CANBERRA cyclist Jay Vine has taken a further step towards earning a spot on the elite European circuits.
The 25-year-old has taken out the world’s leading talent identification program from his living room in a desperate final bid.
Racing virtually after being unable to travel in the COVID-19 pandemic, Vine had signed up to the Zwift Academy in the hope of joining an acclaimed professional cycling team.
He was one of two Australians to have emerged victorious among around 125,000 competitors globally after Melburnian Neve Bradley took out the women’s contest.
The riders each competed in two races in a points competition and another in a time trial.
The competition demanded about six weeks of more than 20 hours per week on the bike.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Vine said after claiming the virtual title.
“I had to try to focus on giving the best I could and make sure there were no mistakes, so I could get this done.
“It’s incredible – when can I start?”
The win was redemption for Vine after a few days earlier his bike broke down after a power shortage and all hope had seemed lost.
He later blamed a glitch in his trainer for causing the power loss.
The online academy, which is now regarded as a lifeline for uncontracted riders, has backed up Vine’s promising fifth placing last March before the pandemic in the Herald Sun Tour, a certified Union Cycliste Internationale race.