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Updated: Four-time Israman champion banned from Zwift racing for manipulating data

Israeli pro triathlete suspended for "bringing the sport into disrepute"

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Israel’s Antonina Reznikov has been banned from Zwift Cycling Esports events after Zwift’s Performance Verification Board found that she had intentionally manipulated data during a Zwift Racing League event on Jan. 11. According to the decision, “Zwift’s automated systems identified that the dual-recorded data from the rider’s powermeter may have been edited and warranted more detailed investigation.”

On investigation, the Verification Board found that Reznikov’s submitted data was 32 per cent higher than the originally recorded values. When Zwift reached out to her, she initially denied editing her power file, then “acknowledged that they had indeed changed their power data before submitting it to Zwift.” The Board decided that it “is beyond reasonable doubt that the rider intentionally manipulated their data” and applied a Tier 3 sanction (“Bringing the sport into disrepute – Fabrication or modification of any data”) which means she’ll receive a six month suspension from the platform’s racing events which will run until July 10, 2021.

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Reznikov, who lives in Eilat, Israel, has been a powerhouse at the full-distance triathlon event in the city since winning for the first time in 2016. She missed the 2017 race, but won the 2018, 2019 and 2020 events. In addition to her Israman wins, Reznikov, 38, won a bronze medal at the 2018 Zofingen Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. She was third at Israel’s national cycling championships.

“I am shocked by what happened, I competed in Zwift in pro races for 4 months, I rode races much stronger and successfully passed all zada checks,” she told us when we reached out to her for comment.  “I also passed all zada checks to get the right to participate in pro races …  I was disqualified in a race where I rode with a power of 4.2 watts/kg, although there are many races where I rode more than 5 watts/kg and successfully passed all zada checks.”

Reznikov says that the issue arose after she deleted a long warm up from one of her data files, which left only part of the race, but “the file left the average NP power the same as with the warm-up and therefore zada decided that I was manipulating the power data.” Reznikov says that after trimming the file the data no longer matched and, unfortunately, the file could not be restored.

Reznikov says that if she had added 32 per cent to her power file her average heart rate would be “significantly lower that about 130,” but that the Zwift Performance Verification Board was “no longer interested in it.”

“I didn’t even argue and didn’t prove anything because I was sure that everything was fine and trimming the warm-up part file is not something that could ruin everything,” Reznikov continues. “I’m very sorry that it happened, I can only hope that those who know me, they know what for me a race of 4.2 watts/kg is not a problem and I can ride much stronger. It is very sad and painful that such a technical nonsense can denigrate an athlete … regardless of what happened, I believe that every person has the right to personal space and not everyone has the right to report in the media everything that he heard somewhere. They just killed me and everything I did in my sports life, they hurt me with my family and everyone who believes in me as an athlete.”

Zwift also announced the suspension of another athlete – Germany’s Selma Trommer – after it was found that “the rider’s data identified that the power values submitted were 9% higher than the originally recorded values.” She will also face a six month suspension.