Is Zwift aware that 5w/kg wins you TdF stages?

I have to admit: I’m a frustrated Zwifter. I have been solidly in the upper middle of the USA amateur ranks in road and ‘cross for 12 years, and even won races here and there. Yet, I can’t compete in the D races.

What gives? Outside, I can roll 5 w/kg for 5 minutes, 4 w/kg for 15-20 min, and 3 w/kg for 60-80 min. Pro racers can roll 5 w/kg for 5 hrs: it wins you an amazing TdF stage - see my link about Thomas de Gendt below. But the idea that such a high percent of people are doing this is absurd. I’m getting really tired of seeing numbers of 6,7,8 w/kg from nearby riders. It’s time for some sort of verification or else this isn’t fun! C’mon, zwift!

What you say is true, but doesn’t bother me that much. It’s a worldwide platform so there will be some very fast people exaggerated by intentional and unintentional cheating. Much worse is that such people with 5 w/kg handles decide to race in D. That blows the race for everyone.


That should put you in the B group maybe even A, definitely not D.



“Riding for 5 hours 14 minutes” is quite different from managing 6W/kg for much shorter amounts of time. Apples and oranges.

Besides, not everyone who can do high power would ever have been interested in a pro cycling career. Just like plenty of fantastic casual footballers don’t play in the Premier League. Just because you’re good at something don’t mean you’ll ever pursue it as a career.


Hi you are a B cat rider not a D cat rider if you are pushing those watts. It the end of the day it is just a game and I get frustrated as well but go with the flow knowing that when or if the riders who cheat come out onto the road will get kicked out of the back of the bunch rather quickly. You may need to check your calibration of your trainer as well as it can affect power outage as I found out when using tacx flux trainer

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I sorta don’t think that the pace and quality of joe footballer in your local city league comes anywhere the EPL too. These are 1:1,000,000 freakish talents. Cycling too. It’s not like people woke up and asked, should I manage an office or be a pro cyclist/footballer. No. You either have that genetic capacity, physiology, and skill, and it was probably ID’d by the time you were 12 years old, or you don’t. They are NOT just like us. It comforts people to think, “well I’m pretty good, I relate to that…” but it isn’t really true.


Someone suggested to me that I might need to turn my wahoo trainer to “max” resistance. Would that make a difference in the wattage it records for me?

Also thank you all for replying! :blush:

That just makes the hills “feel” harder if you have a smart trainer. It doesn’t exactly mean that you will put out more watts, however, I would imagine if the hill feels harder you would respond by pushing harder… GP Lama did a video about this.

My point is there are plenty of people who do have those qualities, but never chose to take it up seriously. Same goes for everything, of course. There are no doubt thousands of undiscovered De Niros out there.

Apples to watermelon. The best I got my FTP up to was about 5.8 w/kg and max 5 minute was up around 7 w/kg. That was with 30 hour training weeks, and I was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, pooping cyclist, but even then I could only just crack the top 10 in the US let alone start a race in Europe.

Zwift is an entirely different animal but it’d be interesting to see USADA/WADA/ZADA come knocking on some folks doors after the pro races.

Most of the folks that start that early get burnt out and maybe come back to the sport later in life. Surely you’ve never heard of them but they are there. Most of those that I grew up racing with fell into a couple of buckets: Got burnt out shortly after going to college, the tried racing domestic conti and eventually became a coach, or they went world tour. The first of those 3 are probably the sleepers that will drop any of us up ADZ.

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Are they? Some are but frankly we’ve been over and over and over this on the forum and elsewhere. People cheat, life is unfair. I get it.

What? I doubt it

Maybe bad tactics from you? It seems strange however.

My “tactic” is the same as I would do on a rolling course in real life: warm up x25-35 min. Then, sit around 7th-12th until a tactical geographic feature presents itself, consider a breakaway in that moment. Or, reserve myself for the sprint, and position appropriately.

I have yet to see a sprint finish!

Unfortunately, in all categories I’m seeing people put up these huge numbers and it’s all I can do to get a mid-pack finish in D. And I can sit at 235 (3 w/kg) for that entire race and be dead last. I can hold 4 w/kg for 10 min, which I generally do at the beginning to try to hold position…but rarely does it work.

5w/kg for an hour doesn’t win GT stages. The top climbers in the world can do over 6w/kg for half an hour on uphill finishes, but those aren’t isolated efforts… those usually come after a hard day with several uphill efforts before that. That’s a completely different kind of effort.
For example I can 100% vouch for Lionel Vujasin (One of the world’s top Zwifters), I’ve seen him race live twice and his Zwift numbers are 100% legit.
Understand that just because both are basically riding a bicycle, doesn’t mean it’s the same discipline.
Look at Chris Hoy… one of the very best track sprinters ever. Yet he probably couldn’t win a GT sprint stage if his life depended on it. Visa Versa Mark Cavendish…

Anyway, to the issue at hand, first of all: ride in the correct category… Looking at the numbers you mention your FTP is probably arround 3.5-3.6wkg, so you belong in cat B.
Next to that: where are you checking your results? If you’re talking about results straight from Zwift, then you should ignore those completely. If you want proper results that filter out cheaters & people in the wrong category then zwiftpower should be your source for results.
Last of all: cat D races, in all honesty, are a ■■■■-show. There’s usually not a lot of riders, and out of the riders that are there 75% is in the wrong category.

Most of all… I think your biggest problem is not understanding the game mechanics. I see it all the time: people pushing out higher numbers then myself getting dropped from groups like bricks and it’s always down to the same thing: they don’t understand how the drafting mechanic of the game works.

I suggest you join some group rides (look for 2,0-2,5ish rides or something) in the next couple of days with 1 goal only: get a good feeling for how drafting works. See what happens when a group hits an up- or downhill stretch (see how the shape of a group changes from blob to strung out), see what kind of effort it takes to just sit in the bunch and most of all also get a feeling for what happens when you do a pull in the front and see how fast and hard you slide back into the group as soon as you let off the power…

Last of all: understand that the way Zwift racing is organised (in wkg cats), all cats below cat A heavier riders are favored. Your 78kg is not the very lightest but it’s definitely no where near heavyweight.


Yes. Doing 5watt/kg for 20 minutes or even for 1 hour and doing it for 5 hours are two very different efforts and they are not in the same galaxy. I hope you can see this threadmaker… Also, I find Zwift to be about sprints, either you can sprint or you can’t and then you lose. I mean seriously, the races are not even that long, the critraces are basically sprintcompetitions. And if you don’t have a sprint you are toast even in the longer ones. Maybe this is your problem? Or you suck at racing? Maybe you try to be the hero of the races and focus on being in the front most of the time or you are going for the KOMs?

But in short: You are not being honest with yourself when you compare the two. There are strong riders on Zwift because Zwift gather up riders from the whole world! I am not denying there is a lot of cheating, just take weightdoping, it’s very easy to cut away some kilos from your actual weight.

He does not convince it.
Because the measurement of the power is difficult. Because not intuitive.

So I talk about the running.
Because intuitive.
Because time is all.
It’s simply.
The world record of the 100km marathon is six hours ten minutes.
It is 16.2km/h.

How many runners who can run at 16.2km/h will there be?
This depends on the time.
Time is 5min? 10min? 30min?
There is the runner of the level more than 1 million people.

Let’s get back to the story.
Athletes can put out 5PWR, so it’s not great.
Athletes can put out 5PWR for 5 hours, which is amazing.

OP has a valid point.

Obviously there are some dodgy PMs around, and ZP tends to overestimate power. But let’s be clear - comparing the average power of pro riders 18 days in to a stage tour to anyone doing a 30 minute Zwift race is comparing apples and oranges.

Let’s take Ed Laverack as an example. One of the best Zwifters there is, his power numbers are insane, and power is proven IRL (checkout his vids, hill climbs etc). So why isn’t he in the pro tour?

Pro tour riders ride for 5 hours, depleting their energy stores, with occasional surges. They then put out 6 w/kg for 30 minutes on a climb, and then put 1200W out at the finish. Then they wake up the next morning, and do it again.

You are better off to compare against crit racers.