South African Byron Munton is happy to have taken a step closer to joining the WorldTour ranks after making it into the Zwift Academy semifinals.
The 10 semifinalists were announced on Friday and include riders from around the world, including two from South Africa – Munton and Bradley Gouveris.
The 10 were chosen following a qualifying round and will now battle it out to see who fills the three spots in the final.
The victorious rider will receive an under-23 professional contract with Dimension Data’s Continental team for next year.
Munton, 20, who recently signed for local team Alfa Bodyworks-Giant, was delighted to have made further headway in his young career.
“It was quite a relief [to make the semifinals] after having put a lot of hard work into it,” Munton told In the Bunch today.
“It reassured me that all the hard work had paid off in the end.”
The riders were assessed in various work-outs on the Zwift trainer, which aimed to target their respective strong and weak points on the bike, Munton explained.
“We did 10 different work-outs, each varying between one and 12 minutes. From that the 10 best riders were chosen.”
The Cape Town local also made it into the semifinals last year and was the youngest rider to do so at the time.
He felt he had a better chance of making it into the finals this time round.
“Hopefully I can progress a bit further this year,” he said. “It will be important to pace myself better between all the intervals.
“That includes knowing where to push harder and where to go easier.”
Each rider will complete three work-outs on the trainer and four on the road, but the exact procedures have not yet been divulged.
“I’m feeling quite confident,” Munton said. “I’ve been really surprised with my form since coming back from Europe [at the end of June] and I hope I can do a lot better this year.”
The semifinals assessment will take place from October 15 to 28.
Race-wise Munton will next take part in the Amashova Durban Classic on October 21, which means he will “have to plan carefully around” the semi-finals.