doping. They can continue to cheat in club races, I think.

I don’t use Zwift but I must admit when I use the trainer I only use one power source (the power meter). When I first got the Suito it seemed to match the power meter ok at low power but seemed to lag behind the power meter at higher power levels and cadences and reach a ceiling. So I ignore the Suito and only train of the power meter. I guess though even if I was Zwifting though the numbers wouldn’t be high enough to arouse suspicion anyway :joy:

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banning retrospectively, as has been done, seems like the best solution. Not perfect but at least something is being done

Remove as many possibilities for both human error and malicious activity as they* can. (*They being all online platforms).

  • Dual power recording on the platform itself. Not via another head unit.
  • Enforcement of spindown/zero offset after predefined warm-up.
  • Encryption of log files locally. Transmission of those to the online platform in realtime or immediately post the event.
  • Recording of all sensors used and data they transmit. Trainer speed being one of them. Trainer accuracy can deviate well away from the published spec at different flywheel speeds. This would assist any investigation into a mismatch in dual power recording.

My concern is that people are being lit up in the cycling news headlines. This could break people. The systems in use and checks need to be rock solid before this is headline news. IMO.

How to REALLY solve it? Policy? Driven from the UCI? It’s their licensed riders who are being sanctioned. I think they have a responsibility to unify all competitive online platforms in regard to result verification/validation. They walk around real races with an iPad Xray machine… this isn’t all that different.

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They could probably have UCI-approved indoor trainers, the same way they have UCI-approved bikes. Then go with that power. You’d still need to see additional data, eg another power meter and HR, but at least you had one way of regulating somehing that is becoming a fully fledged sport

It’s easy too to man in the middle the ant data, pretty simple to do via a cheap raspberry-pi plugged with ant stick. You can clobber quickly a python script using the pyusb/pyant libraries which can replay the same exact datas but increasing it by x%.

You can do that too with the thrift message that zwift is broadcasting over the network which AFAIK from a quick wireshark scan i can see are not encrypted…

(same goes for BT stack and usb cable)

I wonder if the industry needs to start thinking about a WPA2/SSL encrypted protocol to encrypt the frame that goes between trainer and app.

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I go with GPlamas/Spalshs thoughts on this, you almost require the trainer to be in a VPN, all updates, power data, calibration request, etc within the trainer/Zwift private network/cloud via this VPN. All this data is therefore encrypted and tamper proof, no man in the middle attacks. etc You require this all to be held away from the end user. No requirement for them to do anything. If the trainer is opened, have a tamper sensor that immediately voids that trainer. Nothing will ever be 100% but you can make it pretty secure.

They can record their own data via a head unit if they want via a broadcasting ant+/BT. Almost requires a new trainer being designed , approved/accredited for esports, coming this way from Zwift soon?

ANT data is already encrypted. It is a question of authentication. It looks like ANT supports that, but I suspect it is not in use anywhere.

You still need to validate with data from the rider, eg HR and power measured at the pedals/cranks. Otherwise you could for example simply put an ebike on the trainer.

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I guess you could have two type of differing power meters within the trainer, but as you state this wouldn’t stop ebikes or electric drills!

I guess whatever they introduce, some will always go above and beyond to cheat the system.

There is no easy way to solve this, we don’t have this issue with outside races because those races are made out in the open with other people and refs that can check you face to face etc… races with racers at home, cannot scale…

(and to be honest I am quite bored by races on zwift/rgt/rouvy etc… we are ultimately just watching power number going up and down)

100cm 50kg riders everywhere are disgusted by this type of behaviour.

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Interesting topic. I sounds like there are 3 main issues:

  1. Height doping.
  2. Weight Doping
  3. Power data doping

Height doping should be very easy to spot and prevent riders entering races with height discrepancies.

Weight doping - a little more difficult to prevent as weight changes a lot more than height! My idea would be to make better use of smart scales to sync with Zwift and then require weekly weigh-ins.

Power data doping - I’m not sure how wide spread this is and hope only a very tiny percentage of people are actively modifying power data. I think @GPLama pretty much has this covered in his post.

In elite level eRacing, there’s very few result annulments due to height/weight doping. I think this is more of a problem in the community events. The more worrying aspect is power data manipulation and failure to verify performance.

ZADA have approved all the riders currently participating in the Zwift Premier League, and it’s interesting that both of the races whereby these riders were sanctioned were from before the start of the league.

There are both UCI and Zwift eRacing rules. If there’s a discrepancy in the ruleset, they default to the UCI rules. For the UCI World Championships, all the riders are on the same trainer - Neo 2T, sent out directly to them for the event.

There’s also the elephant in the room - “traditional” doping. How does one even begin to regulate this?

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Another good article:

Perhaps i’m in the minority here or misreading, but this seems way blown out of proportion?

These riders didn’t appear to cheat from what I can tell? They just didn’t dual record and when they realized it, did something stupid to try and cover themselves?

6 month ban for this instead of just DQ’ing them from the results of the race seems super harsh.

Especially when Zwift’s interface is a pile of hot garbage and their device pairing is notoriously spotty and unreliable. This whole problem exists in the first place because Zwift hasn’t implemented dual-recording!

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And one more article:

what impact does height doping have?

That’s called cheating.

As many politicians learn, it isn’t the scandal that gets you; it is the cover up.

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

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