Ashleigh Moolman Pasio edged Australia's Sarah Gigante in a thrilling final sprint to win the inaugural UCI Esports World Championships and celebrate her 35th birthday in style.
Cycling on the popular Zwift training platform, the women's race, featuring 54 participants, including Netherlands' Olympic gold medallist Anna van der Breggen and former world champion Annemiek van Vleuten, took place on the Watopia's 50km figure eight course.
Moolman Pasio surged into the lead with under 2kms to go after the use of a power-up and held off a late challenge from Gigante across the final 300 meters to clinch the victory by 0.064 seconds and take home a virtual and physical rainbow jersey.
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"It felt really awesome. I wasn't a fan of virtual training before the lockdown but to now win the virtual World Championships, I'm super proud," Moolman Pasio said. "It's now time to celebrate."
She had enjoyed some success over the summer in the Zwift Tour for All.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio happy with 'smooth' win after previous technical issues
Sweden's Cecilia Hansen pipped American Laura Stephens to the final podium spot.
In the men's race, German rower Jason Osborne outshone WorldTour riders and track champions as he pulled away on the final climb to finish 1.74 seconds clear of Denmark's Anders Foldager, with Nicklas Pedersen completing the podium.
"It was a completely new experience for me. I have raced on Zwift before but this is much bigger. The field was very tough and I just tried to keep calm," said Osborne, who won gold in the 2018 rowing world championships.
The men's event featured 78 riders and was run on the same course as the women's race.
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