Zwift has announced the return of Zwift Academy for its sixth year.
Enrolment for Zwift Academy Road is now open, with the programme getting underway on 30th August. Zwifters must complete a series of six workouts, two recovery rides, and new for this year, two benchmarking rides – the Baseline Ride and the Finish Line Ride. These two rides will provide Zwifters the chance to see how their fitness translates to the road. The Baseline ride should be completed at the start of Zwift Academy and will see Zwifters challenged to set PRs on dedicated segments designed to test sprint, anaerobic and aerobic efforts.
The Baseline and Finish Line rides will be held as events on new custom event only routes in Watopia. There will be two distances available. ‘Standard’ rides will be held on the new ‘Legends and Lava’ route, starting in Fuego Flats and will include the Titans Grove Reverse KOM: 0.9km/6.6%, the Sprint Forward: 0.4km, and finally the Volcano KOM: 3.8km/3.2%. ‘Advanced’ rides will be held on the new ‘Climber’s Gambit’ course, starting on Watopia Pier before tackling the Sprint Reverse: 0.2km, Titans Grove Reverse KOM: 0.9km/6.6% and finally the Epic KOM Reverse: 6.3km/6.3%.
For those new to Zwift Academy, there is also an optional Orientation Workout. This 25-minute low-intensity aerobic workout will take Zwifters through all the Zwift Academy basics.
“Zwift Academy is known for its successful talent ID programme but it’s so much more for thousands of riders each year”, said Stephen Gallagher, co-founder of Dig Deep Coaching and designer of the Zwift Academy workout plan. “We’ve designed the programme to offer even more for those looking to take on the challenge of completing a training plan.
“The programme covers many of the basic principles of training and should be a fun and rewarding experience for all abilities. The segment rides offer a new dynamic – everyone knows what it’s like to beat their personal best on a climb or sprint, so we’ve introduced this element to bring a bit of fun to the ‘testing’.”
There are still two professional cycling contracts up for grabs with Alpecin Fenix and CANYON//SRAM.
Pro Contenders must complete the full Zwift Academy programme making sure to complete a few mandatory checks. Contenders must graduate the programme ensuring they wear a heart rate monitor, are paired to the game with a smart trainer or power meter, connect their account with Today’s Plan and ensure they complete the ‘Advanced’ Baseline and Finish Line ride events. For all the details on how to compete for a pro contract, head to zwift.com/zaroad/road-pro-contender-requirements.
In addition, budding pro’s must also complete the two ‘Pro Contender’ events – the Pro Contender TT Race and the Pro Contender Workout. The TT Race takes place on Zwift’s Road to the Sky course. Riders will be on TT bikes and challenged to set their best time up the Alpe. The Pro Contender Workout is an advanced workout designed to push these riders to their limits.
“Our first year partnering with Zwift Academy has been a great success,” said Philip Roodhooft, general manager of Alpecin-Fenix. “Jay, [last year’s Zwift Academy Winner], got off to a fantastic start with us at the Tour of Turkey, finishing second on GC in his first race for the team. Jay has shown fantastic dedication through the season and has justified his first grand tour start with us at this year’s Vuelta. I’m excited to see what he will do there and am looking forward to finding out who we might discover through the Zwift Academy programme this year.”
Ronny Lauke, team manager CANYON//SRAM Racing, said: “This is the sixth year with the Zwift Academy and we have had fantastic talent come through the programme. Each year the competition seems to get closer and closer. This makes the decisions tough but shows the strength in the programme. I look forward to meeting the ‘Class of 21’ later this year.”
The Zwift Academy Road programme begins on 30th August and ends 24th October. For more information on all of the programmes, head to zwift.com/academy.
Read the August issue of BikeBiz below: