• The 2017 Zwift Academy Final (Zwift/Canyon SRAM)Source: Zwift/Canyon SRAM
Tanja Erath (Germany) conquered a field of 2,100 competitors from around the world and fellow finalists, Siri Hildonen (Norway) and Bri Torkelson (US) to take the coveted Zwift Academy place on Canyon SRAM's 2018 team.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Canyon SRAM
15 Dec 2017 - 11:17 AM  UPDATED 16 Dec 2017 - 10:01 AM

Erath won the Canyon SRAM pro contract after a gruelling four months of testing, training, and competing both virtually and in real life.  

“I started this confident in my skills as a cyclist and a racer," Erath said "But had no idea it’d end with me here in Koblenz with a World Tour schedule ahead of me."

“It’s been such a journey and I’m humbled by the talent I’ve been up against, especially with Siri [Hildonen] and Bri [Torkelson]. I’m so overwhelmed!”

The former crit racer and triathlete from Dortmund, Germany is the second woman to win a spot via Zwift's global search for WorldTour talent after Leah Thorvilson's groundbreaking 2016 win. 

Thorvilson proved she more than just survived her tough debut season by recently re-signing with Canyon SRAM for 2018. 

"Tanja's clearly got tons of talent and a great head on her shoulders for competition and racing," Thorvilson said of her new teammate. 

"She will have a lot of learning ahead of her, just like I did and continue to do."

"But she's shown enough resilience balancing her medical studies and training that I know she will take this in her stride. I’ve got great memories of what my 2016 announcement was like and I’m just thrilled to see her moving into this world in this way.”

Canyon SRAM team manager Ronny Lauke said the Zwift Academy is a risk that has proven its worth.

“We took a chance with the Zwift Academy last year and we’re very happy with what it brought to our team," he said. "Leah is a great addition and, seeing Tanja’s dedication, drive, and strength only reminds us we’ve got a great program here to bring talent into the women’s peloton.”

Erath’s 2018 race debut is expected in spring following a winter of hard training and preparation. 

On making the winner announcement, Zwift CEO & co-founder, Eric Min said. “Zwift’s community is bigger than ever before and brimming with fit, talented cyclists.  Huge congratulations to Tanja as well as [Zwift Academy finalists] Siri and Bri, and big thanks to CANYON//SRAM for recognizing the value of Zwift Academy once again.”

Zwift and Canyon SRAM have confirmed the Zwift Academy will return in 2018.

"While it’s the rare few that can compete at Canyon SRAM's level," Min said. "We know there’s more talent out there in Zwift, ready to be discovered."

Kiwi Jones selected as Zwift Academy winner
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.
Zwift sensation Thorvilson re-signs with Canyon-SRAM
Leah Thorvilson, who joined Canyon-SRAM this year after being identified through her performances on Zwift, has re-signed with the team for 2018.

Zwift is the official sponsor of the SBS Cycling Central podcast. All episodes are available to listen or download on Soundcloud.