Registration opens today for Zwift Academy Road 2022 (sign up here)! Now in its 7th year, ZA Road continues evolving to meet the needs of everyday riders and aspiring pros. This year’s program is more streamlined than ever and focused on “identifying your strengths and delivering a crash course in leveling up your training.”
Read below for complete details on ZA Road 2022, including everything you need to know if you’re chasing the pro contract!
Intro to Zwift Academy Road
For those unfamiliar, Zwift Academy is an annual event that serves two purposes. First, it’s a global training program for cyclists of all levels. Secondly, it’s a worldwide talent ID competition that has placed multiple riders onto WorldTour teams.
While the talent ID competition is fun to watch, the vast majority of ZA Road participants are “everyday” riders looking for a fun way to gain fitness. Zwift says, “Getting faster requires two important things: knowing yourself as an athlete and knowing how to improve. Zwift Academy Road identifies your strengths, then helps you build on them.”
New for 2022
Each year Zwift Academy evolves as Zwift tweaks the structure to improve everyone’s experience. Last year’s ZA Road saw a raft of changes to the program. This year’s road Academy includes most of 2021’s improvements but shortens the overall length of the program while further refining key workouts.
Last year’s program was 8 weeks long, but this year’s lasts just 4 weeks. This doesn’t mean we’ve got fewer workouts, though! Graduation requirements are the same as last year: 1 Baseline Ride, 6 Structured Workouts, and 1 Finish Line Ride.
Improved Baseline and Finish Line Ride Experience
Last year introduced Baseline and Finish Line Rides to the Academy program, and they were a big hit (read about our experience here). These events had riders going full gas on three selected segments of a course to test sprint, VO2, and Threshold power.
Clearly Zwift listened to last year’s feedback, as this year’s Baseline and Finish Line rides have been improved/simplified in key ways:
- On-screen messaging will let riders know when each segment is approaching
- Riders will be automagically swapped to TT bikes before beginning each segment, to ensure their segment testing is consistent across both rides and unaffected by drafting
- Riders will receive a post-ride email after their Baseline ride talking about their cyclist phenotype
- A few days after ZA Road wraps up, graduates will receive a progress email to show their progress throughout ZA, their phenotype, and training recommendations
- All Baseline and Finish Line rides will take place on the Legends and Lava route
Workouts that Work Better
To make workouts more accessible and impactful for all, this year’s workouts will come in both short and long options.
Also, following Zwift’s recent push to offer workouts in more languages, all workouts will be available in English, German, French, Spanish, and Japanese.
ZA Road 2022’s 6 workouts are available in your on-demand workout folder, but will also be available as group workouts on the following days:
- Workout 1: September 12-18
- Workout 2: September 18-25
- Workout 3: September 18-25
- Workout 4: September 25-October 2
- Workout 5: September 25-October 2
- Workout 6: October 2-10
Here are the details of each workout:
Warm up your aerobic engine for harder training sessions to come. Steady tempo riding is punctuated by 1-minute bursts above your functional threshold power (FTP). It’s the perfect session to start your Zwift Academy.
Duration: Long (55 minutes), Short (40 minutes)
Spend some quality time at your limit without going over. Short blocks of high-intensity with even shorter rest periods should do the trick. This session will spur your aerobic adaptations, which will boost your FTP development and endurance.
Duration: Long (53 minutes), Short (37 minutes)
Push your max aerobic ability with some focused work on your VO2 power. This stage mimics the intensity of the Volcano KOM segment from your Baseline Ride—but with micro-rests to keep you going. This work will help you maintain high aerobic power in the future.
Duration: Long (49 minutes), Short (34 minutes)
How does your body respond when power is depleted? Time to find out! This workout wears you down quickly with a few intense efforts before running you through 10-minute blocks just below your FTP. These efforts might feel harder than normal, but they’ll also make you stronger!
Duration: Long (50 minutes), Short (30 minutes)
The power profiles of these intervals look like pyramids, and your legs will feel like you just ran up the great Pyramid of Giza. Combine these “pyramids” with 7-minute blocks of sub-threshold intervals and there’s nowhere to hide if you run out of power. The good news is this workout will increase your maximum aerobic ceiling.
Duration: Long (46 minutes), Short (34 minutes)
This last workout teaches you to get comfortable with being uncomfortable with a series of intervals above your FTP. It’s the ultimate way to expand your limits and see your Zwift Academy progress in action!
Duration: Long (49 minutes), Short (35 minutes)
Your Zwift Academy Companion (App)
The best place to track your ZA Road progress and gains is via Zwift’s Companion app. Here you’ll find the results of your Baseline and Finish Line rides, as well as a progress meter showing which workouts you have left to complete!
Additionally, the Companion app is very useful when completing workouts in Zwift. Did you know you can adjust your FTP bias via the app if the workout is too difficult? Get 5 Companion app workout tips from Shane Miller >
To complete Zwift Academy Road 2022, participants must complete a total of 8 rides:
- 1 Baseline Ride event
- All 6 Zwift Academy workouts (group workouts or individual, your choice)
- 1 Finish Line Ride event
Riders pursuing the pro contract will need to put in some extra work. See below for details.
- ZA Road online and in-game registration opens August 15 (those interested in ZA Run and ZA Tri can also register to receive updates on this date)
- ZA Road orientation group rides (26 minutes long) available August 15-September 11 (see upcoming events)
- ZA Road begins September 12
- ZA Finish Line rides available for the last 2 weeks of the program (Baseline Rides available throughout the program)
- ZA Road graduation deadline: all required workouts (1 Baseline Ride, 6 workouts, 1 Finish Line Ride) must be completed by October 10 @8:59 am UTC (1:59 am PT)
- ZA Tri program begins October 24 (in-game registration will open on Oct 10)
- ZA Run program begins February 6, 2023 (in-game registration opens Jan 23, 2023)
Riders will unlock new kit as they progress through the program:
- 2 events: unlock ZA socks
- 4 events: unlock ZA sweatband
- 6 events: unlock ZA kit
- 8 events: unlock ZA Road 2022 paint job for Canyon Aeroad 2021 frame (you’ll need to buy the frame, though!)
Pro Contract Competition
In this year’s ZA Road Pro Contender Program women will be vying for a 1-year pro contract with the CANYON//SRAM team and men will be chasing a spot on the Alpecin-Deceuninck team.
If you want a shot at the pro contract you have to jump (ride?) through some additional hoops. Here are the rules for all riders entering the Pro Contender Program of ZA Road 2022:
- You must complete the Baseline Ride and the two Pro contender workouts by September 25, 11:59 PM UTC (4:59 PM PT)
- You must complete the requirements to graduate Zwift Academy Road, which include one Baseline Ride, six structured workouts, and one Finish Line Ride, by October 10 @8:59 am UTC (1:59 am PT)
- You must complete the long version of all six structured workouts
- You must use a direct-drive smart trainer or smart bike for all Zwift Academy events
- Participants are not permitted to use a power meter as a primary power source
- You must use a heart rate monitor for all Zwift Academy events
- You must be 18+ years old, as of January 1, 2023
- Ensure your height and weight are accurately entered into Zwift before you begin the program
- You cannot be a current WorldTour or UCI ProTeam professional or have competed in a WorldTour race in the past, as defined by these lists of teams:
- You cannot have any doping violations from any national federations
- You cannot be a previous Zwift Academy Road Champion
See more the details on competing for a pro contract >
Pro Contender Workouts
The two required pro contender workouts are only available as on-demand workouts – that is, no group workout events will host workouts 7 and 8.
Riders may struggle to recover fully from the 12-minute capacity effort. That’s by design: This workout was made to find out which athletes have what it takes to go pro. The next 10-minute sub-threshold attempt will be set at a target power below your current FTP.
This test runs you through sub 2-minute intervals followed by rest periods to allow for complete recovery. After intensive intervals, we’ll also profile your recovery capabilities and judge how resilient your aerobic system is. This will be identified in the 2 x 10-minute sub-threshold efforts at the end of the session. Any riders considering the pro contract must also complete the 2 x 10-minute sub-threshold efforts without failure.
Returning again this year are ZA Road coaches Stephen Gallagher and Dan Fleeman. Both are experienced and strong bike racers, indoors and out!
Stephen is a lifelong racer who’s represented Ireland at Worlds and European Championships. His goal is to give every rider a 360° view of their physiology and strengths. See his ZwiftPower profile, or read his bio on DigDeepCoaching.com.
Born on a mountain bike, Dan’s medal-winning history as a Brit racer speaks for itself. He brings a rich knowledge of training and structure for a program that’s as tough as it is smart. He races on Zwift with Saris | NoPinz – see his ZwiftPower profile, or read his bio on DigDeepCoaching.com.
Ready to Get Started?
Sign up in-game, or do it online at zwift.com/academy.
Questions or Comments?
Post below! We’ll do our best to answer any questions, and may reach out to Zwift HQ if you have queries we can’t answer.
“Your profile is not eligible for registration, please update your info in profile to continue.” Super helpful error message from Zwift right there 😉 Will try again later or next week or something… because I don’t know what it could possibly want me to update about my profile.
Registration opens at 1500utc today.
I thought it might just be my timing being off – thanks!
Still the same issue 😝
I am seeing the same error message too.
This is the ‘default’ error message every time you try to register too early for an event. Frustrated me to no end with the Adidas RFTO event earlier this year until I realised the comment about updating profile was completely bogus.
Looks like it is working now as I see a dashboard when I login. Excited to give this a try even if it does mess with my weekly schedule a bit!
Would hope they could align with WTRL and have this as a 4 week lead in to the ZRL season, rather than run over the top of it. Can’t be that hard for them to talk to each other.
2 workouts a week on top of a new ZRL season (and the other series that I’m doing) means I’m going to have really tired legs this fall or something’s going to have to get dropped.
Workout look better than past two years. Just signed in for the ZA training series. Wish ZA 2022 was not over lapping with ZRL round 1. ZRL better to start after ZA road or towards the end.
Why cannot pro contenders use power meters? Too much variability?
Not sure exactly, but… they seem even easier to cheat with. They lead to sticky watts. And they measure power at a different place than the trainer does.
Super easy to cheat with. For example, power scaling with Assioma pedals is completely undetectable.
I think it says can’t use a power meter as a primary source. I’m guessing they would want to see it as a secondary source when they get closer to finalist selections.
I’m new to Zwift. Which workout should I choose: long or short? I want to push myself but don’t want to fail either. I don’t see any advice on how to choose or why they have the two options.
Hi Jim, You might jump into one of the orientation rides (https://www.zwift.com/events/tag/zar2022orientation) – they MIGHt offer advice on which workout length to pick. If nothing else, they’ll give you some good guidance on the overall Zwift Academy program, workouts, etc. I would say pick a duration that’s along the lines of the ride lengths you’re currently doing. If you do a lot of hourlong rides, go with the longer workouts. If you’re more of a 30-minute rider, do the shorter ones. The other nice thing is, if you try one length and don’t like it, you can always try the… Read more »
What kind of ftp/efforts did the qualifying athletes have/put out last year to be considered for the pro team? Asking for a friend…
Here are the semi-finalists for the last 3 years, with links to their ZwiftPower profiles. Not perfect, but it may give you an indication of what you would need:
Thanks! Hmm.. might need a few more years…
I’m definitely too old and slow to run for a Pro Contract… but the workouts 6/7 be available to anyone after the completion of the ZA 2022, right?
I assume yes, as that’s what they did for past years.
Hey Eric @Eric Schlange do you think there is an age limit on who might be realistically considered as a “pro contender” finalist (even if a pro team would never sign a contract with someone at that age)… assuming they are in the top 5 results of the Academy? Thinking I might try to convince my super fit 41 year old brother to sign up so we can get some master’s representation 🙂 … based on his ftp of 5.5wpk (395w), 5min power of around 6.6wpk and 15s of 1250w, he might be right up there based on the numbers… Read more »
Yeah, I don’t know if the coaches/judges who decide on the finalists pay attention to age. Obviously the pro teams making the final decision would. But it would be fun to try anyway. 🙂
Orientation Ride and Workouts can already be scheduled. When will it be possible for the Baseline Ride?
Do I need to do a FTP test before registering for the AcademyRoad as i don’t think i am up to the one that is on Zwift for me at the moment after being away from the bike for 3 weeks. Also if yes which test should i do?
Or does it not matter at all!
You should always have a fairly accurate FTP setting before attempting structured workouts. If you don’t think yours is accurate, doing a test is a good idea. Read more about your testing options, etc here https://zwiftinsider.com/zwift-ftp-tests/
Hi, Do the 6 workout come out on those dates or can I do them in a week?
Do they all open on Sep 12th ?
How do I sign up for a baseline ride? All I see is orientation and first workouts.
The Baseline rides are no where to be found. I finally contacted Zwift this morning to find out why. This was there reply:
“It sounds like the delay is due to localizing the workouts into the various supported languages and once this is done, they’ll be posted as soon as possible.”
If I want my directions in English for my baseline ride, do I choose Level A? I see all levels, A – E, are 1.0 to 5.0 watts. I usually choose level D or E… Thanks for clarifying 👍
Yep! Each category has a title that says what language it’s for.
Is anyone else getting an issue during segments where their avatar suddenly slows up so you bunch together with the riders behind? Like my speed is dropping off by like 10kmh but my power and heart rate is consistent
How do I space out the workouts during the week? How do I manage the days between workouts?
There’s a problem with the Baseline Rides… Zwift is working to get it fixed. It felt like the ride was banded together like a group workout (but Zwift says it wasn’t actually banded, just behaving that way. They’re working on it…)
My times were literally minutes off my PB’s because of this…it also seemed to limit my sprint power. The whole ride was a shambles, 16 miles took 1hr 15 mins!
Would that be why the emails aren’t coming through? Mine felt normal, but I also missed the start by about 10s so immediately fell off the pack
So we have to do it again 🙁
Hi, I just did my baseline ride but did not get an email?! What do I need to do?
Finished about 3 hours ago and still no email for me
I got the email but there was no info in it : eg no phenotype, no ride data, etc.
I got an email with no info in it too. I clicked ‘view in browser’, which shows my w/kg for each segment (and percentile rating) but no phenotype.
I havent received an email with my phentype either. 12hours since my baseline ride now.
E mail received but no data
When can I expect the email and the results? I have done the Baseline workout but have not received any email or data yet…
Thank you Eric!
Maybe they are still fixing it, but Baseline ride was nowhere to be found for me this morning. I could do the workouts, but maybe I’m just not seeing it somewhere?
Never mind. It’s in a separate events spot and not listed in the Academy Road Banner. Guess that’s now Wednesday’s workout.
I’ve completed the baseline ride but I’ve not received an email still for my phenotype etc, anyone else had this issue?
I did mine Friday and still no email from Zwift. Is there someone we can contact to inquire?
Does the baseline ride serve to set ftp parameters for the efforts in the workouts or is it simply to have a comparison with the finish line ride.
Just the latter. To set FTP parameters you would need a full gas 20-minute effort, which the baseline event doesn’t deliver.
Eric, one question to the paint job unlock … on your pics the frame has a purple Academy style like the kit … but in the Baseline-Ride the Aeroad was dark and half pink (looks awesome). Do you know, which one we can unlock ? And what’s with the other frame style ? Thanks in advance.
Hi, I have a question. Maybe there was already a question somewhere, but I don’t see any information about it. Only the watt is given for the sub-distances. What is the recommended cadence? is it arbitrary?
If no target cadence is given then it’s up to you to decide.
For the Pro Aerobic workout, what is a realistic target to set for the last 12 minute effort? Any riders already have some experience with this ride? Riders do quite some work already before, so aiming for a 12 minute record as if you were fresh is not realistic. But what is realistic? 105% FTP?
I only seem to be able to see the short workouts in the Zwift Academy 2022 folder. Is there another place they would be? I’m using Apple TV
I never got an email after completing the baseline ride? I did the orientation workout and never got an email for that either? How do I learn my phenotype or get results?
My results arrived but it was blank. I am a ! and then all of the W/Kg results were blank. So there must be something wrong with the auto population mechanism of their program. Am I the only one or is this a problem they need to address?
…. same problem with me. I got an email with the text “We measured your Baseline Ride and crunched the numbers. You’re a !”
There was a kind of guided tour in the companion app after signing up to the academy. I accidentally dismissed it. Is their a way to redo it?
It seems that you get a back facing cap, when finishing it.
Currently my companion app no more offers the tour.
Will there be catch up sessions at the end of the program if we miss a workout in the allocated week?
You can always do them solo, you don’t have to rely on the group rides
How do you do this?!
They’re in a folder in the workouts menu
No e-mail. Will this be fixed ?
Same here, not had an email following my baseline ride
Missed the first workout, I wonder if there will be a make up schedule？
I’m still seeing workout #1 is available through Wednesday Sept 29th as a group workout in the companion app.
Does anyone know if the baseline ride and phenotype analysis will be available to do after zwift academy finish. Know there’ll be ZA folder with workouts so presuming it would be there, but don’t know about the phenotype email. Would be nice if it was available to do as well as ftp test, so individual training plans could be followed.
Can I make up work out # 1 , I missed the cut off for it. If so how?
Thanks in advance
I’m still seeing workout #1 is available through Wednesday Sept 29th as a group workout in the companion app.
Is Zwift Power profile required for ZA?
when I look at the workouts in the training folder I only see the long (normal) versions of WO#2 and #5 next to all short versions. Is it me? Where are the rest of the normal Workouts?
Ah, found it. It is an issue on iOS and Apple TV. https://support.zwift.com/en_us/zwift-academy-road-known-issues-r1GOtMaxj
I’ve 2 questions
1- yesterday on an outdoor ride my garmin detected a new ftp, is it ok to update my ftp on zwift in the middle of Zwift Academy ?
2- all the structure workouts i did till now appeared on the companion app but the 2 pro workout are not shown, is it normal ?
How many days rest between workouts is recommended?
I usually put at least one day between two workouts, though the way I do things doesn’t matter. Even if I plan to have a day in between the different workouts, I still find myself riding something else, like ride #4 in the Get Rolling series. And I did workout #3 this morning, so am I going to take it easy tomorrow? Yeah, right. I’m going to do a time trial just for fun.
my final baseline email gives, along with type and w/kg, and a percentile after each segment. What do the percentiles equate to (percent of riders faster, slower, or what)? For example, I’m a sprinter, “X” percentile. Thx
If it says 95% then you’re in the top 5%.
The big question is “Top 5% of what population?”
I have no idea.
According to ZHQ it’s the population of all Zwifters who completed the baseline (and/or finish line) rides. It’s also separated by gender.
Yesterday I did the finish line ride but I missed the short segment starting arch. As a result the time registered is not correct. Will I receive a new email showing my phenotype and related suggested workouts if I do the finish line ride again? Thx.
Thank you Eric for the info and for all your useful guides here. And thank you very much to the coaches and workout designers in Zwift Academy for their wizardry. I improved seriously on every segment with just this 6 workouts. Thank u!
Hi, joined the acedmey a bit late. Will the workouts and finishing ride be available after 10th?
Hello, I did Workout 6 on Sunday 9th October and had understood the final finish line events were available for the week after, but now can’t find any Baseline finish events to enter. Is there any way to still do the final finish event as they seem to have disappeared.
It’s October 10, 2022 in the USA. The Zwift Academy Finish Line Ride is not available! I prepped and planned within the reported time-frame. Now I can’t do the final assessment ride. I am quite disappointed.
I am new to Zwift and just finished my last training of Zwift Academy road 2022, but got no graduation. This page shows me that I also needed to do a baseline and finish line event. A shame that they are not listed in the workouts of academy road 2022. I also can’t find them in the complete list of workouts. Such a shame to find out after I finished the trainings. Can you make a better explanation in Zwift? Thanks.