Zwift Academy is back. Registration opened on August 18th for Zwift’s online training program and the community-oriented Academy which commences on August 30th.

The cycling training program is best known for its talent ID program, which has helped 9 riders go pro. But, despite offering 2 pro contracts with Alpecin Fenix and
CANYON//SRAM, the program provides workouts for all levels of riders. The Zwift Academy remains open until October 24th.

Zwift Academy riders in SRAM gear

“Zwift Academy is known for its successful talent ID program, but it’s so much more for
thousands of riders each year,” says Stephen Gallagher, Co-Founder of Dig Deep Coaching
and designer of the Zwift Academy workout plan. “We’ve designed the program to offer even more for those looking to take on the challenge of completing a training plan. The program covers many of the basic principles of training and should be a fun and rewarding experience for all abilities.”

The fitness company born from gaming, Zwift’s workouts take place in virtual worlds inspired by multi-player video games. Design your avatar and ride through Paris, New York, or their imagined Watopia.

Zwift connects with your smart bike trainer to mimic the ups and downs that the course presents. Zwift has smart bikes and trainers available for purchase, or you can check the compatibility of your current equipment. A subscription to the app is available for $14.99/month.

A smart trainer or power meter allows the Zwift program to monitor metrics like speed, heart rate and power coming from the rider. Modern cycling training and performance monitoring are very data-driven. Benchmarks like functional power thresholds and sustainable watts per kilogram of body weight can help the Academy choose finalists for the pro contract offer.

How to graduate from Zwift Academy

To complete Zwift Academy, riders must complete six workouts, two recovery rides, and two new benchmarking rides: the Baseline Ride and the Finish Line Ride. The Baseline and Finish Line rides provide a benchmark for comparison between the beginning and end of the program. They take place on either a beginner or advanced routes in Watopia.

Zwift Academy virtual world ride

The two pro cycling contracts available require additional steps on top of completing the whole Zwift Academy program. Pro contenders must wear a heart rate monitor and use a smart trainer or power meter while completing all events. Also, they must complete the “advanced” baseline and finish line events, along with two additional ‘Pro Contender’ events — the Pro Contender TT Race and the Pro Contender Workout.

Zwift will offer one male contract from Alpecin Fenix and one female contract from CANYON//SRAM at the end of the program.

“This is the sixth year with the Zwift Academy and we have had fantastic talent come through the program”, says Ronny Lauke, Team Manager CANYON//SRAM Racing. “Each year the competition seems to get closer and closer. This makes the decisions tough but shows the strength in the program. I look forward to meeting the ‘Class of 21’ later this year.”

So try your best, and maybe you too will get a pro contract through the virtual Zwift Academy.

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