The Zwift Academy talent identification project in partnership with Canyon//SRAM Racing launches this week with the aim of unearthing new pro cycling talent for the Canyon//SRAM Racing UCI Women’s World Tour team.
The academy program features a three-stage process, aimed at developing riders of all abilities before moving to the business end of identifying 10 finalists who will fight it out for a 2017 pro contract with Canyon//SRAM.
Stage One (Apr-May) of the Zwift Academy, will deliver three group rides per week for all abilities, across all time zones. Canyon//SRAM Racing pro riders will join these Zwift Academy ‘ride outs’ alongside dedicated ride leaders.
Stage Two (Jun-Aug) marks the Qualification period for Zwift Academy. All participants will be tasked with taking part in a minimum quantity of Zwift training rides and races, alongside completing a structured training program, beginning with a FTP test. Completion of Stage Two is mandatory and will be open only to amateurs over the age of 16.
“The accessibility of Zwift means we’re giving these riders every chance to get involved, wherever they may be. It’s going to be great to watch as the talent rises through the ranks” – Eric Min
Participants will also be required to upload ride data to Training Peaks & Strava platforms, together with a minimum number of outdoor rides. At the close of this stage, only ten riders will progress to the last round of Academy qualification.
Canyon//SRAM Racing will develop a more hands-on role for Stage Three (Sep-Dec) of the program, with mentors assigned to the 10 finalists, who will follow a prescribed training regime with equipment provided from program partners. This training will include both indoor and outdoor riding and be developed to truly test the remaining candidates.
To close out Stage Three and the Zwift Academy, three riders will be chosen to attend the Canyon//SRAM Racing end-of-season camp, culminating in the selection of the winning rider by team management.
“Already, we’ve received substantial interest from cyclists all over the world. We’re doing something different and Zwift is capturing the imagination of amateur riders who want to perform at the highest level possible,” said Zwift CEO and CoFounder Eric Min.
“The accessibility of Zwift means we’re giving these riders every chance to get involved, wherever they may be. It’s going to be great to watch as the talent rises through the ranks. We’re confident we’ll develop a new and innovative pathway to become a professional cyclist in the sporting world today,” Min added.
“The path to professional cycling, especially women’s cycling, is far too narrow,” said Canyon//SRAM Racing director Ronny Lauke. “I’m sure that Zwift’s substantial user base is going to yield a great candidate that’ll have as much to offer our team in 2017 as she’ll have to learn!”