Zwift, the global online fitness platform for cyclists, has today unveiled Jessica Pratt as the winner of the fourth CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy Program. Having secured a professional cycling contract for the 2020 season, Jessica will now join past Zwift Academy winners, Ella Harris and Tanja Erath at CANYON//SRAM Racing for the 2020 season.
“The vision for Zwift Academy was to revolutionise professional cycling by introducing an entirely new means of identifying talent.” Says Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “2020 will see three former winners take to the World Tour with CANYON//SRAM Racing, proving the program has been a resounding success. I wish Jessica the very best in her first year as a professional - she is certainly in the right place to receive the best support and guidance.”
“I’d say we got lucky with finding Ella and Tanja, but that really isn’t true.” Adds Ronny Lauke, CANYON//SRAM Racing Team Manager. “Finding incredible talent - which these riders have in spades - is exactly what the Zwift Academy does. I know we have another great talent this year in Jessica, and look forward to watching her contribute to the team in her first World Tour season.”
A striking theme has emerged from the Zwift Academy over the past four years. Year on year, the Southern Hemisphere has continued to deliver a wealth of talent in the Zwift Academy finals and semi finals. This year, all three finalists came from the Southern Hemisphere, and Australia’s Jessica Pratt will join New Zealand’s Ella Harris at CANYON//SRAM next season.
“For us in the Southern Hemisphere, the Zwift Academy arguably presents an even bigger opportunity than for those in Europe, North America and Asia.” Says 2019 Zwift Academy Winner Jessica. “For me personally, I was incredibly hungry for it. It can be a very difficult route to the professional peloton when compared to the opportunities available to riders living in cycling’s homeland - Europe. The cost of travel alone can make things very difficult when living in Australia. To have come through and win is life changing for me - I’m so, so happy!”
Zwift Academy however, is more than just a talent identification program. For many, it’s a fantastic community training program, and one that has always looked to help encourage cycling participation amongst women. Enrolment in the program continues to grow year on year. The 2019 Zwift Academy saw just shy of 9,000 women take part, an 80% increase over 2018. While only one may emerge with a professional contract, the remaining women who take part are able to benefit from increased in fitness resulting from the 8 workouts and four group rides or races it takes to graduate.
Follow Jessica’s progress in her first professional cycling season at www.zwift.com/academy
Chris Snook : +44(0)7883 087 739 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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Zwift is a company of dedicated fitness enthusiasts that also happen to be experienced software and video game developers. Combining that passion and deep understanding of the fitness world, Zwift is the first company to use massive multiplayer gaming technology to bring the outdoor experience indoors. Athletes from around the globe can train and compete with each other in rich, 3D-generated worlds simply by connecting their existing devices & hardware (e.g. cycle trainers, power meters, treadmills heart rate monitors, etc) wirelessly via open industry standard ANT+ and BLE. From friendly competition, to racing & structured training programs, Zwift is building a community of like-minded athletes united in the pursuit of a better social fitness experience.
About CANYON//SRAM Racing
Launched in 2016, CANYON//SRAM Racing is a professional women's cycling team racing at the UCI Women's WorldTour level. From the solid foundation of experienced riders to the go-getting attitude of the younger riders, this diverse group of women seem to feed off and inspire each other. With a team motto of ‘better together’ when they are aligned they are part of something special, and even more extraordinary, these women create something special to watch.They generate a momentum and atmosphere that is unique to CANYON//SRAM Racing. They promote women’s professional cycling, they inspire people to ride all around the globe, and they are committed to delivering incredible stories. http://www.wmncycling.com