By Nigel Wynn
Tanja Erath has secured a place on the top-level Canyon-SRAM women's team for 2018 after an impressive performance on online training system Zwift.
The German former triathlete and nurse only started focussing on her cycling a year ago after an injury ruled her out of running.
Erath was selected by judges from a field of 2,100 women on Zwift to ride for the German-registered Canyon-SRAM team. Members of Canyon-SRAM, Zwift and TrainSharp coaching selected a short-list of 12 riders before deciding on the winner.
“I started this confident in my skills as a cyclist and a racer, but had no idea it would end with me here in Koblenz with a World Tour schedule ahead of me,” said Erath.
“It’s been such a journey and I’m humbled by the talent I’ve been up against, especially with [Zwift Academy finalists] Siri [Hildonen] and Bri [Torkelson]. I’m so overwhelmed!”
Erath will join the previous year's Zwift Academy winner, Leah Thorvilson at the Canyon-SRAM team, as Thorvilson has been handed a one-year contract extension for 2018 with the team
Canyon-SRAM racing manager Ronny Lauke praised the performance of Thorvilson over the past season, and is looking forward to welcoming Erath.
“We took a chance with the Zwift Academy last year and we’re very happy with what it brought to our team,” said Lauke,
“Leah is a great addition and, seeing Tanja’s dedication, drive, and strength only reminds us we’ve got a great programme here to bring talent into the women’s peloton.”
Erath will make her Canyon-SRAM racing debut in the spring, and like her team-mates will benefit from the full coaching and training support from the squad.
Zwift will link up again with Canyon-SRAM towards the end of 2018 to run the initiative again and select a further rider.
In November, Zwift announced that 21-year-old New Zealand rider Ollie Jones had become the first male rider to earn a place on a professional cycling team via the Zwift Academy.
Jones beat more than 9,000 riders to gain a place on Dimension Data‘s development team.
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