Almost 60.000 men signed up for the Zwift Academy 2019 this year. Only 24 of them graduated in mid-October for the semi-finals and a few weeks ago, the three finalists were announced. Let’s meet the youngsters who are going to challenge each other for that coveted contract with NTT Pro Cycling U23: the NTT Continental Cycling Team.
18, New Zealand
Drew is an experienced cyclist and was hooked on riding his bike since he was a kid. He loves to ride long distances and when he has to choose between a sprint finish or a mountain top finish, he’s replies resolutely “Mountain top for me!” Drew’s 5-minute power of 6.55 w/kg is impressive and shows he’s able to take on punchy climbs.
The Kiwi is looking forward to the Zwift Academy Finals because of “the opportunity to meet the people who put Zwift Academy together and the chance to ride with actual professionals in our sport!” If he’s not sitting on the saddle of his bike, he walks or runs with his dog.
Mathijs is one of the less-experienced of the bunch, but proved that he is good enough to reach the finals. He studies mechanical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. When he’s not behind his study books, you can find him racing somewhere in Watopia. What he’s most looking forward to during the Zwift Academy Finals? “Everything! From meeting the guys of NTT, staff and riders, to riding in the nice weather and area of Spain. I’ve seen the videos of the previous finals and it looks like an amazing experience.”
Just like Drew, he loves to climb. But because there are hardly any hills in the Netherlands, he uses Zwift to compensate that. Road to the Sky (Alpe du Zwift) is his favourite climb: “To be able to ride a big climb like the Alpe d’huez is a lot of fun.”
20, New Zealand
Campbell won his spurs in cyclocross and on the road and claimed several titles. Now he’s up for the next round and dreams of riding in the WorldTour one day. He is known for his aggressive style, ready to attack, and smash it in the breakaway. That might be the reason why Julian Allaphilippe inspires him. “He is a relaxed guy who goes out and just enjoys racing. I love his style of racing being aggressive and not afraid to punch out of the pack.”
He wants to work on his race tactics and finish with a win, so there’s enough to learn for him at the finals. Though Campbell is excited to visit Spain for the first time in his life, he went to the finals with a mission: “looking forward to meet the other finalists and competing for the contract.”
Check out the recap of last year’s final