2023 Esport Worlds Godbe 1130x600
Team USA

Godbe Takes Bronze at 2023 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships

By: Angelina Palermo  February 18, 2023

With a brand-new elimination race format, five Team USA riders finished in the Top 10, with Godbe taking the bronze at the Esport World Championships.

18 athletes represented USA Cycling today at the 2023 UCI Cycling Esport World Championships on Zwift. The new format led to an exciting competition for 173 athletes from around the world.

Elite Men

The Elite Men’s race was first to compete in the three elimination-style events. Round one was “The Punch” where 86 riders competed on 13.8km of rolling terrain with only 30 competitors moving on to the next round. Timothy Rugg (Harrisonburg, Va.; Wahoo Le Col) used the burrito power-up and led multiple times throughout this round, but fell short of qualifying for round two. Four Team USA athletes advanced: Matt Curbeau (Millis, Mass.; Saris/ NoPinz) in 16th, Zach Nehr (Milwaukee, Wis.; NeXT p/b Enshored) in 17th, Brian Duffy Jr (King of Prussia, Penn.; NeXT p/b Enshored) in 19th, and Joseph Chudyk (Byron, N.Y.; TURBO) in 28th.

12 minutes later was the next round. “The Climb” consisted of three hill repetitions with a total length of 8.5 km and 162m of vertical gain. Nehr made his way through the pack and finished in 2nd, making him one of the 10 advancing to the final round. Duffy finished 15th, Chudyk in 22nd, and Curbeau in 25th.

“The Podium” round consisted of short, challenging climbs with one rider eliminated each half lap. Nehr raced hard and finished in 10thplace.

Final Results:

1. Bjorn Andreassen (DEN)

2. Jason Osbourne (GER)

3. Marc Mading (GER)

10. Zach Nehr (USA)

Elite Women

The Elite Women’s races kicked off at 12:45pm MST with 87 riders competing in the same format and courses as the men. Round one was tactical with riders packing close together. Jacqueline Godbe (Chicago, Ill.; Saris/ NoPinz) flexed her power and finished in first place with nearly a second separating her from the second-place rider. Five Team USA athletes advanced to the second round: Godbe, Arielle Martin-Verhaaren (Williamsburg, Va.; AEO) in 4th, Liz Van Houweling (Des Moines, Iowa; Saris/ NoPinz) in 10th, Kristen Kulchinsky (Dix Hills, N.Y.; Twenty 24) in 11th and Ellexi Snover (Issaquah, Wash.; Electric Spirit Co.) in 14th.

Round two began with Kulchinsky taking the lead and setting the pace for the 30 remaining riders. Godbe kept crisp accelerations and stayed on pace until the descent, where she was left with a massive gap to close. Kulchinsky took 2nd, Verhaaren 4th, Godbe 6th, and Van Houweling rounded out the top 10.

With four out of ten riders representing Team USA in the finals, team tactics were going to come in to play. The final round was a close race with Kulchinisky attempting to breakaway early, but ultimately, she fell behind and finished in 9th. Van Houweling would be the next one eliminated finishing in 8th. It came down to the last five riders with Verhaaren and Godbe still in the mix. Verhaaren was eliminated taking 5th and Godbe finished the race taking the bronze medal.

Final Results:

1. Loes Adegeest (NED)

2. Zoe Langham (GBR)

3. Jacqueline Godbe (USA)

5. Arielle Martin-Verhaaren (USA)

8. Liz Van Houweling (USA)

9. Kristen Kulchinsky (USA)