Zwift Academy offers top under-23 rider chance to turn pro with Dimension Data's Continental team - Road Cycling UK

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Zwift Academy offers top under-23 rider chance to turn pro with Dimension Data’s Continental team

Zwift Academy expands into men's cycling, with opportunity to earn pro contract with Team Dimension Data's Continental squad

Following the successful launch of the Zwift Academy, working alongside the Canyon-SRAM women’s team, the online training platform has expanded into men’s cycling, with the top-under 22 rider to be rewarded with a professional contract.

Working alongside Team Dimension Data, enrolment for the Zwift Academy is now open at http://academy.zwift.com/zam2017, with the chance to battle it for pro contract with Dimension Data’s Continental team for 2018.

Furthermore, all graduates of the Dimension Data/Zwift Academy will unlock charitable donations to Qhubeka, funded by Zwift.

The Zwift Academy is now open to male applicants, with a place on the Dimension Data Continental squad up for grabs (Pic: Zwift)

The Academy is split into phases, with the first phase consisting of a six-week structured training program designed by elite coaches and a roster of group rides and races.

Zwift anticipate they will have a pool of more than 5,000 successful graduates, from which the ten top under-23 riders will be selected to complete an additional two weeks of riding and training.

Three top finalists will then continue to Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s November training camp in Cape Town, where one will earn the opportunity to race with the Continental squad in 2018.

Speaking of the partnership, Dimension Data’s team principal Doug Ryder said: “Zwift has proven itself to not only be a rigorous data and training platform, but also a place where cyclists around the world can come together, engage, and become better riders.

“We want to take part in this unique experience to not only identify and discover talent, but also to educate others about our charity partner Qhubeka, an organization that works to bring rural communities across Africa closer to nutritious food, clean water, schools, employment, and health care by providing them with utility bicycles.”

For every ten successful male graduates of Zwift Academy’s first phase, Zwift will donate a Qhubeka Bike to a community in need. Zwift has already committed to funding 500 Qhubeka Bikes with hopes to provide many more.

The link-up will also see Zwift donate bikes to Qhubeka (Pic: Zwift)

Several of Dimension Data’s pro riders from the WorldTour squad use Zwift, including Mark Cavendish as he makes his recovery from the crash which ended his Tour de France.

British champion Steve Cummings is also a fan and said of the new link-up: “The team are super supportive about joining forces with Zwift. Many of our staff and riders are keen Zwifters, so it’s a great fit.

“Zwift isn’t only a credible training platform, but a cool way to engage with our fans and support the Qhubeka mission”

The expansion of the Zwift Academy follows the success of the link-up with Canyon-SRAM, which has already seen one rider, Leah Thorvilson, graduate to a Women’s WorldTour contract.

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