Zwift has announced the six finalists in the 2023 Zwift Academy Road program. Three women and three men will now progress to the Zwift Academy Road Finals in Denia, Spain, where they will compete for a contract on CANYON//SRAM Generation and Alpecin-Deceuninck Development Team.
More than 108,000 cyclists participated in this year’s Zwift Academy Road, with the aim of improving their baseline fitness. For the best participants, Zwift Academy presented a unique chance to qualify for the opportunity to join the CANYON//SRAM Generation or Alpecin-Deceuninck Development Team.
From the thousands, Zwift notes that… ‘six have shined, each showing promise with different cycling specialities, they will now be tested both on and off bike as they look to overcome the last challenge, the Zwift Academy Road finals.’
The three finalists competing for a spot with CANYON//SRAM Generation are:
- Katy Hill, Great Britain: Classed as a climber, Hill started her journey into cycling through her university triathlon club and began racing her bike competitively in 2022.
- Laura Simenc, Slovenia: An all-rounder, Laura has been the UCI Gran Fondo champion twice and is a former national champion in sprint triathlon.
- Maude (Maddie) Le Roux, South Africa: Another climber, for the last two years Le Roux has competed for the UCI World Cycling Centre Continental Team and has represented South Africa in the UCI Cycling Esports World Championships on Zwift.
The three finalists competing for a spot with the Alpecin-Deceuninck Development Team are:
- Mattia Gaffuri, Italy: A climber, Gaffuri finished second in the European Climber’s Championships in 2023 and has raced the U23 Giro d’Italia.
- Louis Kitzki, Germany: A time trialist and the 2023 Zwift Academy’s youngest competitor, he has competed across Europe and North Africa.
- Anton Schiffer, Germany: A climber, Schiffer most recently rode for a Continental Team in the Tour of Turkey and Tour of Portugal.
The finals will see all riders complete a mix of tasks designed to test their cycling abilities, their race craft and their communication skills. Some tests will pit the finalists head to head while others will encourage collaboration as they work with members of their prospective professional teams.
Team riders and staff of CANYON//SRAM and Alpecin-Deceuninck will be present at the camps in Spain. The Zwift Academy coaches at Dig Deep Coaching as well as the team coaches will be analyzing all performances of the finalists from their outdoor efforts, their efforts in Zwift races, bike handling challenges as well as analysing their culture fit within each team.
The finals will be broadcast by Eurosport, across four episodes on consecutive days with the first airing on February 20, 2024 at 19:30 CET. The winners will be announced in the last episode that will be broadcast on February 23, 2024.