Alpe du Zwift is by far the longest, hardest, most intimidating climb in game. Modeled as a GPS-accurate replica of the famous Alpe d’Huez, its 21 hairpin turns average 8.5%, and riders climb 1035 meters (3,396′) over 12.2 km (7.6 miles) to reach the summit.
Many Zwifters who’ve never climbed Alpe du Zwift ask the same question: how long will it take me?
Luckily, ZwiftPower has built up a history of Alpe du Zwift segment times, so you can see what sort of time you can expect.
To get to the data, go to ZwiftPower.com and click Segments>Alpe du Zwift, then click Analysis. Or just click here. You be greeted with a chart like this:
Mouse over each point in the graph to see the w/kg and time of each ZwiftPower user’s Alpe personal best!
Using this data we can make some time estimates based on w/kg:
- 2 w/kg: 90 minutes
- 2.5 w/kg 75 minutes
- 3 w/kg: 62 minutes
- 3.5 w/kg: 55 minutes
- 4 w/kg: 49 minutes
- 4.5 w/kg: 44 minutes
- 5 w/kg: 40 minutes
- 5.5 w/kg: 37 minutes
- 6 w/kg: 35 minutes
- 6.5 w/kg: 32 minutes
Pretty cool, huh? Keep in mind these are just estimates. Your time will vary based on frame/wheel choice, your height and weight, how much drafting you’re doing, and when you apply your power on the climb (hint: go hardest when the road is steepest). But the above estimates should be within a minute or two of your finishing time.
You can use the ZwiftPower tool to look up Power vs Time graphs for all timed segments in Zwift. This includes Box Hill, the Fuego Flats sprint, the Central Park loop, and much more! Just click “Segments” in the main menu to get started.
Questions or Comments?
I love that course, is very hard to do it. My best time is 54:12 🚴🏻♀️🚴🏻♀️🚴🚴🇨🇴🇨🇴🇨🇴🇨🇴
My best time is 43.11, I’ve just done my 300th Alpe Climb on Sunday .
So my 43rd birthday is in a month and it will take about 4.6 w/kg for me to ride my age in minutes, all this says I need to do is ride my current best 20 minute power back-to-back-to-back. Seems doable, if there were a magic pause button to recover for two hours.
Well at 4.6W/Kg that’s 45minutes on the graph. As your 20min max should be ~95% of your hour power, you have a month to find 3% (or lose a couple of kg). Should be easy 😉
Great article. It did inspire me to look up the record accent up Alpe D’Huez. Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong in a very different era at 37’35” and 37’36” respectively. Strava KOM Romain Bardet 41’23”.
Clearly there’s a lot of zwifters who have missed their calling and should be suiting up for the 2020 Tour de France in September. Either that, or there’s a lot of dodgy setups out there. 🤔
Are you doubting the validity of the 15m50s @ 14.17w/kg rider??
Yeah. Him, and the 30 odd riders around the 33 minute mark. More than 10% faster than a 1997 Pantani and a 2004 Armstrong, and we all know how thick their blood was. Around 20% faster than Cadel Evans.
There’s a decent chance some of them will be current pros (e.g. Rohan Dennis winning the Ineos race up there). Also I believe the course is slightly shorter than the official TDF race climb, which has an extra bit at the top. Also seems that the pro approach to the Alpe is to just TT it up relatively fresh rather than coming to it at least 100km into a ride with at least one big climb already in the legs. And slightly more random one, I’d be interested to know how much having the crowd there (and in the way)… Read more »
Today I saw the 2004 Alpe TT with Lance A winning. He did it in 39:40(ca.) Ulrich 1 min. slower. In Zwift there are dopers.. obviously.
Re the crowd. If they are shouting for you, that’s worth a hell of a lot. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s the most unbelievable adrenaline hit you can get.
You’ve obviously never had to jump out of a second story window carrying all the clothes you could gather in 3 seconds.
I used to believe I was a pretty decent cyclist until I started using Zwift. Suddenly I see people who cannot hold my wheel IRL completely destroying me on Zwift …
My wife… riding next to me on the smart trainer. Destroys me on Zwift 100% of the time. IRL I’d take the chocolates 80% of the time.
It is not necessarily about a dodgy setup. I have just managed my fastest time up the Alpe of 57:20, which was around 3.2w/k. However, I am under no illusions that I could do that in the real world, given that my trainer can only simulate grades up 6-7%, which means that, as I set the trainer at 100% “difficulty” the climb basically feels exactly the same all the way up, bar a few points where the grade dips through the hairpin. That suits me, because I am at my strongest as a rider when I can just get into… Read more »
You know that doesn’t change your time right. Power is power and provided you swap the right cassette on your bike you could do the exact same effort and time on the real thing. The trainer difficulty is just like changing cassettes.
Goodluck getting the same time with trainer difficulty at 100% . Go try it. So much changing gear, your power will be all over the place.
My fastest time up Alpe is with difficulty set to 100%. But most of the time it’s set to around 80%. I don’t change gear any less. It converts my 25t cassette into a 28t cassette and means I can spin a bit more rather than grinding it out on the steep bits. I could fit a 32t cassette and set difficulty to 125% if that were possible and could happily spin it out.
This should probably be some kind of skewed normal curve but I infer it is not, which is a sign of manipulation or screw-up. Whenever i use Zwift Power and look at the strava results of very high w/kg i always find oddities. It is like sitting in a crit without a power meter, seeing a very high Strava inferred power, and “calibrating” to that. Which is why so many cry when they get a tacx neo lol
Thank you! I have a Tacx Neo and I was wondering how come I am so bad compare with these guys!?!?!? Now I see that not everybody gets the same 🙂
So true. So many strong zwift rider with crap setup thinking they are really that strong. Irl they get dropped right off the bat.
Speed/time on AdZ is also very optimistic compared to AdH.
Afaik you’ll need appr. 4Wkg to break 1hr on the Alpe … on Zwift you’d already gain 11minutes according to above table…
Still think that times in the 33-35 range can be legit for stronger riders! doesn’t seem to be an out of this world performance honestly
Yes, there are factors that would make AdZ easier than AdH (no wind, no altitude = no loss of oxygen, the ability to set trainer gradient realism to less than 100% = less/no gear changes, slightly shorter course, no bottles on bike = lighter setup etc). But this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaoqPzDtRbs) tends to suggest it’s maybe 5.5 minutes faster, rather than the 11 minutes you refer to. (And perhaps a little more reliable than AFAIK). Even giving them a 5.5 min head-start puts those times on par with EPO assisted 7-time TdF “winner” Lance Armstrong and a good few minutes faster than… Read more »
Could have done with this on Saturday Eric!!!
Got my Avid Climber badge whilst getting Tour of Fire and Ice Badge, but when my ETA appeared near the end it said 60:20 😭
I tried my best and got it down to 60:00 bang on, but if I had carried on I would have ended up having sick blown back in my face by my fan. So gutting. 😂😂😂.
Will have to give it another go. Great article.
Took 5 minutes off my Alpe PR in the Tour for All race yesterday – 49m44s. Averaged 274W, which is 3.9 W/kg for me. Pretty much bang on the button!
Great article! I decided to go for it on the Tour For All ride yesterday and managed to get the Liftoff badge… damn near killed me however! (55m12s @ 280w / 3.3 w/kg av – totally tallies with that chart)
I did it in 1:28:36
I’m 58 and weigh 112kg!!
Only started cycling again after 37 years and four children!!
I’m in the same time frame. I give the Ride Ons as people fly by. Its fun seeing them fall from the sky.
Thanks for the data, this is very interesting. I am trying to come up for an explanation for the statistical gap between ~4.5 and ~5.5 w/kg – It looks like a bit of a dead zone in terms of finishers. Could it be everyone above this threshold is some kind of pro (versus the mere mortals on the left hand side of the distribution) or has a wonky power setup? The Coggan chart uses right around here as the breaking point between Cat 1 and International Class for FTP so there should in theory only be a handful of people… Read more »
The obvious explanation is they weight dope. If you’re going to drop your weight then why stop at 55kg when you can go all the way down to 45kg? When team Ineos did their race they were doing 5w/kg. People doing 6-7w/kg are weight doping.
I don’t understand either. Speaking for myself, I’m right in the middle (39.22 at 343W/69kg)
last week did a race on AdZ (French and Italy fuzion) and definitely saw multiple riders around my time, so don’t understand this gap as a lot of stronger riders will be around 5Wkg?!? with the elite/pro riders a couple minutes faster as it should be!
Yeah — I thought the “gap” was interesting… but as the best pros go up AdH in ~40 min, I think it’s due to people weight doping, and if they weight dope a little, well… why not weight dope a lot?
“When an event finishes at the same point as a segment, (Alpe du Zwift) Zwift often fails to capture and send the data to ZwiftPower for said segment.” from the Zwiftpower forum. This probably explains why there are realatively few data points for such a popular climb.
And for you dedicated D riders who can steadily put out 1.68 watts like the Little Engine That Could, it will take you 1h49m. But you can do it.
That’s me, basically. Anybody can get up there if they’re willing to go slow enough.
A little depressing when my PB for the Alpe is so slow that it doesn’t even appear on the chart, but oh well.
Yup, I’m 70, 68 kg, and it took 1:45:00….pretty much jives with chart
~1.6 got me 1:57 on my first try recently (and I was SO THRILLED because I realized I had a shot at sub-2 halfway up if I could basically hold the pace I was riding at at that point for another full hour and not let it drop off. It was deeply, deeply rough as I was basically going at 90-95% of FTP for two hours, and that hurts no matter what your FTP is.) It’s not on the zwiftpower chart because I was freeriding and zwiftpower only counts event results. I do wish Zwift had a few more badges… Read more »
Sooner or later you will get the wheels regardless of how long it takes to get to the summit 💥
I may be at the 99.9th pctl going up, but I’m at 7% going down 😉
What’s the fastest time on a mountain bike
LOL, MTB is miserable choice, but when there was a mission recent involving total climb on MTB, I just did two trips up Alpé as quickest path to achieve. I’m pretty steady at 50-55 minutes normal effort, MTB took about 65-70 I think.
Did it on Saturday and I didn’t go for it, really found it a challenge off the back of riding and running for past 14 days (got my unemployment badge 👍) but got a PB time of 1:16. Was pretty happy with that, never gonna get under the hour, I’m 101kg so gotta do 350watts for the hour, that’s going to be a bit too much.
On another note Eric, dunno how you manage to hand out all them ride ons! Everytime I’m Zwifting you give out one, pretty cool dude 👍
1:16 is a great time, many ‘normal’ people would not have the determination to do this at all, and if they did, it would probably take +2 hours
With that said, if you want to improve, i would try to get the weight down. Depending on how much of your bodyweight is muscle, it should be possible to drop 15 kg, which would take the required power from 350 to 300. 50 watts is a huge difference
The weight thing is definitely the key. After a hypertension diagnosis last May, I totally revamped my diet and have dropped from 20st to around 15st (around 96 kg).
Holding pretty much bang on my FTP of 317 allowed me to get up in 57:20 when my first ride in January 2019 was 1:44. If you can drop just a few kilos, it really does make a hell of a difference.
Hmm…for about a month now I’ve been making excuses that I’d never make it up the Alpe at 2.5w/kg for what I assumed would be close to two hours. I was going to do the Big Loop for stage 4 of the Tour for All, but I think I’ll give the AdZ a try.
I did it! 77:52
Thank you, Eric, for providing such an awesome site!
On Saturday, I took on the Alpe for the second time in the Tour for All Stage Four event. The first time, three weeks ago, I rolled a 68:08 and could not see how I was going to take 8 minutes off and get the Lift-Off badge. On Saturday, I came out of the gate a little hard and started fading about half way up the hill as was evidenced by my dropping w/kg numbers. The hard start cost me though: 60:16. Dammit, 16 seconds. Obviously, I’m going to have give it another shot and do a better job of… Read more »
I’ve had the privilege to have ridden Alpe d Huez twice in the last 10 years. Took me 64 and 68 minutes. Four years apart. I haven’t managed under 70 on Zwift. I think it’s an excellent replica
You crashed the page Eric. LOL
This is very cool. Thanks for doing this! I’m so slow I set up a movie and settle in for a long haul!
Cliche I know but if you switch ur bike to a stiffer bottom bracket and a decent trainer like a kickr, you’ll smash your pr
Looks like 3.2 w/kg generally should get you up in less than 60 minutes
I chuckled at the watts/kilo starting at 2. I’d love to see the distribution of watts per kilo of all Zwifters. I would bet that there is a good many below 2 (e.g.: Moi). 🙂
I didn’t even make the chart! Must lose weight
Hard to trust any data about times needed to climb ADZ due to the many various suer provided variants in rider configurations for both personal and trainer setups. IMHO, race yourself, be honest, and just aim to set as many new PRs consistently as possible. Enjoy yourselves, ride on!
I’m told you can climb the Alp in workout/ERG mode. Never tested this all the way up. Might be good to set yourself up in manual workout, set a specific wattage and just go for it. Problem I have when climbing in normal mode is having wattage drop-off every time the climb flattens out a little. Kills the average and I’ll never get that sub 60 minute badge.
That’s one of my favorite legal hacks for light workload workouts. Pick or create a workout with mostly zone 1-2 stretches, load Road to Sky route AND the workout. You get big drops due to the climb plus decent XP based on workout minutes rather than the extremely low distance/min normal rate you’d get on free ride. Plus if you time the workout right and finish near but before the top, you can finish off the ride post-workout to get spin of prize wheel. WIN-WIN-WIN
I’ll do that at least twice a week. Takes me roughly 70 minutes for a recovery workout, 56ish minutes at 75% FTP and 47 minutes at sweet spot. Never have tried a full out effort though.
First time coming up today as part of the TfA… shooting for better than 1:15.
Thank you for the awesome climb! You guys rock at Zwift!! You know it would be way cool to see the Stelvio too. Happy climbing.
Did 60’07” at 3.2, so pretty good estimate
So, which level do I need to ride this course?
Think it’s level 6. Good luck
That’s an interesting diminishing return at higher wattage, perhaps less people to draft when doing those numbers? Or going faster adds more wind resistance? Doesn’t really inspire me to go from 4.5 to 5.5w/kg.
I’m 41 yo, 5’10”, 95kgs, and an FTP of 247w. When I ride the alpe, its usually as a “fun run” trying to get the wheels, so my PB is 83 mins. After my current training program and main race for the year this June, I’ll try a full on effort up the mountain. I don’t think it will be anything close to the sub 60 min efforts folks are posting..
I’ve found i go up faster when I ignore the dig deeper rule because you don’t have that many matches to burn. If you do you are lying to yourself about your pace the rest of the time
Road to sky in done in 23.13 yesterday by zwifer
I find it interesting that the variability in times increases as you select for riders with less w/kg, which seems to imply that choice of bicycle/setup (and group size) makes a larger impact on your time. Do we see the same SEM if we are able to select only certain frames/wheels/groups? Is the data available to compare solo rides versus group rides up? What about the magic rubber-band effect when you create a group ride? Can you get under 1 hour badge with a group ride?
I take it ZwiftPower only shows data in this chart from event/races ?
I have been up the Alpe a few times but only on solo rides and my data does not show.
Can anyone share some more details on the intermediate powerup timers? I understand that when you see the thumbs-up icon painted on the road, that’s the start of one. But how far do you have to go for each in the allotted time? Honestly, I’m so tunnel-visioned just turning the pedals over that I can’t process the tiny data on the screen (and until reading about them in one of Eric’s posts, I didn’t even know these were a thing, since there’s almost nothing in-game to announce or explain them). So I’d love to be able to estimate how much… Read more »
I have the same question, not sure it has been answered. My own theory is that the power-ups are timed in a way that allows the rider to either To (i) score a PR, based on previous times or (ii) break the 60-minute mark if keeping the pace. Either way, they are fairly hard to get.
@eric should know…
First time yesterday and did it in 1hr 34. I’m happy with that.
ADZ = Road to Sky and I think to ride it in an hour is 3.14wkg making it Pi in the Sky. Apologies if this has already been mentioned elsewhere 🙂
First time up today in Tour for all race. Managed a win😁. Only about 10 riders in in mind 🙄. I have a wheel on trainer (elite qubo fluid) with no resistance. So just sat in two gears all the way up. I use a Powertap rear wheel so data good.
Im a shade under 70kg and managed 45.21. Average 306w so was about what expected with wpkg. As for pacing though was terrible. Hard first 10 min so blew a bit in middle. Guessing most make that mistake.
Great article! The chart shows that 4 w/kg is required for 49 min. I recently did 48:30 at 3.95 w/kg so that fits perfectly. I really like doing the climb as an alternative to a standard FTP test.
First attempt, took 62 minutes with 244w, for next attempt I set my target power for each sector as 250w, only one sector dropped below this and it was 249w, result 58m20s, nothing left for a sprint finish, but no deterioration towards the end either. Using the power per sector figure on the left for pacing certainly helped.
Disappointed that average power for a 58 minute climb was 253w, but zwift then assessed my FTP as 244w. Also first attempt was on the time trial bike (D’oh) using the specialized tarmac probably helped as well.
Zwift’s FTP detection is very rudimentary – it’s just based on your best 20-minute average power. If you were able to do 253 for 58 minutes, though, it’s safe to say your FTP is at least 253!
TT bikes are definitely slower than the Tarmac. Wheel choice matters as well–even more so, in fact.
Are you sure regarding wheel choice? I have calculated for a 75kg rider riding at 4w/kg (using your data) the difference between the fastest (Lightweights) and slowest (Shimano C60) is equal to 3 Watts (based on data above). Frames make more of a difference, the difference between the Tarmac Pro and the Zwift Carbon is 4.5 Watts.
I’ve just finished my first attempt at it tonight having in my head it was 8% average then being hit with continuous 10%+ climbs and wondering where the flatter bits were to average it out again. Had hoped to get under 60 mins but finished with 61m 49s. Should have researched a bit more to understand the W/kg needed for each sector but just rode it blind. Trying to do sums in my head nearing the last few sectors I think it’d have helped listing the distance from last hairpin to the finish? Getting up stairs tomorrow and riding IRL… Read more »
I seem to be able to hold a much higher power output up the alp, in fact it detected a new FTP of 323watts (4.13wkg for me) the other day and that third, similar, result in a week put me into cat A. On the flat events though I struggle to get near 3.9 w/kg (thats not including 95% calculation). So racing flat events in Cat A is seeing me dropped right from the start. Not fun. Thing is there is absolutely my FTP is 323 and i think its realistically around 290ish. Then again, I don’t have a real… Read more »
Robert Chung’s formula (easy to remember):
approximately 3.5 minutes + 180 minutes kg/W.
So if you do:
2 W/kg, approximately 93.5 minutes
3 W/kg, approximately 63.5 minutes
4 W/kg, approximately 48.5 minutes
5 W/kg, approximately 39.5 minutes
Thanks Dan. Not sure who Robert Chung is, but it looks like a great formula. Another way to use it would to determine what power you need for a given time: 180/(ETA-3.5)=wkg.
Example for 1 hour: 180/56.5 = 3.18, which is about what the curve and the experience say.
How much did height affect the scores in your test?
I try not to compare my efforts with other zwift users because you just never know (unless you know someone personally) what equipment they are using, how it is configured, or even if their stated weight is correct – and even about 20-40 watts actually can make a huge difference if you are going at the anaerobic threshold or full gas and try to keep up with someone. Zwift is great for comparing and analyzing your own efforts, and that’s what I use it for. BTW my best Alpe d’Huez time is IRL, it was during a local race from… Read more »
Just took me 79’16”. I was 56th out of 78 finishers. I am very happy with that. My weight is 76kg, height 182cm, age 592,361 hours when I did it. I am two hours older now.
For everesting on Zwift do you to have to complete the whole alp du Zwift segment each time I.e including the 30 seconds or so of the flat bit at the top before you turn round and go back down.
It took me 3 agonising hours 🥺😂
Come on, guys. Zwift is a game, after all. People use a wide variety of equipment and setups. Some of the times people are boasting here belong in the realm of fairy tales. I am an old man, but have been riding for many years. I have been on Zwift for several months now. Most of the “D” rides I have been on are advertised as beginner rides. They average 30 km/h ! That’s ridiculous. So much for reality. By the way, I have been up the REAL Alpe, on two consecutive days. With a hybrid bike and a road… Read more »
Useful article. First attempt and I got up just about in one piece! Some very quick riders out there. Absolutely loving Zwift.
Gutted to ride up it today pushing 3.5 but was in a meet up, so actually got my worst time. I could cry, I tried so hard!
I did 45:36 yesterday (69kg, 300W avg) – good fit with above curve. However I am using Assioma 2 pedals, meaning power measured at pedal axis and constant resistance not automatically set by the trainer. Furthermore I was standing not sitting for ~41 minutes out of the total. What time would that translate into under standard conditions?