Zwift, the global online training platform, has announced Neve Bradbury and Jay Vine as the winners of the 2020 Zwift Academy Road program, following a live final held on Sunday. Bradbury will join CANYON//SRAM and Vine will join Alpecin-Fenix for the 2021 season.
Zwift Academy Road saw a record 120,000 riders take part in 2020, many benefiting from the structured workouts, races and group rides. Among those seeking to better themselves, a select number were in it to compete in Zwift’s proven talent-ID program, one that has started the careers of seven talented cyclists.
The structure of the finals in 2020 were altered slightly. As in previous years, all were subject to final ramp tests, demanding workouts and races on Zwift, but also in the outdoor world - an opportunity to demonstrate their skills as well-rounded riders. Unlike previous years, the Zwift Academy Road finals were held entirely remotely with each finalist in his or her home location. The contenders faced daily challenges including the unenviable challenge of trying to chase down Kasia Newiadoma and Mathieu van der Poel on Zwift and ‘speed dating’ with their prospective new teams. The finals culminated in a live final show hosted by Matt Stephens and streamed on Saturday, December 19. The finals can be re-watched on Zwift’s YouTube channel here. The competition was as fierce as ever, with seven of the finalists having tasted UCI competition already. In the end however, it was Australians, Neve Bradbury and Jay Vine who emerged victorious having impressed both Canyon//SRAM and Alpecin Fenix teams. Bradbury excelled at every task thrown at her over the week, dominating the time trial and proving a great fit and popular with her new teammates at Canyon//SRAM. Fellow Australian, Jay Vine also dominated the time trial and proved he was willing to put everything on the line to earn his place on Alpecin-Fenix next year.
"I was stoked to make it to the finals in the first place," said Bradbury from her home in Melbourne. “After the first day I wasn't sure how I was going to go, but as the week went on I started to feel more positive. It's so exciting. I'm stoked to have a coach, to use all of the equipment, and just to experience as much as I can. I know there's a lot to learn and improve on but I'll just try to help the team as much as I can".
“I’m ecstatic!” says Vine. “I didn’t think it was going to happen this year, this is just incredible. I just had to focus on giving as good as I could and make no mistakes. I can’t wait to get over there to Europe - when do I start?! It’s incredible. I don’t know what I can say… when can I start?”
CANYON//SRAM Racing Team Manager, Ronny Lauke: "The Zwift Academy has proven over the last years that it identifies raw talent that has the ability to become one of the best in the sport. The recent winners have shown with their impact on road cycling and results—Women's World Tour top ten performances, podiums at UCI races, national champion titles—how much credibility the program has. In 2020, the Zwift Academy finals were extremely challenging. We had five finalists and all had their own strengths. The level of competitiveness amongst them was very demanding. Neve stood out with her very consistent results and best performances throughout the week. We are looking forward to working with her in the team environment."
Stay tuned for further content over the coming months as Zwift follows the journey of these two new pro’s in their debut seasons with their new teams at https://www.zwift.com/uk/academy