Zwift just announced the return of Zwift Academy the virtual talent search program which gives anyone with a Zwift account the chance at a pro cycling contract. The program started in 2016 and has awarded seven professional contracts since.
Zwift Academy winners have gone on to win pro races, podium in Elite National Championships and represent their countries at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships. This year, two contracts with CANYON//SRAM Racing and Alpecin-Fenix are up for grabs.
This will be our fifth year with the Zwift Academy, and I’m just as excited to see who we might discover this year as I was back in 2016”, says Ronny Lauke, Team Manager CANYON//SRAM Racing. “We currently have three girls in the team who came through the Zwift Academy program and all three have been enjoying a great 2020 season. Ella has secured her first professional win, Tanja recently podiumed in the German Nationals and Jessica finished top ten in her first professional stage race at the Women’s Santos Tour Down Under. Zwift Academy is a proven program that our team truly believes in.
The Zwift Academy Training Plan
Zwift Academy Road is a little different for 2020 thanks to an increased focus on training and a new list of objectives. The plan includes casual rides, training rides and races. The eight-workout plan was designed by Dig Deep Coaching and will be led by former pro cyclists Stephen Gallagher and Dan Fleeman.
Zwift Races will be run on two different circuits: Richmond’s 2015 World’s Course, which is a fairly flat circuit with some punchy climbs, and La Rein on the new French map, for the climbers.
Segment Rides, a new event format for this year’s Zwift Academy, are designed to allow riders to test themselves on two different segments per ride and attempt to set new personal best times. The rides will target segments in Innsbruck and Watopia.
Finally, the Zwift Academy program will also include Zwift Academy Group Rides. These will be more relaxed.
Landing a Pro Contract
Riders shooting for a professional cycling contract must complete all eight workouts as well as two races and both Segment Rides. Additionally, those seeking professional contracts must sync their Zwift Activities to Today’s Plan.
It’s a really cool concept, and I look forward to seeing who will join us on the team for next season,” says Mathieu van der Poel, racer for Alpecin-Fenix. “There’s certainly no hiding on Zwift, it’s a tough platform that tests you to your limits, so I’ve no doubt that we will find someone with a really big engine to add to the team’s strength in 2021.
Online enrollment for all three 2020 Zwift Academy programs, including road, tri and run, open on Sept. 8. The eight week Zwift Academy program begins Oct. 1 and ends Nov. 25.