An effective team time trial requires a lot of coordination and focus. A directeur sportif (DS) helps take care of the coordination so a team’s riders can focus on the race!
Is this something you’d like to do? Paul Fitzpatrick fills the role of DS for the Socks4Watts eRacing team in their Zwift team time trials. He’s put together an instructional video to help others fill DS responsibilities for their own teams.
How to DS a Zwift Team Time Trial
What does a DS do?
A directeur sportif helps direct a team before and during a race, giving them information they need to prepare and perform. The DS helps make decisions about team strategy and tactics, and they often offer encouragement. In Zwift races, a DS usually communicates through Discord or another voice chatting service.
A DS may take on responsibilities like:
- Knowing the team’s start time and managing the countdown
- Telling riders how long they should be on the front and how hard to push
- Calling each rider to pull through and drop back
- Altering turn power and duration for riders as needed
- Encouraging and motivating riders
- And more
Tips for a DS
When directing a team, you’ll want to be able to see and hear them. Make sure you’re in the same world as your racers and you have followed all of the team members. Once the race has started, use “Fan View” in the Companion App to locate one of the team’s riders (read more about watching other Zwift racers here). Also, make sure everyone is logged in to your chosen communication service so they can hear you.
The DS comes up with a plan for how hard racers will work and when, including the turns racers will take and their order. This can range from broad to specific – and Paul gets really specific in this video!
First, he refers to Zwift Insider’s 4-rider drafting speed tests and our look at how rider weight impacts speed. Using those, he has created a Zwift TTT Calculator spreadsheet that helps work out each racer’s target power in each position.
A good DS also will know the day’s race course well and inform the team about it. Paul advises noting flat sections, undulating sections where splits could happen, longer climbs, and recovery opportunities on descents.
During the race
While the race is on, the DS will need to make some quick decisions, like whether the riders’ turns need to change, whether to close a split or keep going, or whether to push harder or back off. These decisions are much easier to make and call out when you’re not on the limit in a race effort!
Finally, to show how this all comes together, Paul shares footage from a TTT race that he DS’ed for the Socks4Watts Aero Unicorns team. For more detailed explanations and instructions, watch the full video above.
Have you ever been a DS for a TTT event? Share your tips below! Got questions? Share those as well!