Zwift Academy and Team Dimension Data are offering a professional contract for an under-23 rider on the Team Dimension Data men's Continental development team in 2018.
Following the success of the Canyon//SRAM and Zwift talent search programme in 2016, Leah Thorvilson earned a contract with the Women's World Tour team for the 2017 season. And for 2017, the Canyon//SRAM and Zwift Academy programme is already underway to offer another candidate a chance to ride in 2018, and has expanded to offer a men's contract too.
This latest opportunity, to ride with Team Dimension Data, kicks off with a six-week online training program on Zwift, which has been designed by elite coaches and features group rides and races. Following this, the top ten under-23 riders will be asked to complete an additional two weeks of riding and training.
Of the ten finalists, the top three riders aged between 19 and 21 will be invited to a Team Dimension Data training camp in Cape Town, South Africa. The successful candidate will be selected during the training camp from the trio of finalists and offered a year long contract to ride with the Continental level development team in 2018.
As well as offering the opportunity of a professional contract to one rider, for every 10 successful male candidates of the initial online programme, Zwift will donate a Qhubeka Bike, the Buffalo Bicycle, to a community in need.
Qhubeka is the South African programme of World Bicycle Relief, which uses specially designed, low maintenance bicycles to overcome poverty barriers in some of the world's poorest regions. The Buffalo Bicycle can improve access to healthcare, education and social mobility, as well as improving trade and time efficiencies.
Zwift has committed to funding at least 500 of the utility bikes and hope to provide many more.
Team Dimension Data's team principal Doug Ryder adds, "We want to take part in this unique experience to not only identify and discover talent, but also to educate others about our charity partner Qhubeka, an organisation that works to bring rural communities across Africa closer to nutritious food, clean water, schools, employment and health care by providing them with utility bicycles".
The online programme will run from 1 September, with semi-finals 23 October through to November 5. The finals will then be held in Cape Town from 13-20 November this year. You can register to take part here.
Whilst the top prize and semi-finals is only available to those aged between 18 and 21 (as of 1 September 2017), the Academy is open to all non-professional male cyclists over the age of 18.