South Africa’s Bradley Gouveris intends taking his opportunity with both hands after making it into the semifinals of the Zwift Academy competition for a spot in the Dimension Data Continental team for 2019.
Gouveris, 20, was one of 10 semifinalists from around the world announced on Friday. He and Byron Munton, who has made it into his second consecutive semifinals, are the only South Africans in the group.
Three of the semifinalists will progress to the final, the winner of which will receive an under-23 professional contract as part of DiData’s Continental set-up.
Gouveris, who hails from Port Elizabeth, last month spoke about how grateful he was to be joining French team Christian Magimel Sud-Ouest Cyclisme Formation for next year.
However, that opportunity fell through after he received an email on Sunday night explaining that the team had gone into a dormant state for 2019 after its manager relocated elsewhere.
“That was a big disappointment. But it has just given me added motivation in this academy to give everything I’ve got in the semifinals,” Gouveris told In the Bunch today.
“I’m a bit stuck for next year now. I’ve got to just take it as it comes and put my name out there and hopefully something happens in the remainder of the year.
“I’ve got to look at the positives and hopefully when one door closes, another one will open.
“I hope this academy could be that. I can’t say for sure but I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” he said, stressing the importance of this opportunity.
Gouveris, who rode for Alfa Bodyworks this year, said the participants in the competition took part in virtual races against one another which he described as “brutal”.
“The races were quite insane just considering the number and quality of riders [taking part]. It wasn’t only against under-23s, but against anyone.
“The structured work-outs were very difficult too, but that’s expected because after all it is such a good opportunity.”
Gouveris emphasised the importance of going into the finals with the utmost confidence.
“With the number of under-23s who took part I’m over the moon that I’ve even made it this far,” he said.
“I have to be super confident, but I can’t really say what my chances will be. I know for a fact that the other guys are all super-quality riders.
“I will just give it my best and leave every ounce of energy out there. Whatever happens will happen and I will be really stoked if I make it into the finals.”
The semifinalists have not received their precise programmes of assessment yet, Gouveris said, but from hearsay he knew he would have to “hang on for dear life”.
“I’m expecting it to be extremely brutal,” he added.
The semifinals assessment take place from October 15 to 28 and Gouveris, who is currently not part of any team set-up, said he would put actual physical racing on hold until the competition was over.
He would then turn his focus to the 947 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg on November 18.