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Zwift Academy returns giving another rider the chance to gain a WorldTour contract

Jack Elton-Walters
18 Jan 2017

Zwift and Canyon-Sram are teaming up again and plan to increase the number of participants

The Zwift Academy is set to return in 2017 after the success of the cycling talent search in 2016. The inaugural year of the competition saw amateur rider Leah Thorvilson awarded a WorldTour contract with Canyon-Sram. 

Zwift is the turbo-training platform that allows riders to compete on courses and against riders from all around the world from the comfort of their own turbo trainers. 

In the second year of the programme, Zwift is aiming to triple registrations and create the world's largest community of female cyclists. The announcement comes off the back of 2016 winner Thorvilson joining the rest of the Canyon-Sram squad in Adelaide, Australia for the start of the 2017 Women's WorldTour. 

'Zwift has showed itself as a credible talent identification platform and the 2016 Zwift Academy proved that Canyon-Sram Racing were committed to adding a new dimension to women’s cycling in their very first season,' said Ronny Lauke, Canyon-Sram Racing Team Manager. 

Registrations for year two of the Zwift Academy are set to open in June before the qualification phase kicks of in September. The programme will be much the same as 2016 with group rides, training rides and structured training schedules. 

However, there will now be the addition of eRacing at the semi-final stage, set for November. 

'eSport is coming to cycling and Zwift is leading the charge. Introducing a racing component to Zwift Academy provides the judges with another important evaluation component,' commented Eric Min, Zwift founder & CEO.

'Zwift Academy racing will be an ideal testing ground for measuring and gauging new talent in a fair, effective, competitive environment,' Min added. 

After the semi-final eRacing stage, three finalists will then be invited to the Canyon-Sram team camp at the end of 2017. 

'Zwift Academy became famous when Leah Thorvilson earned a UCI WorldTour contract but the very notion of an academy meant everyone should benefit' said leading Canyon-Sram rider Tiffany Cromwell.

'In 2016 the Zwift Academy brought together a global community of female cyclists who supported and encouraged each other regardless of ability level or experience on the bike. The best thing was that any female cyclist could take part and benefit, whether they were a newbie, an enthusiast or a racer.

'I’m looking forward to seeing this inclusive vibe go from strength to strength in 2017,' Cromwell concluded. 

Zwift looks set to development the talent programme still further in 2018 with the launch of a Canyon-Sram eRacing development squad. 

'This is a natural progression for Zwift and Canyon-Sram. This new and unique project will ease many of the budget constraints in women’s cycling by allowing rider talent to be developed online, in many geographies, and within a team structure,' said Min 

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