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QUT opens Virtual Cycling Centre

27 Jan 2023

The Queensland University of Technology has opened a new Virtual Cycling Centre at its Gardens Point campus, as a new era of virtual sports continues to grow in popularity across the globe.

The $400,000 centre, funded by QUT, combines physical cycling with virtual replicas of famous cycling tracks including the Tour de France, Tour de Femme and Tokyo 2020 course.

The Centre features 10 Wahook-KickR bikes and has ground fans that replicate wind, based on a cyclist’s speed, while the bikes rise and fall with a virtual road.

Aspiring Olympic and Paralympic cyclists can now train and compete against the world’s best cyclists while Cycling Australia will be able to use the Arena as part of its talent identification program, which is supported by the Queensland Academy of Sport.

The Centre will play a key role in training Queenslanders ahead of the inaugural Olympic Esports Week in Singapore from 22-25 June 2023, an event organised by the International Olympic Committee as it supports the development of virtual sports within the Olympic movement.

QUT is also in the final stages of fitting out a Sport-tech truck that will enable the technology to be taken around the state to regional and remote communities, helping uncover more talented young cyclists regardless of where they live.

QUT already has close links with the Queensland Academy of Sport through programs like the QAS Sport Performance Innovation and Knowledge Excellence Research Program (SPIKE) and other jointly funded research projects.

Many QAS-supported athletes use Virtual E-Sports tech in their training, including Paralympic canoeing Gold Medallist Curtis McGrath.

There are more than 500 million Esports viewers, in a global industry worth more than $1 billion per year that could see some virtual sports potentially feature in future Olympic and Paralympic Games, including Brisbane 2032.