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As someone that has followed the competition form the beginning and is an avid Zwift trainer, I think its pretty awesome. I think there are people out there that have the talent but perhaps have not been exposed to the traditional dreams of racing and so they might not be noticed by professional teams. Something like this allows the Canyon/SRAM team to cast a very wide net and look at talent. Its very much like the idea that Nissan had for the GT Academy, using Gran Turismo. It identified people that had the racing instincts and could find the fastest lines around a track and then allowed Nissan to put them in actual cars and hone their craft. Several of those GT academy guys are now competing in the highest levels of auto racing and are quite competitve.

It looks like Leah Thorvilson has the legs and the lungs to compete... Apparently she's a pretty decent climber, but has only been on a bike for 18 months, so her bike handling skills aren't the best and she gets a little nervous on descents, but that will come with time and she'll have access to training coaches and the other riders so she'll probably pick up skills fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's definitely a cool "outside of the box" idea. I like to see people that didn't follow the "traditional path" get their shot when they have some talent and have worked hard for the opportunity (MMA/UFC has this with the Ultimate Fighter series, the NBA now has the D-League, and I hear the NFL will be starting a Spring League to find new talent soon as well). We'll see how it turns out (these kinds of things seem to always have mixed results), but I am happy for her that she gets the chance to show what she can do.
 

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While women's elite careers run longer than men's, she is getting up there in age (37) for an athlete at that level. Given the fact that she doesn't have a lot of experience on the bike or in the peloton and doesn't have years to develop the skill sets, I see this as a very short career.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's awesome. She's got the engine, it provided publicity for the team (column inches for women's cycling are in short supply), and it potentially opened a new talent source for cycling. All of these are very good things.

I see this is a first step.
 

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The most astonishing thing about her experience was the fact that in approximately 18 months she made the transition from 'professional runner, non-cyclist' to 'professional cyclist - non-runner', all at 37 years of age. And this was not something she planned to do. She just kind of fell into it after a friend suggested she 'give it a try'.

While certainly cardio is at the heart of both disciplines, they are still very different sports.

I think she will do well, but I suspect she is going to take some time to adapt to pack riding, team dynamics, learning he stregths and weaknesses, etc...
 

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All of this is the most ridiculous publicity stunt. No kidding it's for women's racing and not men's, either.

I'd love (er...hate) to see some Cat 5 male with Pro-level power get plopped into the middle of an NRC crit or even a Belgian kermesse, much less an actual Euro race. They'd probably crash themselves and half the peloton out in the first mile.

There's a reason why there's a racing system and it's precisely because going really, really fast requires having really, really fine-tuned skills and instincts, both for your safety and everyone else's. Pros crash far more than enough with guys that have been racing and crashing for a decade plus. People without that experience...pure terror.
 

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I don't think anyone is expecting her to become the female Eddy Merckx. She even talks about hoping she doesn't crash anyone. Everyone has to start somewhere.
 

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I just wish they converted her ten or 15 years earlier. There's a lot of elite female athletes out there that just never ride bikes, or only focus on triathlon. Think of all of the potential Evie Stevens out there...

It's a start. It's a possibility. It's much-needed publicity. I wish her and her team luck.
 

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I don't think anyone is expecting her to become the female Eddy Merckx. She even talks about hoping she doesn't crash anyone. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Yes, you're right. And that somewhere is the Cat 4/5s, which is exactly my point to begin with.
 

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All of this is the most ridiculous publicity stunt. No kidding it's for women's racing and not men's, either.

I'd love (er...hate) to see some Cat 5 male with Pro-level power get plopped into the middle of an NRC crit or even a Belgian kermesse, much less an actual Euro race. They'd probably crash themselves and half the peloton out in the first mile.

There's a reason why there's a racing system and it's precisely because going really, really fast requires having really, really fine-tuned skills and instincts, both for your safety and everyone else's. Pros crash far more than enough with guys that have been racing and crashing for a decade plus. People without that experience...pure terror.
I recently rode with a teen state champion in that very large Sagan peloton I went on last month. No doubt, the kid was very quick, but the way he buzzed a few of us while passing? Let's just say I was no longer in doubt of his age and lack of experience in groups.
 

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sounds like the Zwift academy is a good place to find a lot of hidden endurance athletic bums! What do you do for a living? I'm out for the Zwift academy in my parents' basement with my supportive spouse supporint me, you know.
 
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