Canyon ZCC's first year in esports


In January 2019, Canyon launched the world's first professional eRacing team ahead of Zwift's first 'Community' and 'Super' leagues. The team could not have had a better start with both the MEN's and WMN's teams taking down the Community titles. Not only this, but over half of the team also competed in the Super League on loan to Zwift's Community teams.

After this came the Zwift National Championships where we quickly garnered three titles:

  • Lionel Vujasin - Belgian National Champion
  • Kristin Falck - Norwegian National Champion
  • Eva Buchholz - German National Champion

In addition to this, both Steve Young and James Phillips qualified for the first ever live final for a National Championship, sanctioned by the British Cycling Federation. That live event was also broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK and online. You can rewatch the final races here.

In the end, James Phillips was just beaten into second place on the day. However, as many of you may know - the winner ended up later being disqualified and relinished the title to James who will only be able to wear the jersey for half the year. Hopefully he can retain it in 2020!

Being a Zwift team does mean that you are not required to be in the same place, or even the same country! However, we decided to get the team together in Berlin for an epic photoshoot set in an abandoned brewery which perfectly tied into the '90's UK rave' theme that inspired the team kit. This was quite a surreal moment for most of the team but quite a special undertaking and René Zieger was there to capture the madness - check out his website.

Naturally, the team took a break over the summer and focused on riding and racing outdoors. Believe it or not, everyone is pretty handy on the bike and later in the year Nathalie Eklund took some National podiums on the road in Sweden and Laura van Regenmortel also won the Dutch National Championship for XC Marathon!

The summer also saw some major races in the form of the 'Zwift Classics': One race every month in a different world. The most memorable for the team was definitely the race in Bologna which Alex West won in style! Truly a memorable moment for the team. Not to mention that Team Manager, Rhys Howell came in dead last (but admittedly spent most the race DSing whilst turning the pedals).

At the end of the year, sadly we had to say goodbye to Laura van Regenmortel and Nathalie Eklund. Laura made the step up to racing in the UCI Womens World Tour with dutch team Biehler Pro Cycling and we'll be cheering her on for the upcoming season.

But it was not all fond farewells as we were also joined by Ollie Jones (NZL), Mary Wilkinson (GBR) and Claudia Behring (USA). You many already have spotted them racing in the team colours on Zwift.

To be honest, the year was a bit of a whirlwind and we haven't even got started yet. Next up is the 'Tour de Zwift' Pro-Am invitational races as well as some plans we have to bring you a workout series, training plan, our "VS" show and maybe even a few races.

Stay tuned for more! Thanks finally to everyone that has supported us in our first year - that includes our partners Canyon, Wahoo, Nuun and Training Peaks.

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