Two riders banned from Zwift for data manipulation

Lizi Duncombe and Shanni Berger were both handed suspensions from competing in Zwift events for a six-month term for violating technology data recording and reporting standards.

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Zwift has banned two riders who have been found to be in violation of the rules for competitions as determined by Zwift Accuracy and Data Analysis (ZADA).

Lizi Duncombe and Shanni Berger were both handed suspensions from competing in Zwift events for a six-month term for violating technology data recording and reporting standards.

The suspensions are backdated to the dates for which their respective violations occurred.

Official Zwift competitions require a smart trainer to report data directly in-game. Data must also be collected by a device recording metrics from a secondary power measurement source (e.g., a pedal-based power meter and a ”head unit”) and data files must not be altered.

Lizi Duncombe was found to be in violation of the Zwift Racing League’s data recording and reporting policy on September 17, 2020.

While Duncombe did submit a power file to ZADA from the event which included data collected from a Stages (crankarm) power meter, the file contained only 90 seconds of data.

The findings in Duncombe’s case revealed that a second power file was provided which did not match the data collected from her trainer.

The ZADA investigation determined that, “This may have just been an inadvertent mistake by the rider, but nonetheless without an independent recording of the rider’s efforts it was not possible to verify their performance in the race and their result was therefore annulled.”

In the case record, ZADA noted that, “At no point did the rider admit any fault, show any remorse or offer any plausible explanation as to how a file that had been generated by Zwift, came to be marked as being generated by a “Garmin Edge 820”, or have power data values that exactly differed from the Zwift file by a fixed percentage.”

“It is beyond reasonable doubt that the rider did not correctly dual-record their ride, and therefore that the original judgment of annulling the result of the race for breaching the technical requirements of the event should stand.” The findings additionally state that, “The board further considers that it is beyond reasonable doubt that the FIT file provided by the rider as evidence of them having dual-recorded their ride was edited after the event.”

Shanni Berger’s race data was reviewed when she finished in second place at an Off the MAAP women’s race.

When Berger’s data from August 18, 2020 was reviewed, it was initially determined that she used an external power meter as the primary measurement for the game, violating the requirement that a rider’s smart trainer be the primary power source.

When comparing the secondary data file with the primary data file, the two were found to be identical, suggesting that Berger was using only a single power measurement source, and furnished duplicate files, after altering the second file to appeared to come from a different power source.

Evidence suggested that the secondary file furnished by Berger appeared to indicate a Saris trainer signature. However, when comparing the data file collected by Zwift to the data file provided by Berger, data appeared to be identical, with only the power source differing.

It was concluded that Berger — or an associate — altered the data file furnished to Zwift, to indicate a trainer as the primary power source. This was in conflict with the data recorded on the Zwift servers.

Berger eventually relented, ceased protesting the suspension, and offered apologies while she indicated that it was, “very possible that I made mistakes with the software due to human error.”

Duncombe and Berger are still permitted to use Zwift during their suspensions, and they both will be eligible to participate in competitions following their six-month suspensions.