Both were the winners at the Zwift Academy competition awarded with a professional career in the german team
The australian Neve Bradbury (2002) has renewed her contract with Canyon SRAM till the end of the next year. The winner of the 2020 Zwift Academy impressed in her first season and grasped her chance to continue with the women’s World Tour team.
“Canyon SRAM Racing and the Zwift Academy gave me the opportunity to become a pro cyclist and I’m very excited to have my contract extended for 2022. The team is so well supported by its many partners, and this support in turn assists in my development as a rider. My teammates have been welcoming, and most are very experienced riders in the peloton. I’m keen to continue to learn as much from them as I can“, said the young aussie.
Like many first-year professionals, Bradbury admits it hasn’t all been smooth sailing: “On the positive side, I’ve been able to race with, and learn from, some very inspiring people all around the world. On the other hand, living away from my family and friends back in Australia for most of the year, and not knowing whether I’d be able to return home due to the pandemic travel restrictions has been difficult. I had three crashes in three consecutive races which meant I lost my confidence and I had to work hard to regain it” adds Bradbury.
“My first year racing at this level has been a steep learning curve! There are many things I can work on moving forward into 2022 such as being assertive in the bunch, my raw strength and sprint power, and utilising my energy more efficiently. I feel fortunate I have the opportunity to do that at Canyon SRAM.“
Bradbury was able to return home to Melbourne and is currently busy training and preparing for the upcoming season: “The Australian road national championships in January aren’t a specific goal because they’re so soon after my off-season, but I’d still love a good result there. I hope to be selected for Australia to race the UCI Esports World Championships on Zwift in February, and after these two, my main priority for the season is to race consistently well, with the goal of being selected in the team’s roster for either the Giro d’Italia, or the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. The Giro, with its mountains, is a race I’ve always wanted to do, and being a part of the women’s Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift would be a dream come true! I’m excited about the racing possibilities in 2022″.
And the team adds the Zwift Academy winner this year: the dutch Maud Oudeman
The 18 y/o rider Maud Oudeman will join the team after winning the Zwift Academy comepetition debuting as a a professional rider directly in the World Tour category. Zwift Academy Road saw a record of over 150,000 riders take part in 2021, with many benefiting from the structured workouts and seeing improvements across the 8-week program. It was the sixth time the global online talent ID-program was offering the opportunity to turn professional at Canyon SRAM Racing and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ella Harris and Neve Bradbury.
Her new teammate, Kasia Niewiadoma said: “I have to say that all of the Zwift Academy finalists were at a very high level. All of the women displayed characteristics and talent that showed they were ready to be a part of the team. It proves how serious riders are now taking this opportunity offered by Zwift and the team to turn pro. What I liked about Maud was that she could really be herself throughout the week. She was very strong during all the workouts and challenges but she had a nice attitude on and off the bike, and when she was in just riding mode compared to racing mode. I’m confident she will easily bond with all of her new teammates next year. My tip for Maud would be to stay who she is. She’s doing great so far. The year will be full of surprises and challenges but I feel like she is ready for that“.
The winner last year, Neve Bradbury, welcomed Oudeman underlining that “Maud’s mental and physical strength impressed me, especially her race mentality on the bike. Going into 2022, I would give Maud the tip to just do her best and remind herself that sometimes it will be hard, but that’s the sport and she’ll come back stronger each time. The team is here to support her.”
Oudeman declared that “On hearing my name as the winner, I felt so many different emotions. Mostly, I felt proud of myself for what I have achieved. I felt proud that I started this journey, enrolling in Zwift Academy and thinking about a dream to make it to the finals. Proud of a bag full of experiences from the finals that I took home with me to The Netherlands. The week was so amazing but also a tough test. It feels unreal to be the winner of the Zwift Academy. It really is a dream coming true. I cannot wait to race for Canyon SRAM and I’m really excited to continue to learn, improve and help the team as much as I can next year.”
The performance manager of the team, Lars Teutenberg, asserted that “Maud’s determination was impressive. The way she fights the hardest when it’s toward the finish line, and then being able to deliver a final kick at the end of each challenge. For a young rider, Maud was very consistent over the week. She never had a bad day with all of the challenges the finalists had to face. I believe Maud will have the opportunity in plenty of races next year to show her strengths and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together“, while the Canyon SRAM general manager, Ronny Lauke added that “The Zwift Academy continues to identify raw talent that has the ability to become top-level cyclists in the sport. The recent winners have all shown this with their impact on road cycling and results. In 2021, it was great that the Zwift Academy Finals were able to be held as a camp again. The level of competitiveness among the riders was very strong. Maud stood out with her consistent results and powerful performances throughout the week. We look forward to welcoming her as a member of the team.”
The winner among the men and thus new Alpecin Fenix rider was the australian Alex Bogna.