The 2017 men’s Zwift Academy has come to a close, and Team Dimension Data has a new team member for their U23 squad. Following the successful talent search for the Canyon // SRAM women’s race team with Leah Thorvilson taking the win in 2016, the Zwift Academy was back for 2017 to give junior men a shot.

This time, 9,200 cyclists signed up for the Zwift Academy which took place over six weeks – all within the virtual confines of Zwift. Ten U23 finalists were selected for a two week long semi-finals, with both indoor and outdoor competitions. From there, three finalists were chosen to attend the Team dimension Data end of season team camp in Cape Town, South Africa. While there, Ollie Jones (New Zealand), Sam Mobberley (New Zealand), and Nick White (Australia) all competed head to head to win the single spot on the roster for 2018.

When the actual dust settled, it was Ollie Jones who went home with a new riding kit stating, ““To say this is a dream come true is the understatement of the year. It’s a life changing experience and I still can’t believe it’s happening. Nick and Sam were incredible competitors in the Academy Final and, after this camp, good friends. Now I’m onto the next challenge of making the move to a new home in Lucca, Italy and doing everything I can to support my teammates in the season ahead.”

Who says video games are a wast of time?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

7 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot
4 years ago

How does this work if a guy is say a Cat 5 racer but incredibly strong does he automatically get to go race in Pro races? I’m sure this rider is likely a 1/2 but I’ve alwas wondered how that works since there are always a few really strong tri racers who ride 99% of the time on their trainer but have never mixed it up in a race pack.

Liam
Liam
4 years ago

Last year’s winner in the women had little cycling experience, so the jump was tough for her. They’ve managed it well this year, any of the top guys would be good enough to jump into continental racing, and I suspect they planned it that way by choosing guys with results on the road. Ollie has raced some of the U23 classics in belgium and Holland, so should be able to fit in well

Tom
Tom
4 years ago

I suppose the point is that you can teach people how to work in a peloton, be strategic etc, but you can’t teach them how to have a high VO2 max. This squad allows them the opportunity to do an internship to see if they can manage a professional career.

John
John
4 years ago

That simply does not happen. The cat 5 rider who is incredibly strong… stop your math. These are volumes that are impossible to reach without full commitment. Your example of tri rider, just not road ready and would suffer in power data just hanging in the wind. Your cat 5 rider, that’s just pure wishful thinking. I’ve seen these three kids ride as junior. They ride for real. This is not a Cinderella moment and no you will not be on a pro tour team…

Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Thank for the personal snipe. I was asking a hypothetical question of how the UCI would handle a situation in which rider in one of these contests was placed in a pro race without any real race (which could represent a significant danger to the peloton and the rider) experience a plausible example could be a pro-triathlete with very little road race experience (we’ve had this happen numerous times at our state time trial championship where the Cat 4 or 5 winner is as fast, faster, or very close to the P/1 winner).

Marc Smith
Marc Smith
4 years ago

it happens everywhere, your sampling has nothing to do with the reality or european racing. Ever wonder why a Pro Noram racer barely survives a classic euro race. Just sheer survival at the front. I took a junior TT swift expert to races as a junior, did not survive a single race and was easily exploded once he did not have his power meter data.

Renne
Renne
4 years ago

The entire system of categories that is used in the US does not exist in most other countries.
In Belgium (where I live) for example you just have the UCI categories.
So you go from junior (U19) to espoir (U23). If you’re strong enough you can get a spot on a big team (either a really good club team or a continental team) and ride all the big races and maybe, if things go really well, get a pro contract (with either a Pro Conti or WorldTour team).
If you don’t get a pro contract and turn 24 you just become an Elite rider (or Amateur/Master if you chose not to race a full season of UCI races).
That’s it. Same thing in the Netherlands, France, Germany,…and in the case of the Zwift Academy guys I do believe it’s the same thing in Australia and New Zealand.