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Team Movistar has announced the launch of a new talent ID program to select five men and five women to form its new e-sports team. In a bid to become one of the best cycling e-sports teams on the planet, the newly formed Movistar E-Team aims to join the Premier Division of the Zwift Racing League.
The talent identification program will run for five weeks beginning February 3rd and is open to all riders 18 years or older as of March 1st 2021. In addition to the open qualification races, Team Movistar and Zwift have invited 300 of the top riders from the Zwift premier division to take part in the program. Riders will face a series of races and tests during the process to whittle down the hundreds expected to participate to just 10 riders who will make up the Movistar e-team.
The rewards for the successful 10 extend well beyond just a one-year contract with potentially one of the strongest teams in Zwift racing. Each rider will receive a Canyon road bike (both for Zwift and in real life) plus an array of Movistar team kit and official products. In addition to this, the team will support the riders with coaches, trainers, physios, nutritionists and team training camps. Lastly, riders will also have the opportunity to join Movistar team cycling tour trips.
The challenge starts with qualifying races open to all on February 3rd. The top three from each of these qualifying races will then go forward to round one of the challenges to face off against the invited riders. Round one will consist of two races in the same week. The combined results from these two races will see the top 100 riders (50 men, 50 women) progress to round 2.
Round 2 consists of 2 more races. In round two the competition will become even fiercer as those 100 riders will be whittled down to just 20 men and 20 women. These 40 riders will then progress to the Movistar team challenge finals.
For the finals, Movistar has teamed up with GCN to test riders physical abilities and draw out their individual personalities. Members of Movistar’s performance management team, communications team, coaching staff and ZADA will use the results of these tests to choose the final 10 riders for the Movistar E-Team. While the team is keen to find riders with the physical ability to perform in races, it is also keen to find riders who’s “personalities align with the values of the Movistar team”.
While the Zwift Academy has been offering riders a chance to achieve professional contracts via Zwift racing for five years, this is the first time a World Tour team has set about challenging for top honours in the Zwift Premier League with a dedicated e-sports team. Perhaps a sign of things to come?
Full details of the qualifying races can be found at Zwift.com