Can a virtual cycling game be used to identify the next pro cyclist? This summer, over 9,200 amateur riders thought so. Cyclists from all over the globe signed up to Zwift Academy this summer, a breakthrough program that put riders through the ringer of spirited races, group rides, and workouts. All the training was held exclusively on Zwift. The competition was challenging, as the prize was a hot one: a seat on Team Dimension Data’s Continental Squad.
Zwift Academy started with a 6-week session where thousands carved time and logged onto Zwift, cranking out watts and building a true community. The raw power and competitive spirit was in the air. The program rode on the heels of last year’s Zwift Academy, which landed amateur cyclist Leah Thorvilson a pro contract with CANYON//SRAM Racing. A dream come true for Leah, extending the idea to the Men’s Group felt natural.
The main field then narrowed to 10 semi-finalists. Coaches and judges following their Zwift performance analyzed each rider on strengths and areas of improvement. Numbers were studied. Decisions were made.
Three finalists flew to Cape Town, South Africa for a week of Training Camp with the pros, including Steve Cummings and Mark Cavendish. With no time to waste, they got to riding on day one.
Training continued, as the riders were schooled on Team Dimension Data’s charity wing, Qhubeka. The squad personally delivered over 600+ bikes to an underprivileged community in South Africa. Fun fact: the total number of bicycles donated was directly correlated to the number of Zwift Academy graduates – another cool virtual to IRL connection.
All eyes were now on the podium, as the competition came to a close. Watch to see who won!
Want a more in-depth look at the finals? We invited Global Cycling Network to the Team Dimension Data Zwift Academy Final. GCN did a fantastic job behind the scenes.
Thanks again to all who participated. See you next year.