Recently I finished top 10 in two cat C races from the monthly series. They were on mostly flat courses and culminated in mass sprints of groups of about 20-30 riders, after the tempo/wattage had steadily increased over the last 5 minutes. There had been no break-aways whatsoever in each race (though 70-80% of the participants had been dropped that could not maintain pace). I therefore think that the power curve from zwiftpower should paint an accurate picture of the race finale. Also, given the layout of the course I would expect raw watts to be most significant here. In both cases, during the finale I was always in the draft in the first half of the group.
Below is what the power curve in the first race (event ID 3362947) looks like for me (orange, 83kg 194cm) and a few riders that finished ahead of me.
Black (80.5kg, 188cm) finished 3rd, 0.86 secs ahead of me.
Green (73.9kg 172cm) finished 4th, 0.4 secs ahead of me.
Blue (98kg, 183cm) finished 6th, 0.07 secs ahead of me.
This sort of boggles my mind as I was clearly outputting significantly higher power numbers over even the last 10 minutes of the race. I understand that I was the tallest rider here, but it’s not exactly like the other riders were midgets. Especially the black graph looks odd, by far the lowest power output, yet clearly ahead of the others.
The second race (event ID 3620096) shows a similar pattern, I (purple curve) finished 9th this time.
Orange (87.5kg, 190cm) finished 2nd, 0.58 secs ahead of me
Red (94kg, 180cm) finished 4th, 0.33 secs ahead of me
Black (58kg, 154cm) finished 5th, 0.26 secs ahead of me
Blue (79kg, 175cm) finished 6th, 0.18 secs ahead of me
Green (92kg, 191cm) finished 7th, 0.12 secs ahead of me
Here I am mostly intrigued by the black and blue curves, outputting way less watts, yet still ending up in front of me. Also, how is it is possible that “Mr. Orange” - who has similar length and weight) despite topping my power only in the very final second by just a few watts but with significantly less power just before, ends up more than half a second in front of me. We were doing over 60 kph, so that equates to about 10 metres, hardly the photo finish I would expect.
Who can shed any light on why things played out this way?