A police officer, architect and a student: Meet the 2020 Zwift Academy finalists

Here are the men and women vying for a professional contract

The Zwift Academy offers budding riders the chance to use their virtual racing skills to secure themselves a real-life professional contract, Alpecin-Fenix taking on the male winner and Canyon SRAM for the women.

2020 brings in a new format, where riders will take on daily Zwift challenges, with video teams accompanying each rider on their home roads to help viewers get to know them better.

The event ends with a live broadcast of the finals, which will be streamed online on Saturday December 19.

Here are the riders who will be vying for those pro contracts.

Damien Clayton, Barnsley, UK

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The Ribble Weldtite rider paused his career as an architect to go all-in on cycling, the increased training paying off when the 28-year-old won the Grand Prix des Marbriers in 2019.

Jochem Kerckhaert, Schoondijke, Netherlands

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Coming from a family of racers, 20-year-old Kerckhaert is a civil engineering university student and prefers sprints and punchy climbs, particularly the Hilly KOM of Watopia.

Olly Moors, Scaynes Hill, England

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Another Ribble Weldtite rider, 24-year-old Moors trains in Flanders and enjoys punchy climbs and chasing down breakaways. With racing days at a premium in 2020, he completed a 401km ride across Belgium with his flatmates.

Jay Vine, Canberra, Australia

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Level 41 on Zwift, Vine swore to not shave his legs until he won a national race, which he did in August 2019 at the Tour of Tropics.

Lionel Vujasin, Sprimont, Belgium

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A level 46 Zwifter, he took a big Zwift win in January with an impressive sprint, he'll hope his experience on Zwift will help him challenge for the victory.

Neve Bradbury, Melbourne, Australia

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A self-trained mountain goat, 18-year-old Bradbury Zwifts with her dogs alongside her for company, vying for wins on steep sprint finishes.

Nicole Coates, Wiltshire, UK

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A climber who's won U23 titles and likes to take a Strava QOM or two, she has a big engine that helps her drop rivals on tough, long climbs.

Eva Marie Hering, Munich, Germany

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Another self-coached rider who watches German baking shows while on Zwift. Hering was also previously a runner who won triathlon events.

Kate McCarthy, Hamilton, New Zealand

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A full-time police officer, her strengths lie in her tactical nous as well as short bursts of power as well as riding at threshold for extended periods of time.

Natalia Franco Villegas, Medellin, Colombia

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A level 27 Zwifter who's taken medals at both crits and longer races. She currently rides for development outfit. Team Twenty20.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.