Olympic Virtual Series - Chase Race (Group spacing needs to change)


I noticed that there was an issue with the group spacing in this event. The B/C category seem evenly matched. A is nearly there, but D is completely off.

In the first event I did, there was a massive leading D group, and it got overtaken before the end of the first lap. I then went to check the other race results and in 15 to 20 races that I checked the D race is consistently 2 to 5 minutes off the lead. i.e. they just have no chance of winning with the current setup and I imagine this makes the race really horrible for them. The A race is also slighty off, normally 1 minute. This is data I checked on ZwiftPower, so it excludes out of category racers.

I think this should be monitored for events/races like this and edited when its clear that there is a problem.

From William

Update: I just did another, same problem obviously but also noticed this: almost all the winning group were sandbagging. The first group of 12 had 3 I category riders…

I was lucky enough to win from the C group yesterday in one of the Olympic Virtual Chase Races. Our C Cat was also the largest group and I did a ton of work on the front (see video with many 375-400W pulls) to catch the D Cat in about 20 minutes and stay away from the A&B Groups.

Results: Zwift Power - Login

Video: https://youtu.be/c9H5QqDI3Bw

Cat winners times:
C: 54:04, 63 finishers
B: 54:58, 31 finishers
D: 56:07, 26 finishers
A: 56:55, 17 finishers

of finishers per ZCA, times per Zwiftpower.com

Is that consistent with your results? Do the results you looked at also show that larger groups win? More riders was directly rated to our finish time in group. I don’t think these are too far apart.

It is hard to judge if a group is organized and pushing the front or not also. If no one wants to work you will be caught and dropped. Once dropped gaps will be big as all motivation will be gone in the group.

I just skimmed the results and it looks like it is mostly C and some B wins. I didn’t see a race where a D or A won.

Also 3 minute gaps on a 40 minute race are different than a 60 minute race.

Then there is course selection. 3 minutes on a sustained climb against A riders may be very little where draft effects are minimal but on the flat in a big group that is a lot of time.

Too many factors to consider!!

Yeah, I did take group size into account. two of the first races had massive D groups, bigger than C and still got caught on the first lap. But either way, I think that’s part of D racing, because the difference between a 2.5 and 1.5 w/k rider is massive. So by nature, D groups split a lot.

My main problem is that they haven’t changed it once it become obvious there’s a problem. If C wins 70%, B 30% and A/D 0% in 50 races. (Ds not only losing but 2+ minutes behind at best) then there’s fundamental issue with race setup.

Similarly the A’s can have a big range of abilities. If there are several 5w/kg+ guys then it can be a really fast moving group that never really loses speed over the small bumps in the road and will fly right up any sustained incline.

I went through Zwiftpower to review past results on the Chase Races that have occurred on the Tick Tock Route. Here is some data for the first rider to cross the line from each Category:

A Cat: 1st: 2 times 2nd: 4 times 3rd: 33 times 4th: 11 times
B Cat: 1st: 10 times 2nd: 30 times 3rd: 10 times 4th: 0 times
C Cat: 1st: 37 times 2nd: 11 times 3rd: 2 times 4th: 0 times
D Cat: 1st: 1 time 2nd: 5 times 3rd: 5 times 4th: 39 times

Average Placement:
A Cat: 3.06
B Cat: 2.00
C Cat: 1.30
D Cat 3.64

So at least for the Tick Tock Route the D Cat is getting slaughtered as you noted, the C Cat is doing very well and B Cat is not too far behind them.

You could probably give the D Cat at least one more minute head start, IMO and maybe even 2 minutes.


OK that was a lot more thorough then I did haha. But yeah I agree.

Chase races are fun, cause they allow you to work as a team and give the non sprinters like myself some more excitement, so I hope they do more of them. They just need to adjust the gaps. They could easily just use your analysis to tweak the gaps. Or even better run simulations based on average category watts for winner etc…

The other problem of course is the sandbagging. One of the reasons C and B are so fast is sandbaggers pushing the pace up. When I was in the C group we had 5/6 out of category riders at the front the whole time… but that’s another story :rofl:

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I have been know to do a bit of research when it is a topic I am interested in.

My race was the exception, we didn’t have many over limits but there are still some. If ever there were a format that needs to restrict entry only into your category this type of race is one of them.