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Zwift Academy returns online search for pro cyclist for third year

Joe Robinson
2 Jul 2018

One female and one male cyclist will have the unique opportunity to earn professional contracts via the virtual game

For a third consecutive year Zwift has launched the Zwift Academy, the mass participation training and talent spotting programme that will hand two professional contracts to the winners, one for the Women's WorldTour team Canyon-SRAM and the other for the U23 men's Dimension Data team.

Groups of male and female riders will take to the virtual training world to complete various training programmes and races in the fight to secure the two professional contracts up for grabs. 

This year, riders will compete over a serious of 'four unlocks' in an attempt to graduate from the academy. Unlocks will be granted after completing sections of the competition with the chance of also winning in-game and real life prizes.

To be considered, all riders will need to complete a total of 10 workouts, four group rides and two races before 10 male and 10 female semi-finalists are picked in early October.

Beyond the fight for a pro contract, the Zwift Academy will also bring together cyclists looking to improve their fitness via a community-based training programmer while urging users to share their experiences online.

So far, three hard working riders have managed to live their dreams through the Zwift Academy in the past three years with Leah Thorvilson and Tanja Erath both earning contracts with Canyon-SRAM and Ollie Jones becoming part of the Dimension Data development team.

Last year's winner Erath recollected on what it was like to win this unique prize.

'I still think back to that moment my name was called out at the finals and it gives me goosebumps,' she said.

'It’s been a big learning curve from moving to my new home in Girona, to racing in the WorldTour peloton, but I’m really enjoying settling into my first year as a professional cyclist.'

This unique scouting method also gives the professional teams an alternative way of finding talent that may otherwise go unnoticed as Canyon-SRAM's team manager Beth Duryea alluded to.

'It’s a credible talent ID programme that’s helped us discover some exciting new talent in both Leah and Tanja,' Duryea said.

'Leah is now in her second year with our team having proven herself in her first season. Tanja has already adapted very quickly with a notably strong performance at the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire. I’m excited to see who we might unearth next!'

If you think you have what it take entries are open now with all riders being offered free premium access to Today's Plan with access to analytics on how you stack up against riders from your age group while the academy is ongoing.

To register head to Zwift website for more details.

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