• Ollie Jones at the 2017 Tour of Southland. (Getty)
After weeks of unique competition and evaluation, the virtual training platform Zwift announced New Zealander Ollie Jones as the rider to join WorldTour team Dimension Data's under 23 Continental squad for the 2018 season.
By
Cycling Central

22 Nov 2017 - 8:24 AM  UPDATED 22 Nov 2017 - 10:35 AM

Jones signed-up for the Men’s Zwift Academy alongside 9,200 other cyclists from around the world, which consisted of a six-week program of workouts, group rides and races exclusively in the online cycling environment of Zwift.

From there Jones was among the top ten under 23 candidates selected for the two-week long semi-finals and another round of workouts, this time both on Zwift and outdoors. Jones then progressed to the Zwift Academy final along with Sam Mobberley (New Zealand) and Nick White (Australia), held at the Team Dimension Data end of season team camp in Cape Town, South Africa.

After a week riding with the team and further challenges out on the roads, Jones was awarded a place on Team Dimension Data’s under 23 squad for 2018.

“To say this is a dream come true is the understatement of the year,” Jones said. “It’s a life-changing experience and I still can’t believe it’s happening.

"Nick and Sam were incredible competitors in the Academy Final and, after this camp, good friends. Now I’m onto the next challenge of making the move to a new home in Lucca, Italy and doing everything I can to support my team-mates in the season ahead”

Jones, who came from a speed skating background and only converted to cycling in May 2016 due to skating injuries, joins American Leah Thorvilson, a former elite runner and 2016 Women’s Zwift Academy winner who now rides for Women's WorldTour team Canyon SRAM, as a graduate.

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