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Riding for a pro contract: Zwift Academy 2019 semi-finalists


Zwift, the global online fitness platform for cyclists, has seen its first round of 2019 graduates emerge from the Zwift Academy to move closer to a professional cycling contract with top ranked women’s and men’s teams.

The 20 semi-finalists – 10 women and 10 under-23 men from around the world – completed a structured program of group rides, races and workouts over an eight week period, exclusively on Zwift.

In total, all Zwift Academy entrants covered a staggering 2,792,658 km during the program – that’s some 86,308 hours of ride time. The 20 semi-finalists riders will now battle it out for a place at the Zwift Academy finals in December.

Starting on October 15th these 20 athletes will continue to the next round of cycling tests to determine who will advance to the team camps stage. The semi-finalists will have to complete a mix of indoor workouts, which will be undertaken on the Tacx Neo II Smart, and outdoor workouts – seen as an important next step in the validation process.

All Zwifters will be able to follow the journey of the semi-finalists and complete the semi-final workouts themselves. The Zwift workout sessions will be made available in-game from October 15th.

CANYON//SRAM Racing Zwift Academy
This year has seen almost 9,000 women take part in the CANYON//SRAM Racing Zwift Academy, an increase of 80% on the number of participants from 2018. For many, the Academy provides an opportunity to take part in a social global online training camp – completing the 8 workouts and four Group Rides or Races. However, for a select few, the Academy is a unique opportunity to achieve a professional contract at the sport’s highest level.



Last year’s winner, Ella Harris has just finished a successful season with CANYON//SRAM World Tour team, joining Tanja Erath the 2017 Academy winner. Harris’ first season saw her play an important role in races such as the Colorado Classic, coming 4th in the General Classification, as well as 8th in the General Classification of Vuelta a Burgos Feminas where she also took the Youth Classification. Harris also represented her country, New Zealand, at the Yorkshire 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

“If I think back to last year, signing up for the Zwift Academy – never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d actually win the thing,” Harris said. “The highlight for me has been getting more confident within the team and within races, and being able to experience and do so many races that wouldn’t have been possible this time last year. It will be exciting to see the talent coming out of this year’s academy, I wish them all good luck!”

The 10 CANYON//SRAM Racing | Zwift Academy Semi-Finalists are:

Olivia Baril, Canada
Catherine Colyn, South Africa
Imogen Cotter, Ireland
Nathalie Eklund, Sweden
Veronica Ewers, United States of America
Emily Gass, United States of America
Ione Johnson, New Zealand
Mary Kate McCarthy, New Zealand
Jessica Pratt, Australia
Samara Sheppard, New Zealand

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka Zwift Academy
The 10 semi-finalists from the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka Zwift Academy emerged from a significant crop of 60,000 cyclists from across the globe. These riders will now compete to win one of three places at the Team Dimension Data training camp in Spain, and ultimately a professional contract with their U23 development squad.



“The Zwift Academy is a great experience and an opportunity to test yourself,” said Martin Lavrič, winner of the 2018 Zwift Academy. “Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka U23 runs a really great program of races for a Continental Team allowing you to compete with the best young riders across Europe.

“Not only is this a great team to be a part of, but it’s also a great team to represent. Qhubeka strives to improve transportation in South Africa by supplying bikes to communities. This year Zwifters taking part in Zwift Academy have helped raise 749 bikes for the charity so far.”

The 10 Team Dimension Data | Zwift Academy Semi-Finalists are:

Drew Christensen, New Zealand
Drake Deuel, United States of America
Kees Duyvesteyn, New Zealand
Brad Gouveris, South Africa
Filip Kvasina, Croatia
Mathijs Loman, The Netherlands
Campbell Pithie, New Zealand
Rhy Robotham, Australia
Ryan Rudderham, Canada
Luuk van Gestel, The Netherlands

Following the end of the semi-finals, 20 overall will become six. These six finalists (three from each program) will travel to the Zwift Academy Finals in Spain for a weeklong camp to ride and complete structured drills to win a professional contract.




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