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More than 150,000 riders participated in the Zwift Academy Road talent identification program. Two riders ended up with pro contracts.
After a process that began with workouts and races on Zwift and concluded with a weeklong final competition in Mallorca, Maud Oudeman and Alex Bogna won one-year contracts with the WorldTour Canyon-SRAM squad and the Pro Continental Alpecin-Fenix team, respectively, for 2022.
For the finals, riders competed on Zwift but also out on the roads of Mallorca.
Leah Thorvilson, an elite marathon runner, won the the initial Zwift Academy program in 2016. Her power was world-class, but she struggled with the dynamics of racing, particularly in tight bunches on cobbles. After that first season in 2017, Zwift has continued to tweak the selection process to also include real-world testing, group riding, and team dynamics.
Other past Zwift Academy winners include Ella Harris, Jay Vine and Neve Bradbury. Vine finished third on a Vuelta a España mountain stage this year after a high-speed crash.
At the Zwift Academy this year, Oudeman demonstrated the highest competence pedaling a bike on a trainer and on the roads, and with interpersonal interaction with Canyon-SRAM riders.
“I can’t believe it! The week was so amazing but also a tough test,” Oudeman said. “I was so thrilled to make the finals and I can’t believe my dream is coming true. I cannot wait to race for Canyon-SRAM Racing and I’m really excited to continue to learn, improve and help the team as much as I can next year.”
Australian Alex Bogna out-climbed his finalist competitors on the final Zwift race up the Epic KOM, and also impressed the Zwift Academy selection committee with his skills on the road.
“Zwift Academy is just such a fantastic opportunity,” he said. “When I found out I’d made it to the finals I was so happy. I wanted to have a great week of riding and really give myself a chance of winning the contract. Honestly, I’m in shock. This is the opportunity of a lifetime.”