Cast your mind back to June last year, when Steve Cummings secured a remarkable double at the National Championships, becoming the first rider in ten years to win both the road and time trial titles. What made Cummings’ double all the remarkable was his return to form after a ten-week break from racing due to injury.
Except Cummings had been racing – not with Team Dimension Data in the WorldTour peloton but on the turbo trainer in Zwift’s online world. “I used Zwift everyday,” Cummings, who had undergone surgery on his shoulder, tells RCUK. “It definitely helped because it was easier for my head to stay [motivated] on the trainer for long periods.”
Cummings certainly isn’t the first pro cyclist to win races off the back of virtual miles on Zwift, with Mat Hayman spending hour upon hour on the turbo in the build-up to winning the 2016 Paris-Roubaix, having fractured his arm just weeks before.
Zwift has captured the imagination of pro cyclists and amateurs alike, with the world’s best athletes rubbing virtual shoulders with everyday riders on the roads of Watopia. The question is, why have some pro cyclists embraced Zwift so quickly? And how do they use it? We got the lowdown from Cummings and the man who introduction him to Zwift in the first place, Dimension Data team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen.