Leah Thorvilson, Photo c. Zwift/Canyon//SRAM Racing

Did your parents ever tell you nothing good will ever come from playing video games? Same. But who could blame them for not seeing the future of virtual competition which includes programs like Zwift? Earlier this year Zwift announced that Canyon//SRAM Racing would be selecting their next team member… through Zwift. Now, 11 months later, Canyon//SRAM Racing’s newest team member has been announced as Leah Thorvilson. Zwift may have been the means in which she was noticed, but Leah is no stranger to real life competition as a former U.S. Olympic Trials marathon runner.

After the initial competition ran its course through Zwift’s online world with 1,200 different women, three finalists met up in person for the final selection in the Zwift Academy.

“It’s been an incredible journey and a totally surreal experience,” said Leah, after spending the better part of the 2016 summer participating in group rides and completing structured workout programs on Zwift, before training with the CANYON//SRAM team in Majorca. “Prior to Zwift Academy, I never would have guessed this was possible. [Finalists] 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.”  – from Zwift

Thanks to the Zwift Academy, Leah will be racing for the Canyon//SRAM Race team for the 2017 season. Didn’t make the cut? Didn’t know about the competition? Don’t worry, the Zwift Academy will be returning for 2017 so Canyon//SRAM Racing can start scouting for talent in 2018!

While it won’t get you a pro contract, Bkool is also offering real prizes for virtual racing with the introduction of their Winter Cup…

bkool-winter-cup-league-challenge

Hoping to build on the success of their Summer Cup virtual racing series, Bkool has announced a similar format for their Winter Cup. Using their own virtual training platform, ‘Bkoolers’ can register for the Bkool Winter Cup league, and then will have to complete stages in the simulator to qualify for prizes. In this case, the prizes will be awarded randomly to those who complete the stages, rather than those with the fastest times.

Running from now until March 30th, each week will have a different stage and a different prize sponsor (Taymory, Cofidis, Monkey Lights, Orro, Skechers, Northweek, Planifica Tus Pedaladas, Orbea, Racormance, Spiuk, WIN2, Northwave, Mammoth, Evesportwear, TowCar and Knight Composites). Head over to the Winter Cup League page for more.

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jami
jami
5 years ago

The whole competition was pretty inspiring. Nobody with prior connections could toss their hat in the ring to try and achieve a dream of theirs. I wish there was more of this in the industry.

Longbeard
5 years ago

I’m glad it worked out for her and it’s awesome. On a more humorous note it would be hilarious if they had a competition like this some time down the road and someone weight doped. That seems to be a point of contention every time I’m on there. Dude gets to the finals and shows up and is 250 lbs haha.

Reformed Roadie
Reformed Roadie
5 years ago

Maybe I didn’t do any due diligence and missed something, but selecting pros based on a video game, or strictly lab numbers…I guess bike handling, tactics, etc. don’t count any more.

Robin
Robin
5 years ago

Easy, Tex. I’m sure the team will have an eye on those skills.

Michael Wagner
Michael Wagner
5 years ago

This was all a publicity stunt. Aside from the Zwift rides, the candidates also had to present their outdoor ride data as well. So no one was a Zwift-only rider that just suddenly was given a pro contract. Though that would be hilarious in how badly that would go.