Two professional cycling contracts up for grabs as Alpecin-Fenix joins CANYON//SRAM for the 2020 Program
Zwift, the online training platform for athletes worldwide, has today announced the return of the Zwift Academy program for 2020 which, for the first time, will include separate programs for road, tri and run.
Zwift Academy Road has been refreshed for 2020 with an increased focus on training and a new list of objectives for those chasing the pro cycling dream. Since 2016, Zwift Academy has garnered a reputation for its innovative approach to talent ID, uncovering hidden talent and awarding seven professional cycling contracts since its first iteration. Zwift Academy winners have gone on to win professional races, podium in Elite National Championships and represent their countries at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships. Once again, two professional cycling contracts are up for grabs with CANYON//SRAM Racing and, new for 2020, Alpecin-Fenix.
“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.”
“It’s a really cool concept, and I look forward to seeing who will join us on the team for next season”, adds Mathieu van der Poel, Professional Cyclist 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.”
At the heart of the Zwift Academy Road program is an 8 workout plan designed by Dig Deep Coaching and led by former professional cyclists, Stephen Gallagher and Dan Fleeman. This world-class cycling program will help Zwifters unlock their inner speed, strength and forge a path towards bettering their own cycling performance.
In addition to the workouts, Zwift Academy Road will also offer a number of mass participation event opportunities. Zwift Academy Group Workouts will enable Zwifters to complete the 8 workouts in the company of fellow Zwift community members, perfect for those motivated by training with others. For those looking to put ‘work’ aside and enjoy a little social time, the Zwift Academy Group Rides also return. These rides are designed to offer an opportunity for ‘students’ of Zwift Academy Road to recover and share their own experiences in a relaxed setting. New for this year, Group Rides will be run at two different paces 1.7-2.2 w/kg or 2.2-2.7w/kg for men and 1.2-1.7 w/kg or 1.7-2.2w/kg for women.
For the competitively minded, Zwift Academy Races will offer the opportunity for Zwifters to test themselves against others. Races will be run on two different circuits. Richmond’s 2015 World’s Course will offer a largely flat circuit with some punchy climbs while La Rein on the new French map will offer an opportunity for the climbers to shine.
Segment Rides are a new event format for this year’s Zwift Academy that allows Zwifters to test themselves on two different segments per ride. These rides have been strategically picked to allow Zwifters to set new personal best times and power numbers as each different segment will test different energy systems. Innsbruck will feature two segments designed to test Sprint Power on Innsbruck Sprint Forward (0.30km, Elevation gain 2m) and Threshold Power on the Innsbruck KOM (7.43km, Elevation gain 696m). Held in Watopia, the second Segment Ride will test Anaerobic Power on the Hilly Kom Forward (0.90km, Elevation gain 50m) and VO2 Max on the Volcano KOM (3.75km, Elevation gain 120m).
For the majority, Zwift Academy is more than a talent ID program, it’s a community-based training program that unites the Zwift community in their quest to become fitter, faster and stronger. To graduate Zwift Academy Road, Zwifters must complete all 8 workouts and a combination of any 4 events. However, for those who wish to compete for either of the two professional cycling contracts must complete all 8 workouts as well as two Races (Richmond and France) and both Segment Rides (Innsbruck and Watopia).
All those enrolled in Zwift Academy Road will be offered complimentary premium access to Today’s Plan for the duration of the Academy. Those seeking professional contracts must sync their Zwift Activities to Today’s Plan for analysis.
“As much as it pains me to admit, my aspiration to become a professional cyclist has long gone”, says Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “However, my love of the sport and desire to stay in shape burns just as bright. I always enjoy the training challenge and the community spirit provided by the Zwift Academy and look forward to taking part in the revised program this year. A lot of thought has been put into the training plan, and I believe it will be one that will deliver real results.”
Online enrolment for all three 2020 Zwift Academy programs, including road, tri and run, open on September 8th. The eight week Zwift Academy Road program begins Oct. 1 and ends Nov. 25th. For more information, head to zwift.com/academy
Zwift is the fitness company born from gaming. We’re 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.
Sixteen women from ten different countries. A professional, diverse group of athletes, willing to invest in their futures, and that of the sport, by forging new paths, being unconventional, welcoming different opinions. They’re open minded but aggressive in pursuit of their goals. In 2020, this group of talented and inspiring women are UCI Women’s WorldTeam, CANYON//SRAM Racing. http://www.wmncycling.com
Alpecin-Fenix has a strong history in cycling. After the start-up in 2009, there has been continuous growth. In the early years, off-road was the main activity, with road racing on a secondary level. In recent years, there is a balance in road and off-road (CX and XCO). From this set-up, a unique multidisciplinary concept was born. Alpecin-Fenix is the only team racing and winning races on the highest level in 3 disciplines, with both female and male riders. https://www.alpecin-fenix.com
Dig Deep Coaching – a global coaching company that works with athletes of all levels across road, track, cyclo-cross, MTB and Esports. Whether you are taking part in your first ever Gran Fondo or aiming to compete in the professional peloton, Dig Deep Coaching offers personal coaching to help you build your training around your lifestyle and make sure every pedal stroke counts. https://www.digdeepcoaching.com