Getting dropped even if im riding harder


I am having an issue when racing on zwift. I feel that i cant keep my position in the group, even if i am producing more power than the people around me.
If i ride at the same power/weight as those around me, i will quickly move backwards to the back of the group, or even be straight up dropped. This happens on flat roads aswell. I have tried to pair my powermeter and my hometrainer as power source, same thing happens. Even when we’re on hills, i wont ride away from the group if im riding 1-2 wkg more than the rest of the group. I am not experiecing any noticable lag in power if im riding.
Am i missing something? Could there be an issue with my hardware? Or maybe internet connection?
I just think its weird.

Elite suito 2020 model
Quarq powermeter (1yo)
ANT+ dongle on a USB extention cord.
Mid-2010 MacBook Pro
WiFi connection (5 meter distance)


What in-game bike are you using?

Just an FYI, the TT/Tri bikes get no draft assistance.

Tried with 2 different road bikes, Canyon Aeroad and Tarmac Pro, both with DT swiss wheels.

Is this on flat roads? Are you a light rider? Heavier riders with a similar w/kg will produce more watts and go faster unless there’s a climb.


Take basic zwift TT bike + dt swiss =>
How many W for 40 km/h on flat 0%, good road ? I’m around 280W

Climb with specialised Tarmac Alpe zwift => at start turn 21 to 20, 300W for 10/13km/h

I m 80 kg 1m75

Flat roads yea, im 75 kg. Pretty much the same weight as the ones i compete with - according to Zwiftpower.

@Paul_Allen Paul, post the “How speed is calculated” link. If his watts are valid it has to be another variable that Zwift uses to calculate speed.

Here is the thread that @Bob_Gorman_Splunk_65 requested I post: How Does Zwift Determine My Speed?

Height? Could you have entered that wrong, by accident?

I know what you mean and experience the same phenomena especially of late . So it may not just be you .

It could be all the extra factors of course but I dont think so as as long as you dont go edge case , frames and wheels are really marginal and anyway I try with super aero ( or super weight ) and it affects it none.

I am pretty average height so its not that . I am no lightweight or heavy weight but definately on the lighter side of the mediun (73kg) so it could be this . But have experienced it versus others of the same sort of weight too ( either because I know them or from zwiftpower so I dont think its that either , certainly not entirely . the amount of variance is too big here .

Its not quite as clear cut that ALL the time I have to put out more w/kg. But I do find if I dont push more w/kg that those around me I will generally and at some point slide to the back of the group and have to work quite a lot harder than I used to stay on . For me what tends to happen is that I push that harder effort and eventually its like something is released and I quite quickly move back to the front of the group and I can back off the power again a little and sometimes sit happily in the front part of the group ( not in the wind) for some time . But invariably at some point despite holding the sort of w/kg I would expect to hold station I will drift back again … rinse and repeat .

There are very few races were I dont post higher w/kg (and raw power) against those who I rode against , zwiftpower shows this is versus heavier and lighter riders the same.

What I am working on trying to eliminate right now is the possible impact of quite high ANT searches , I know that on the occassions when I do get dropped out of the blue it will clearly be a loss of ANT signal , or sometimes when I cant work out why when i Zwiftalize my log file it shows I had some level of unreported ANT issues at that time.

Where it is really noticeable is in TTT events . I have to burn lots of watts even as much as 2 w/kg more than the paceline but they will still break my drafty and pass me !

Havent got any answers just the same questions as you that maybe I have an issue or not working the game properly.

Its a little bit demoralising but then again I am getting extra fit putting out these numbers so its not all that bad , if I ever work out what the reason its goign to be amazing :upside_down_face:

I had a similar problem but I only noticed it up hills. When climbing I had to be 1-1.5W/kg higher than the person in front to overtake. I started to get really frustrated on rides like Alpe du Zwift as I kept having to surge to get by people. The rider on screen used to run into the one in front and ride at an angle but wouldn’t pass until I put an effort in.

What solved it was a newer graphics card… It doesn’t really make sense but it is loads better. I went from a really old GT710 to a less old GTX750 Ti and the graphics quality dramatically increased and the passing problem went away. I can now slowly pass people so long as I’m at a slightly higher W/kg.

Maybe the graphics card in the Mac is a little slow. It is 10 years old. Try linking to a phone or iPad if you have one and see if the problem is still the same.

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Make test i wrote
The first thing is to validate the problem and determine the loss of speed

2 w/kg it’s a lot it’s mean you must hold 400W for reach 40km/h on flat or 10/13 km/h on 10% climb (according i’m heavier)

I’m interessed by event result on Zwiftpower to analyze

Hi Niels, Did you make sure your ANT+ cable and especially the extension cord are working correctly ? I had (perceived) power issues using TrainerRoad & Zwift and those were resolved eliminating the extension and moving the dongle close to the trainer.

This bit caught my attention as I felt I was also getting ‘stuck’ behind riders with the same effect. So I lowered the graphics settings from high to med on my macbook and it made a noticeable difference, no longer getting stuck.

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Great. Glad it worked for you👍

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Hi, i dont think its an ANT+ issue, i use dual recording and the watts on zwift is almost the same as that on my headunit (maybe 1-2% off). Im not noticing any power lag, or dropouts as such, simply that i must push harder to stay in the group.

Maybe @M_Cook is onto something though, with the outdated hardware. I have noticed the angled ride aswell when going up climbs. May have to try my phone.

Hi all,

Slightly thread hijacking but may also be relevant to Niels’ issue.

I did my first ever Zwift race last night. It was the City Circuit Crit race, and I entered Cat C. Seemed about right for me with an FTP of 230W and I weigh 71kg.

However, after about 5 mins of the race I was in around 20th (out of 99 racers) and I got a message from Zwift that said “Time to level up. You’re too strong for this group! We’ve ratcheted back your power a bit for the remainder of this ride to help keep it fair”.

This was pretty surprising as I clearly wasn’t winning the race or anything, but from that point on I just got destroyed. Ended up finishing 74th (and I think last out of everyone that actually finished the race) and a full 12 mins behind the winners (I did 45mins and they finished in 33mins, so about 35% slower!) and no matter what I did everyone blasted by me like I was standing still. I’m clearly not too strong for Cat C… I’m not even sure if I’m strong enough for Cat C!!

I checked my stats on ZwiftPower after the race and my power output should probably have put me middle of the pack I think. Certainly not last by miles…

I got lapped multiple times and the ppl lapping me were on some occasions doing in the low 2s (like 2.1W/KG) while I was pushing about 3W/KG and still they just cruised past me. Not just passing me but absolutely thrashing me. I couldn’t even hang on to their wheel for more than a couple of seconds…

So, my point is:

  1. I wonder if you (@Niels_Munk_GRASPOR) had the same handicap and that’s why you’re getting done over? The message only appeared for maybe 15 seconds or so and then that was it - no other indication whatsoever. So if you did get the message but missed it you’d never know you were being held back?

  2. Does anyone else know if that handicap will keep applying to me in future races? (again relevant for Niels - if this handicap does last for more than one race, then even more likely that’s his issue?)

  3. Does anyone know why I got that message? As I said I wasn’t even winning - only in the top quarter of the field, so I have no idea why I got penalised in the first place!!



You generated power beyond the limit for cat C, based on the w/kg cat system Zwift uses. Because you are a light rider however, you can’t beat heavier C riders on a flat course who are putting out much higher watts than you. You got hit by the in-game anti-sandbagging algorithm, and will keep seeing that in Crit City races unless you enter B cat.

Hi Justin,

Thanks for that. I honestly thought entering Cat C was a stretch for me… not that there would be any risk I’d generate more power than I was allowed.

So basically I can’t keep up with these guys at similar W/KG because they’re bigger than me, but if I push harder then I get penalised. Seems a bit harsh, but I understand.

I feel like if I entered the Cat B races the same thing would happen, wouldn’t it? On the assumption I actually COULD pedal harder and generate, say, 3.5W/KG, I’d still get beaten by the heavier Cat B riders who also put out 3.5W/KG?

So perhaps best bet is to start looking for more hilly races?



That’s one way to go, yes. Heavy riders in the same category will always have an advantage on flats - a potentially huge one.