Race ranking discussion

As you know my posts are always far to long so I am trying to post short questions which will eventually lead to the point I am really aiming for.

I know they (non registered ZwiftPower riders) are allowed to sign up now -
QUESTION: I’m asking will they be allowed to sign up in the future ( Joke if I may - I don’t have a DeLorean but I would hope Zwift has a plan )

I know that their results etc are not shown on ZwiftPower and I can understand it is all to do with Data Protection.

In test race I was hanging onto my test race group for the last 20 minutes. Plenty of time to see that the back of this group was around 115-120. I finished 115 but my ZwiftPower results showed 103.

QUESTION: where did those 12 riders in front of me go in the results. Were they Non Registered ZwiftPower riders?

ZwiftPower has what I perceive to be a good Race Ranking system in place at the moment based on the USA Cycling Ranking system. USA Cycling Rankings FAQ - USA Cycling
It doesn’t seem to be doing much but is sitting there behind the scenes.

QUESTION: How accurate does Zwift think a ranking system really is if it doesn’t include all the riders who finished the race? ( need to deal with non finishers as well)

I favour a Power Metric AND Race Ranking system, I’v said it once before but others have said it many times. But, IMO, a Race Ranking system is mostly useless if it doesn’t take into account everyone in the race. (sorry question possibly asked and answered )

QUESTION: Has Zwift any intention of introducing a Race Ranking system into the race category boundary criteria in the future?

So cutting to the chase:

How does Zwift know what needs to be implement to get to the end of this racing issue if it doesn’t know what it is are going to do with Non Registered ZwiftPower riders when it does?

I would like to hear that answer too, maybe I missed it. I’m jumping ship if everything goes to Cat enforcement. I just don’t enjoy riding alone that much.

I’d like to see a proper long-term roadmap too. But I wonder if you don’t realise that the current cat enforcement tests don’t have anything to do with Zwiftpower. They use Zwift’s own data, not Zwiftpower data. So no ZP account is needed.

AFAIK we have no plans to prevent non ZP registered from entering races.

Most likely.

I can’t answer that I’m afraid.

Or that.

Or that.

This thread is about Category Enforcement. Not a ranking system.


I promise I’ll let you off the hook this time and not give you a 75 paragraph explanation as to why you’re wrong. Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? YOU’RE WRONG BECAUSE I SAY SO! :smile:

Any system will have small nooks and crannies you can exploit somehow. There are stories like that from the lower cats in US racing for example. It’s just that in a results based system you can’t keep doing it 100% of the time indefinitely. You need to lose a bit to get the chance again to win a bit. I think that’s better than having monopoly on the podium for months or even years on end.

I would have loved to show you and others in here how even the test model can be exploited, like the old system. Thing is I think I have nailed it.

I wouldn’t have been able to though. I would have had to be at least deep into the bottom of cat C fitness-wise. I’m just top cat D right now, not enough juice. But I wouldn’t have had the chance in either case.

Interesting observation:
I was originally assigned to D in the test. Then I suddenly got bumped to C before the first available test race Monday evening. So I signed up as C. Then after my participation in that race, a flat out but still D-like performance, I was again allowed to join cat D for the next race same time the day after. But a few hours before race start I got bumped to C again.

I’m not saying I get any paranoid ideas about this. Not at all. I would never…

(6 paragraphs… you OK?)


I believe I do understand the difference between ZwiftPower and Zwift’s own data - Am I sure? no not 100%

My mistake here as James has pointed out is that all or some of what I have posted is in the wrong thread. I should have posted some of these questions under a Race Ranking thread.

So to that roadmap you and I would both like to see.
I acknowledge that I’m thinking too far ahead.
I wanted to go sightseeing and visit Race Ranking on the way.
Then thought it best to phone ahead to check it would be open to save a wasted journey.

Sorry for the terrible analogies I think I have been reading too many of Andreas’ posts but there is always something to learn from them as long as you read to the end.

I am going to ask for my post to be transferred over to a Race Ranking thread and see if anyone wants to take it up from there. I’m a supporter of Race Ranking as a means of identifying consistent over-performers and under-performers,

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Thank you for prompt and honest answers.

Could anyone move this thread to a Race Ranking thread or is this something I should be able to do myself?

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Results based, in my opinion, would be easier to manipulate by individuals… multiply that to 3/400 people a week and lower category get ruined again, each time.

Data based seems the logical way to go… critical power (if calculated fairly) will iron out those underperforming (e.g using races to base ride and then smashing out 1 in 10 races for example).

Ive been bumped up myself, B cat now (formally c cat, 3.0wkg and finishing in 2nd group races nost of the time with the odd, rare podium). Need to drop thr kgs and up the fitness… seen as im down 38kgs from my rugby playing “peak”, im sure i can do a bit more!!!

The news: There is no race ranking thread!

They wanted everything under the same thread. For convenience, they said. PR trick, I say. Every new idea drowns in a thread with thousands of replies and no one but the usual suspects have the energy to try get into the discussion. The discussion then got split in two in time for the test since people started writing here too (instead of in the big thread in the Racing subforum).

But… let’s make one! And make it long and noisy.


If it’s a crude points-based system, then yes.

If it’s a more sophisticated system based on who you beat and how they normally perform, then not so much.

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Thank you for the split, @Gerrie_Delport_ODZ !

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You lot keep me very busy.

:rofl: :ride_on:

Edit: this must be the shortest post by Andreas ever.


I daren’t ask you to go through the Anti-sandbagging thread to pull out all the ranking threads to merge into this one …


Good thread title, thanks

NOOO!!! We’re so close to 4k on that one!


I could be mistaken, but I think the general consensus among everyone on the forums is that a race ranking system [in the current state of things] would be tied to the Cat Enforcement system, and be able to ensure that a rider is indeed within a reasonable peak performance.

Not, removing the cat enforcement mathematics all-out, but conjoining the two as a check and balance system.

You aren’t wrong though, but does that not happen in the real world either? Some others were referring to it as the yo-yo effect of being bumped up and down.
Someone had said it in the cat enforcement that, some people might be at peak performance, and are now at the bottom of a cat, and there’s nowhere for them to go short of not racing at all. That’s not really a solution.

Granted, for the sake of saying it just one more time; would any of this be a problem if a single extra category existed to tighten them up? (ignoring A+, I realize A is a mess without A+); it might not be.

I cant see that working like that .

Firstly I think they operate in different principles (prediction versus outcome)
Secondly the current complexity in the cat world ( and IMO all the problems with it ) would just really becomes ridiculously so if you tried to join the two measures into one . You would have two different calculations on the own objectively based , joining together into something that would IMO be entirely subjective ( how you join the two measures into one metric) .

Thats not to say there is not a place for category maths somewhere , and for sure pen enforcement in some form.

Where I see Ranking really being easy to adopt is perhaps the higher eschelons . Cat and Pen enforcement for example makes no sense at all in an A Cat race as there is no higher limit it is an open event. so maybe Ranking events should by definition be completely lilke that . uncategorised to start with.
Anyone can enter a ranking event to get a ranking progression

Ranking races then just becomes that a way to get your race rank and measure it as a personal metric.
Then I see it being something that could be used (as is now in the ZRL series to put riders ( as opposed to teams in that series) into divisions for race seasons/series.
So whilst Pen Enforcement is of more value to C/D , removing the demoralising influence of stronger riders dropping or cruising to victories , Race Ranking is more something for those ( not all ) who find themselves in A/B

This then starts to open up a lot more interest and diversity in the entire race format .

Sporting Events
Open Events
Category Events
(Category Series)
Ranking Events
Ranking Series

So you might like to enter Category events because that day ( or as a matter of preference) you want to line up with riders you are likely to be very equal to . This is no doubt enjoyable for many , and indeed even those of us who favour a ranking approach for sure would still enter those for same reason.

Sometimes or your preference however might be to race not for that experience but into something far more competitive based with the objective not to just win but to improve in a more “traditional” race format.

It breaks the monotony of knowing that if there is only 1 type of event divisioned by a single mtric you are going to be always in for the (relative) same sort of outcome.

Breaking this up like this you “might” fine that you are not doing well in a Category enforced racing , but can do better in a Ranking series event because they are divided in a completely different way.


Possibly for keeping people out of C/D. I think that modelling starts to break down the farther you go up.

Using myself as a (possibly poor) example. In five years, about 1000 races as a B, I only ever won one competitive B race. I was usually in the finish sprint, but since I have no sprint, very rarely on the podium.

Losing weight last year moved me up to A, and now in a non-competitive race (few heavy hitters) I usually stay with the front, or the chase. But still nowhere near the podium.

So where should I be racing? I suspect I would enjoy B’s more as I would get dropped from the front group less often. And would be top 5 or 8 more often than top 10-15.

Currently, I suck it up and race A’s, if for no other reason than the race quality is almost better, and even finishing 10th I get better ranking points on average than the person finishing first in B’s (even when the B’s started with me.) In other words, same race, just a different category designation.

My request for a ranking system is first one that is better than current and second, it should rank everyone that starts together (and gets applied to people that start but drop out.)


I think most of the naysayers when discussing ranking for Zwift are just afraid of a worse racing experience than what they have today. Which probably amounts to them having a sweet time right now and thus having something to lose (the might podium less). But @Graham_Irvine_London is on to something important.

I’ve been a gamer all my life, a hopeless first-generation gamer who will probably be doing that in a retirement home long after I can no longer ride a bike. So I’m familiar with the ranking systems so common in many of the major competitive online games of today. Systems which work surprisingly well actually. And it seems there was never any issue creating those systems. Users never had to beg endlessly for years for them. The developers just created them and put them in. Just like that.

Now, the way it usually works is there are two ways of playing these games, both rely on matchmaking. Every player is calibrated early on. And then recalibrated in intervals. You can compare it to AutoKitten or the Zwift test model. The calibration says something about where the player stands today relative to other players. It’s a performance measure, just like the Zwift performance categories. Only they are not based on some theorycrafting some hot cycling/gaming coach came up with. They are based on a machine learning model and actual user data.

E.g. the model might take click rate into account. Typically, a good player will click the mouse much more often than a beginner. Is it better to click often? Is that how you win? No, not at all. It just turns out there is a statistical correlation between click rate and win rate, the model found out, so it uses that. And if it turned out that players with player names beggning with an ‘N’ were more prone to winning than players with names beginning with a ‘P’, then it would use that too. Completely irrelevant data in a sense but correlated with winning. A completely different approach than Zwift’s futile attempts at capturing “the essence of cycling” by relying on theories rather than facts, user data.

Then, once the player is calibrated, he can enter matches (think races) starting at a level corresponding to his calibration/start rank. He can either join ranked games or more casual, unranked games. Should he choose to play umranked, everything he does in-game still affects his calibration. He will thus always face fairly equal opposition and most players will hence have about a 50% win rate in 1-1 matchups (single or team games).

If he chooses to play ranked games, once the initial calibration is completed, the calibration measures no longer govern his mobility in the ranks past that point. Rather, it is his results. If he goes on an early winning streak, then he will climb in ranking and will soon face stiffer competition. If he starts to lose a lot instead, then the calibration obviously didn’t quite do it’s job in matching him against suitable opposition, but it’s OK because the changes in rank score will sort it out instead.

Then, on a day when the player doesn’t feel he can bring his A-game and just wants a casual game, he can still join an unranked game. The matchmaking will use his current, continuously readjusted calibration but the game result will not affect his ranking. So there is one official (“ranking”) rank score and one hidden (calibration).

You can translate calibration with performance-based category (current A-D) and rank score with a ranking we still don’t have (well, we do on ZP only it is mismanaged and distorted by the current rule set but given a new model and rule set it could work).

Tell me why this isn’t the best mix of two worlds and tell me why this wouldn’t be a vast improvement for Zwift and the community. I think it’s vastly superior to what we have and it is a proven concept already.


The general consensus is that the ranking system would be tied to a category/pen enforcement system for ranking-based categories. The role for something resembling current W/kg-based categories would be limited to seeding those riders into the system who do not have enough recent race results to generate a meaningful ranking.