Canyon SRAM to offer professional contract through X Factor-style Zwift competition

UCI Women's WorldTour team Canyon SRAM will run a talent identification competition through Zwift, with one rider to be offered a 2017 contract

If you sit on your turbo trainer dreaming of riding with the best female cyclists in the world then your dream could become a reality with Canyon SRAM’s new talent identification program.

In an X Factor-style competition, the newly formed team – rising from the ashes of Velocio-SRAM – will select one rider to join their 2017 through the virtual turbo trainer world of Zwift.

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Female amateur riders from around the world will be given the chance to try out for the contract in a winner-takes-all talent contest.

Canyon SRAM rider Tiffany Cromwell says the team are going against the flow of regular talent identification and hopes the program will uncover a star for the future.

“Unfortunately the development pathways for female riders don’t compare to the men’s side of the sport. But rather than swim against the tide we’re taking the bull by the horns and shaking things up with Zwift,” she said.

“Cycling’s stars possess extraordinary physical attributes and we’re confident one or two of those rough diamonds are out there to be unearthed on the Zwift platform!”

Canyon SRAM staff are working with Zwift to develop a training programme to uncover the potential and attributes of riders, likely to comprise of interactive group rides and structured programmes.

In a number of waves, the field will be reduced through 2016 until a final selection of three riders will compete virtually and on real roads for the chance to be offered the contract.

“The world is full of young cyclists with raw talent that we may not be noticing,” said Ronny Lauke, Canyon SRAM Racing team director.

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“This isn’t a marketing gimmick. Zwift is a global, reliable and data driven platform,” added Zwift CEO, Eric Min.

“We’re truly accessible and with tens of thousands of users we’re confident we can be a development platform for professional cycling. We’ve been working on a similar concept for some time so we were blown away when Ronny Lauke suggested it to us!”