Question for Organizers on Staggered Starts vs. Mass Starts

For the organizers, I was wondering if zwift makes it much harder for you to orgnaize a race with staggered start times for categories as opposed to the current mass start that most races have.

IMO, all categories starting together is one of the biggest flaws with many of the current races. The race is decided in the first 3-5 minutes regardless of how long the race is and many Bs, Cs will have the 3-5 minute power to hold on to the A group and then just sit in. This also allows for manipulation of power data that leads to sandbagging, i.e., a B racer with the power to hang on with the A pack start, most likely has a much higher 20 minute power than is showing because after the start, he/she just sits in the pack on cruise control.

If these same B riders were starting with only B riders (or C with C, D with D), sure they could still make the massive 5 minute surge at the start, but then would be faced with 2 scenarios -

1.They’ve burned all their matches and have to race at the power that they would usually have while sitting on with As and eventually get caught by the pack OR,

  1. They would continue the race at a high enough power to stay away from the pack and this would lead to their 20 minute power being more reflective of their true category and they would get put in the appropriate zwiftpower category.

Fixing this wouldn’t solve all the problems, but I think in terms of some other fixes it would make zwift races more enjoyable and fair for most racers (except for the sandbagging MF’ers, but they’re d**s so they can GTFO).

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Hi @PeteCampbell-AYP

It is actually just a option they need to check. “See only event category riders”
But a lot of event organizers don’t see it like you and me (and a lot of other racers) they thing having all the groups start together will limit sandbagging.

Starting all together take all the fun out of racing if you are not in A.

Another thing that happen is some of the A’s get dropped with the B’s but then when a B open a gap the dropped A’s will chase and close the gap.


I’m not saying that it would solve all of the problems with racing, but I don’t think A’s dropping out of the front pack and getting stuck in with Bs is as big of a problem as some may think.

By this point in a race, things have settled and if an A rider or two are spat out the back and get in with a group of Bs, it won’t skew things as much as Bs and Cs getting in with 10-20 A’s at the start. If a single A rider attacks out of a group of As, then it’s pretty hard to stay away for too long.

I think the biggest thing for the staggered starts is that it would be near impossible for B and C riders to make up 1 minute gaps sprinting out of the start to the next category up. And if they were able to, it would make it painfully obvious in their power numbers that they are in the wrong category.

O yes I agree with you the B’s sitting in with the A’s from the start is the big problem I was just adding another problem.

If the organizer just select See only event category riders then there is no need for staggered starts or A’s interfering with B’ ect.

I used to race the 3R volcano race every Saturday and week after week there would be A’s closing the gap in the last 1km.

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I agree Pete, the main use case of mass starts (limited participant field) has lost its relevance. Events would be better of using just a single category (E), or stagger the starts. The separate category / mass start format doesn’t make much sense to me either. It gives an artificial advantage to certain types of riders.

All of this is because people has the freedom to enter lower categories and race organizers try to limit the impact.

Why is WTRL TTT and WTRL ZRL so successful? because they have strict rules and enforce them. If all races had strict entry rules than all races would be like that.