Road Cycling

Zwift Academy Will Let You Try Out To Become A Professional Cyclist – Forbes

Virtual cycling platform Zwift launches the Zwift Academy this month, letting ordinary folk compete for a professional cycling contract.

This is the fifth year of the Zwift Academy program, and it is once again open to all subscribers.

It is the first to offer separate training plans for road cycling, triathlon and running. The initial Academy Road cycling events remain the focus, though.

For most, Zwift Academy is a challenging way to test your fitness in a series of structured workouts. But there are also two pro cycling contracts up for grabs, one with Canyon-SRAM Racing and another with Belgium’s Alpecin-Fenix.

The Zwift Academy Road series is compromised of eight workouts devised by Dig Deep Coaching, two race event courses in the Richmond and France “worlds”, and two Segment Rides, each designed to test two aspects of your form.

The first Segment Ride is a sprint followed by a climb, intended to work out your threshold power. Zwift’s second “segment” workout looks at anaerobic power and VO2 Max.

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In order to complete the Zwift Academy, which is a little like unlocking an achievement in a game, you need to complete eight core workouts and any four additional events in the series.

Those who want to compete for one of the two professional contracts need to complete the eight core workouts, the two segment rides and the two races set in Richmond and France. The whole lot, in other words.

As in other Zwift activity series, the actual events are likely to be repeated a bunch of times over the duration of the Academy. It runs from October 1 to November 25. You can sign up for Zwift Academy from September 8.

In the 2019 Zwift Academy, Jessica Pratt won a contract with the Canyon-SRAM race team. Drew Christensen won the men’s event, earning a spot racing for South Africa’s NTT team. More than 68,000 people took part in last year’s Zwift Academy.

Zwift’s 2020 Academy Road series is followed by the runner’s Academy Run series, starting on October 15, and the mixed running-and-cycling Academy Tri, on October 29.

A Zwift subscription costs $14.99 a month, and you’ll need either a smart bike or turbo trainer to hook up to the platform to get started.