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From indoor to WorldTour: Zwift Academy 2017 launched (video)

Joseph Delves
13 Jun 2017

With last year’s winner now riding for the Canyon-SRAM pro team, the virtual academy is an unconventional route into the pro peloton

Playing at racing on virtual training platform Zwift could now result in a pro contract with the return of the Zwift Academy. Last year the inaugural online competition saw 1,200 riders from 51 countries competing and this year the organisers hope to triple that figure.

‘When we announced the 2016 Zwift Academy, there was a lot of curiosity on whether the programme could deliver on its goals,' said Ronny Lauke Canyon-SRAM’s Team Manager and Sports Director.

'The success of the first year showed that not only could we discover a world-class talent, but we could inspire a global community of female cyclists.’

Along with providing a marketing opportunity for the brand, the competition offers an unconventional route for female cyclists to find their way onto a pro team.

Especially for those who find time constraints, or a lack of local women’s events, hampering their ambitions.

With cycling, like all elite sport, increasingly data driven the numbers generated by the riders completing the series of drills that make up the early stages of the programme are used to identify the most promising athletes, who will then be progress to the latter stages of the competition.

New for this year is the introduction of eRacing to the semi-final stage. The riders making it through this last virtual world test will then be invited to the real world Canyon-SRAM team camp on Mallorca.

Having ridden with the team in person, the winner of the pro-contract will be announced shortly afterwards.

A former elite runner, last year’s winner Leah Thorvilson is currently travelling the world supporting British rider Hannah Barnes. Barnes described the competition as ‘a wonderful opportunity to open the sport up to more women.’

Riders interested in joining Zwift Academy can visit academy.zwift.com to find out more.

Zwift Academy 2017 Schedule

Registration: 12th June - 1st September
Qualification: 1st September - 13th October
Semi finals: 1st - 22nd November
Finals: December

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