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by Shane Stokes
December 15, 2017
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A career in medicine or in pro cycling? That was the decision Tanja Erath was presented with a few weeks ago, when she was in the midst of finals week for both medical school and the Zwift Academy.
Now in its second year, Zwift Academy is an innovative talent identification program that uses the multiplayer indoor trainer tool, Zwift, to analyse an athlete’s potential through a series of indoor workouts and tests. After copious amounts of trainer time, the winner is awarded a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a one-year contract on the Canyon-SRAM UCI Women’s WorldTour team.
Well over two thousand women competed in the six-week program world-wide, and three finalists were chosen to attend the team’s winter camp in Koblenz, Germany. Erath was one of them.
A former triathlete, Erath, was forced to end her multi-sport career in 2016 when a chronic leg injury prevented her from running long distances. She turned to fixed-gear criterium races for an athletic outlet while studying medicine. The outlet quickly turned into ambition, and with a pro contract up for grabs the Zwift Academy sparked a pro cycling career.
Balancing the rigorous demands of medical school with the Academy’s intensive indoor riding and testing program was tough, but by the end of November, Erath had secured both an invitation to Canyon-SRAM’s team camp and a degree.
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