Canyon and SRAM Racing announce Zwift academy winner

Kieran Howells
Canyon and SRAM Racing announce Zwift academy winner

11 months after announcing a talent search partnership with Zwift, a final winner has been declared.

Leah Thorvilson, a former US Olympic trials marathon runner from Arkansas, beat the steep competition from 1,200 other female competitors to win a pro contract and the opportunity to race for the Canyon/SRAM racing team.

“It’s been an incredible journey and a totally surreal experience,” said Thorvilson, after spending the better part of the summer participating in group rides and completing structured workout programs on Zwift, before training with the Canyon/SRAM team in Majorca.

“Prior to the Zwift Academy, I never would have guessed that this was possible. Jessie and Yvonne are tremendous athletes whom I now consider close friends. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to begin this next chapter with the Canyon/SRAM Racing team.”

Thorvilson will leave the team camp on Monday equipped with a team issue Canyon bike, team apparel and her luggage in preparation for full training after the holiday period.

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“Our team is about challenging conventions and we’re super proud of Leah,” said Canyon/SRAM Racing rider Tiffany Cromwell, who first announced the competition during a virtual group ride with Zwift users.

“It’d be an honour to have any of the Zwift Academy finalists in the team for 2017; they’ve literally put their lives on hold for this opportunity, but Leah distinguished herself in making the final cut. She is a welcome addition here.”

Zwift CEO & founder Eric Min added: “We knew that Zwift and its community were capable of producing a rider who could race at a World Tour level, but this was only made possible because of Canyon/SRAM Racing. This year was a pilot, and in this respect, our three finalists were true pioneers of their sport. No one can take this away from Leah, Jessie and Yvonne.” 

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