Zwift Launches Racing-Focused Crit City Map

Zwift Launches Racing-Focused Crit City Map

Created with a course layout and visuals to replicate the feel of a downtown city criterium, Crit City is a map created by racers, for racing. And today, for the first time ever, Zwifters have the opportunity to ride and race the new map!


There are two routes available in Crit City: Downtown Dolphin and Bell Lap. Downtown Dolphin traverses the course in a clockwise fashion, while Bell Lap is counter-clockwise.

They both travel over the same roads, so their length (1.9km/1.2 miles) and elevation (8 meters/26′) are identical.

Photo Gallery

Once you’re done racing the course, a cool-down lap or two will reveal some really nice visuals:

Crit Features

Although Zwift didn’t roll out any new “features” with this map, it’s fair to say that the combination of course layout details makes this a truly unique course in the Zwift universe:

  • Short Lap: this is the shortest course on Zwift Just under 2km in length (the next shortest is LaGuardia Loop at 2.8km), laps here are finished 3 minutes or less for most races.
  • Cross-Course Lines of Sight: three different sections of the course afford racers with a line of sight to a different portion of the route, letting them spot riders who are well ahead or behind. Crit racers know if you’re able to get off the front far enough that the peloton no longer sees you, you stand a better chance of staying away. It’s harder to chase what you can’t see.
  • Lap Counter: a lap counter at the start/finish banner replicates the lap counters used in outdoor criteriums
  • Dead Turns: these sharp turns help make outdoor races more dynamic since riders have to brake into the turn and accelerate hard out of the turn. Although Zwift hasn’t implemented auto-braking on these corners yet, it could be changed in the future.
  • Prime Section: this short, timed climb on the Downtown Dolphin route will surely spice things up each lap! We’re betting many crit races will award prime points on this section.

Slowing It Down

Auto-braking on turns is a rare thing in Zwift–in fact, it only happens in one place, as far as we know. That place is on the 180-degree turn on London’s Classique course, and even there it only happens in one direction.

As riders enter this turn, their speed is automatically slowed to around 21 mph. This gives racers another opportunity to dig hard and attack after the deceleration, which keeps things interesting on an otherwise flat course where few attacks happen.

While most of the turns on Crit City could realistically be negotiated while coasting at high speed (just like outside), the two “dead turns” could have auto-braking added. This is the one feature we would like to see added to the Crit City course.

(And we’re not alone in this opinion: the course was launched only hours ago, but already the Zwift Community is saying, “We love the course–but slow us down in the corners!”)

Automatically slowing riders on these turns would result in two key improvements to the race experience: it would make the ride more realistic, as racers wouldn’t be negotiating hairpin turns at 30mph. And it would make races more dynamic by providing two more attack points per lap.

Category Separation

On a course this small, things can get confusing quickly if there are a lot of riders on course. This can be helped in races if event organizers hide other categories (so you only see the category you are racing).

It will be interesting to see how (or even if) chase races work on Crit City, because tracking which groups are ahead and behind will be nearly impossible after several laps, unless Zwift implements some sort of group tracking feature like we’ve seen in Lambchop race broadcasts.

Event Only

Crit City, like Bologna TT, is an event-only map. This means you can only access it by joining official Zwift events.

It has to be this way currently, because the course would be crowded with thousands of free riders if it was added to the guest map schedule. This is precisely the sort of map Jon Mayfield talked about when the Guest World feature was rolled out nearly a year ago–a smaller map which allows Zwift to “experiment” with new layouts and features.

Learn more about joining a group ride/race
See all upcoming Crit City events

Your Thoughts

Have you raced Crit City yet? What do you think of the routes?

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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1 year ago

Would the map hack that we used to use in the old days work to get someone into this “world”?

I probably wouldn’t bother, but I am curious nonetheless.

Zee Kryder
Super Member
Zee Kryder (@zkryder)
1 year ago

While Social Media has it’s own voice, Zwift Forums can be used to vote on ideas, such as “Crit City and Slower Turns”. If you want it, click the “vote” button at the top left corner.

Adrian H Amos
Adrian H Amos (@ahamos)
1 year ago

Just raced it for the first time last night. The course (Downtown Dolphin) felt like a condensed version of the Innsbruckring. Without auto-braking, I’m not sure it really adds anything that wasn’t already in the game. Looking forward to racing the other way before jumping to any major conclusions.

I did just add my vote to the forum discussion!

1 year ago

It would be easier and better to build a velodrome for zwift. Yes, this route makes no sense.

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