From Vine to Vink, WorldTour claims another digital watt monster

Step aside, Jay Vine

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As WorldTour squads continue to tinker and add new members ahead of the the new season, there is one signing who is not like the others.

While UAE Team Emirates have bolstered once again with the likes of Adam Yates and Tim Wellens arriving in the ongoing super-team arms race, the name Michael Vink isn’t as recognisable.

The 30-year-old New Zealander has joined on a one-year deal after being spotted by the team on the MyWhoosh virtual cycling platform.

Vink has raced at Continental for a number of years, most recently for the Bolton Equities Black Spoke outfit, but was noticed by UAE Team Emirates and subsequently invited to do some tests with them before making the jump to WorldTour level.

MyWhoosh is a UAE-based platform and is a co-sponsor of Tadej Pogačar’s team. CyclingTips understands a number of the riders and coaches were using it to help while away the hours and Vink’s name kept on coming up and he was also “moving some serious watts”. Some real-life testing confirmed his ability and he will now get the chance to race in the top tier.

MyWhoosh is a free platform and offers a monthly prize purse of $96,000, with Vink’s talents allowing him to make a bit of money racing virtually.

Vink will follow in the footsteps of Jay Vine, who won the Zwift Academy and a place on the Alpecin-Deceuninck squad, going on to win two stages of the Vuelta a España in 2022. Tanja Erath, Neve Bradbury, and Ella Harris have also turned pro after winning the Zwift Academy competition. Vink’s place was less formally ‘won’ but his new contract shows that virtual racing can get you places in the real world too.

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