WattsUP – Using the Sticky Draft for a Hill-Climb Attack Strategy

WattsUP – Using the Sticky Draft for a Hill-Climb Attack Strategy

This week’s Zwift Racing League event (Innsbruckring 3-lapper followed by the Innsbruck Q/KOM) was definitely not a pretty race.  Many of the tactics involved who in the team would focus on sprints and who would focus on the climb.  As I watched the prems, then commentated on some of the racing, then raced myself I saw it mostly turn into a race of attrition up the climb with few tactics playing out. 

But then I saw the dPAC-Elite team do something really cool in the APAC division.  They utilised the sticky draft to launch an attack halfway up the climb.

Check out the video:

So how do you make this work?

Have at least one other teammate in the front group

In this case it was Lindsay and McKie from dPAC Elite who were in the front group of 11 halfway up the climb.  One needs to be the designated attacker (obviously the stronger rider) and the other the designated ‘sticky rider’ who needs to be able to hold a high 1-2 minute power.

Pick a good spot

On this climb it could be broken into thirds, at the end of each third being flatter portions that lowered from 8-10% to 3-4%.  The best place to use this kind of strategy is in the flatter portion where the draft benefit is the biggest.

The execution

Have the sticky rider move to the front of the group when the hill flattens off.  Get the attacker right on their wheel and just hold a steady tempo effort.  From here the attacker launches around their sticky rider at very high watts, about 3-4 w/kg higher.  The sticky rider slightly increases their watts and captures the group behind them in a sticky draft for a few seconds. 

That few seconds is enough to enable the attacking rider to create a good gap on the field before the next incline hits.  If anyone does try and catch they are already on the back foot and have to burn serious matches.

What About You?

If your team has pulled off something amazing in a race, or you’ve seen something tactically great, shoot me a message (or comment below) and I’ll do some analysis on why and how it worked.

About The Author

Anna Russell

Anna is a commentator and producer for Zwift Community Live, racer for Saris the Pros Closet, triathlon and cycling coach, and mum of 2 boys. Passionate about eRacing and sharing her love of the sport.

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M4rk0
M4rk0
7 months ago

That was great. Thanks for the tip!

JayDee
JayDee
7 months ago

Reminded me a bit of the CSGO illegal boost case in 2014, but there were much higher stakes in that game.
In both cases they are using “exploits” in the game with the only difference being, that in the CSGO case it was already specifically banned by the rules.
See https://www.reddit.com/r/GlobalOffensive/comments/2nowkw/discuss_the_fnatic_boost_on_overpass

David Rowbotham
David Rowbotham
7 months ago

Another Tactic which works with sticky draft is to eliminate riders off the back of the group to thin it out … The tactic works if you are the supporting rider you can sit towards the back of the group And ease up a little to let a gap open up infront of you ( any rider/riders behind you that are not paying attention get stuck behind you) Then put in a big kick just before the flat section to get back on to the group and make those riders burn matches to chase back Bonus if those riders come… Read more »

A.Hofmann
A.Hofmann (@ahofmann)
7 months ago

Hopefully this starts getting used by more teams and the pro teams complain about it so that it forces Zwift to remove it. I hate the sticky draft, lol.

Gil_SantaMaria
Gil_SantaMaria
7 months ago

I’ve already been stuck behind another user due to the sticky draft and lost the front group in some races. It is the worst feature or bug in Zwift. I hate sticky draft

Jeff Winkler
Jeff Winkler
7 months ago

The chasers aren’t really “stuck” on Mckie’s wheel if they are putting out the same or lower wkg. For the 1-5 seconds while Lindsey was getting a gap, those riders were doing the same wkg as McKie. Arguably, McKie should have slightly lowered his watts quickly to whatever watts would have still captured Strachan doing 6.8 wkg. As soon as Strachan lifted his output he went by McKie. Just as Strachan accelerated, maybe McKie could have nearly matched his power to keep him “captured” in the sticky draft. As it happened in the video clip, it doesn’t really look like… Read more »

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
7 months ago

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