What changes exactly were made to draft mechanics for TdF event rides?

Hi Zwift, please can you publically announce exactly what has changed about draft mechanics for the Tour de France event rides?
There’s definitely something very off.
For instance, I got dropped on a downhill whilst super-tucking, the group pulled 4s ahead doing 3w/kg. At the end of the hill, I pushed 5-6w/kg for at least 30seconds, but I wasn’t able to close any time at all on a group doing 3w/kg?? Normally this small a gap would be no problem to close. But with current draft mechanics, it seems impossible?
See clip: https://www.twitch.tv/shakenbakeuk/clip/CrispyDarlingPotatoCoolStoryBob

It’s noticeable on the pro event races too, once a group pulls ahead, ain’t nobody catching them til the end of the race. Whilst it’s cool that attacks can now “stick” a lot easier, it seems kind of odd that you can’t gain on a group whilst outputting double their power :S if it’s impossible to reel a group in, that doesn’t make for fun racing, as 1 small mistake causing you to get temporarily dropped = race over.

It’s not cool to make changes to a core mechanic of the game without releasing the specific details to the playerbase!

Here’s the quote from Zwift HQ:
“For the drag question, we often experiment with the algorithms relating to in-game physics. Ahead of the Tour de France, we ran a number of community test events with new drafting algorithm. The new draft makes it easier in the wheels and help to encourage a more aggressive style of racing.”
Here’s Eric’s article in ZwiftInsider: Tour Tweaks
It seems the pack is faster judging by the times set on Watopia during last weekend’s events in the Virtual Tour. I don’t understand it at all, but thought some of this info might be helpful.

1 Like

I’m not 100% sure what you experienced because when I watched your clip it looked like you were chasing riders who were also strung out with little if any drafting on their part. I couldn’t see their wkg compared to yours but wkg is based on a lot of things like weight, height, bike, etc.

However, I found the VTdF a bit, ok a lot, boring as it lacks real racing tactics like breaks, peloton control, lead outs, etc and I attribute that to the lack of a realistic drafting effect. In the game the draft effect doesn’t come close to feeling like a real draft on the road. If it did emulate a real draft then I believe Zwift races would more resemble real road races. Real race strategy and tactics would come into play. There needs to be a much bigger discrepancy between the front and in the wheels.

2 Likes

Just did an RGV discovery ride and concretely realized something I suppose I had seen before but not really paid attention to—normally if you’re riding at or above 33kph you’re in the drops, but as soon as you’re in the draft your avatar “sits up” (to show that you’re drafting). However, basically no one in the ride I just did was ever sitting up, even though (with thousands of riders and the fact that you’re almost always in a group) you should pretty much always be drafting someone else and, thus, sitting up. What am I missing?

if they’re strung out, they’re still getting draft bonus with <4m gap.
they were doing 3w/kg max. i went flat out and couldn’t close a 4 second gap, which is normally no problem for me.

VTdF isn’t boring bcos it lacks breaks - riders can’t break cos group drafting is TOO STRONG - there’s no point going solo cos group will reel you back in with much less effort expended.
also if you get dropped for any reason, you are pretty much 100% done for, because you cannot get back on the group riding solo without an all-in effort (and even if you do make it back on you’re basically screwed cos ur too knackered to go at group’s pace now anyway).

anyway - it wasn’t that boring, Stage 4 was pretty spicy in both mens and womens, especially final 2km. but every single solo breakaway attempt got chased down, and pretty much every single person who got dropped solo was out of the race. so the pack eventually gets whittled down but it’s not particularly obvious who is getting dropped as the commentators don’t really focus on it much.

if the most effective way to win a race is “sit in the middle of a pack, do no attacks for the entire race until the final 1km, and dont get dropped” then there will be lots of boring races.

1 Like

were you on a tron bike? tron bike has no draft animation.

You say that 'basically no one in the ride I just did was ever sitting up". Are you talking about the other riders in the ride, or just yourself? If you’re talking about the other riders, they never sit up to indicate they are drafting; at least not on your screen. Only your avatar sits up to indicate a draft. Other riders also see their avatar sit up when in the draft, but don’t see others who are in the draft sitting up. So, if everyone is in the draft of the person at the front, then only the person at the front would actually see themselves in the drops. Everyone else would see themselves sitting up, even though they would see everyone else in the drops.

3 Likes

@BenJones Not on a Tron Bike and not on a TT bike. But even if I myself were on a Tron Bike (or TT bike), I’d still expect to see others’ draft animation, wouldn’t I?

@Nigel_Tufnel (you must have posted while I was typing ^ this) So… lol if in fact I would only ever see my own draft animation and not others’ (hmmm I’d swear I’ve seen others’ before—but maybe not?), that would be the answer to “What am I missing?” I always ride on view 3 (looking out of my rider’s eyes), so I never see whether I myself am sitting up or not.

No you don’t see other riders animation when they go into the draft.

What you see and what they see are not the same. I bet you were drafting but no one else was on your screen but on their screen they were drafting and you were in the drops.

Yeah I gathered as much from Nigel’s post above. I still do feel like I’ve seen someone in front of me sitting up, but perhaps I’m having a memory from before I started using viewpoint 3 pretty exclusively, and it was really me sitting up lol.

Ben I still respectfully disagree. If a break of say 4 or 5 riders from represented teams could break away and if drafting was like IRL they have a chance of making it because their teammates in the peloton would make the other teams chase. As it is now even you have to put out so many watts just to sit in so there is basically no recover. Everyone is putting out big watts just to hang.
Regarding your conclusion statement about everyone sitting in until the end , well that’s what hills are for, just like IRL. The job of the strong teams is to create splits and this same thing could happen in Zwift even with real life drafting.