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If you’ve always wanted to see if you’ve got what it takes to make it as a pro triathlete, here’s your chance. The Zwift Tri Academy has opened registration for its 2021 team—along with a road cycling and running program—and there’s an extraordinary deal up for grabs for six lucky (and talented) amateur athletes.
After registering, from Oct. 29 through Dec. 23, you’ll need to complete 10 workouts and two races (one cycling, one running) to be in with a chance to earn your place on the team. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, though: this is a powerhouse age-group team that will be expected to qualify for and then podium at the Ironman World Championship in 2021.
Competition for a place has been fierce in years past, but this year it’s next level: Zwift has already seen 75,000 registrants in the space of a month, which is the same as the total number of applicants last year. It’s no surprise the numbers are so high given the support that selected athletes receive, which includes:
- Specialized bikes, shoes, helmets, and money-can’t-buy performance experiences, such as time in their wind tunnel and with their bike fit experts;
- Full Wahoo training equipment package;
- ROKA swim gear, race kit, eyewear;
- Science in Sport nutrition products and expertise;
- Pro athlete mentorship from Tim Don and Sarah True;
- Whoop performance and recovery package;
- All race fees and race-related expenses.
Now in its fifth year, the academy has already helped a number of amateur athletes make the leap to the pro ranks with unrivalled support. If you want to be considered, you’ll need to register and complete the tri training program which runs from Oct. 29 through Dec. 23 and involves 10 workouts (five bike, five run) and two races (one cycling, one running). Given some of the concerns around virtual racing and training, there are requirements for recording power and cadence for data validation. Registration closes Nov. 29.
Zwift said: “The workout program has been designed to improve on the skills required to be a successful triathlete and will allow the coaches to uncover the physical attributes of those seeking a place on the Zwift Academy Tri Team in 2021.”
The eight-week training program is designed by Dr. Dan Plews, a well-known coach who also happens to be the Ironman world championship age-group record holder. The program consists of 10 workouts, five bike and five run, that may either be completed solo, by selecting the workout from Zwift’s workout library, or as part of a Zwift Academy Tri Group Workout.
In addition to the structured training sessions, those wishing to graduate from the program and make themselves available for selection must also complete a Zwift Academy Tri run race and a Zwift Academy Tri time trial race. There’s a choice between a 5K or a 10K run and a 20K or 40K time trial bike race with either distance counting towards “graduation.”
After the training program ends, a shortlist of finalists will be selected (in 2019 it was ~50 athletes). From there, a panel of judges will take a comprehensive look at performance during the Zwift Academy, user-submitted videos, and past race results, and will then select the final six Zwift Academy Tri team members.
If you don’t have any aspiration for pro-level racing in 2021, fear not, as Zwift said the program is designed not just for those vying for a place on the academy, but for anyone looking to enjoy the fitness gains and community aspects of an online virtual program. “It’s whatever you make of it—that’s the beauty of the program,” the Zwift spokesperson added.
Some of the athletes who were part of the academy in 2019 have already turned pro, including the U.K.’s Ruth Astle, who last year had a stellar season, being crowned overall age-group champion in Kona and overall age-group champion at Challenge Roth.
Zwift typically looks to attract athletes from all over the world, with last year’s cohort hailing from the U.S., Canada, the U.K, Australia, South Africa, and Germany, and the company said it will be taking a similar approach again when creating the 2021 team.
Finalists will be selected and announced in the new year before the final team is unveiled in early 2021. Specific dates are still being determined. Find more details at zwift.com/zatri.