Zwift Academy has launched for its fifth year and this time there are separate competitions for road cycling, triathlon and running.
If you’re targeting the cycling programme, the men’s winner will this year be offered a place on the Alpecin-Fenix team of cyclocross and road star Mathieu van der Poel, while the women’s winner, as in the four previous years, will have the chance to join Canyon//SRAM Racing.
“It’s a really cool concept, and I look forward to seeing who will join us on the team for next season,” says van der Poel. “There’s certainly no hiding on Zwift, it’s a tough platform that tests you to your limits, so I’ve no doubt that we will find someone with a really big engine to add to the team’s strength in 2021.”
The Zwift Academy Road programme offers a range of different activities to step up your training, compete and take part in social rides.
That starts with a programme of eight workouts, which Zwift says will let riders “unlock their inner speed, strength and forge a path towards bettering their own cycling performance”. You can complete the workouts alone or as part of a mass participation event with other riders.
Next are the Zwift group rides, designed as recovery workouts in a more relaxed format. Zwift has split these into a fast and slow group each for men and women this year, based on different watts-per-kilogram power outputs.
If you’re more interested in competition there are the Academy’s Zwift races, one over a flatter course and one for climbers.
Finally, Segment Rides let you ride flat-out over two different segments on two different courses. They’re designed to test sprint power, threshold power, anaerobic power and VO2 max.
Not just a competition
Zwift points out that Zwift Academy isn’t just a competition for the pro contracts on offer. For the majority who have enrolled, it’s a chance to up their fitness levels and speed in a structured, community-based training programme.
So you’ll “graduate” the Academy if you complete the eight workouts and any four events. If you’re after the big prize though, you need to complete the workouts, two road races and the segment rides.
As a bonus, once you enrol you’ll get free premium access to Today’s Plan for the duration of the programme to track your progress. The stats on Today’s Plan will be used to analyse the results for would-be pros.
You can sign up for the three Zwift Academy programmes starting 8 September, with the eight-week programme’s Grand Depart on 1 October and the finish on 25 November. More details at zwift.com/academy.
“Zwift Academy is a proven program that our team truly believes in,” says Canyon//SRAM team manager Ronny Lauke.
Three past winners of Zwift Academy are still with the team, with race wins, podiums and top tens to their names in 2020.