All About Zwift Racing League Playoffs and Promotion/Relegation

All About Zwift Racing League Playoffs and Promotion/Relegation

Tomorrow is the final race of Zwift Racing League Season 2 – a TTT on London’s Greatest London Flat.

But this season is ending differently that ZRL’s Season 1. This time around, top teams are being invited to a Battle Royale Play-Off on Friday and Saturday! Here are the details, including notes about how relegation and promotion will work for all teams…

Playoff Schedule

The two-day event takes place on March 5th and 6th:

  • March 5 – Points Race on Richmond UCI Worlds (2 Laps)
    • Men Race at 19:05 UTC (14:05 Eastern, 11:05 Pacific)
    • Women Race at 19:45 UTC (14:45 Eastern, 11:45 Pacific)
    • Powerups: Aero, Burrito, Feather
    • Intermediates: Monument Ave Sprint, Broad Street Sprint, Libby Hill KOM (both laps)
  • March 6 – TTT on Watopia’s Magnificent 8 (1 Lap)
    • Women Race at 19:05 UTC (14:05 Eastern, 11:05 Pacific)
    • Men Race at 19:45 UTC (14:45 Eastern, 11:45 Pacific)

See WTRL’s Courses & Times page for route details including powerups and intermediates.

Playoff Participants

Only Division 1 teams are invited to the playoffs. More specifically, only the top 2 teams in each Division 1 are invited.

So if your ZRL Division was A-1, B-1, C-1, or D-1, and you finish 1st or 2nd in your division after race #8, you are eligible to compete in the playoffs.

Playoff Structure

The playoffs are points-based, just like the regular season. All team points will be reset to 0 heading into the playoffs, then the normal points structure will be used for the two playoff races.

The winner in each division will be the team with the highest team score after the two playoff races.

Playoff Rules

Teams can’t bring in “ringers” for the playoffs – squads have to be defined beforehand, and riders must have completed at least 4 teams with their ZRL team in order to race for that time in the playoffs. Furthermore, some ZADA verification will be in place for all participants.

Rule specifics from WTRL:

  • Nominated squads of 10: 4-6 compete each day
  • All riders in squad must have completed at least 4 races with the ZRL Team.
  • ZADA assisted verification for A1 Teams – basic height and weight verification for B-1, C-1 & D-1 teams.
  • A-1 Division teams must:
    1. connect trainer as primary power source (not pedals/crank/hub power meter)
    2. dual record and submit files within 2 hours of each race’s completion
    3. wear a fully-functioning HRM connected and transmit to Zwift
    4. submit height and weight video taken within 12 hours of race start

Note: the A-1 requirements above are basic requirements of the ZRL Premier Division, which is governed by Zwift’s ESports Ruleset. For further details, see Zwift Cyling Esports Rules.

What Is At Stake?

This weekend’s playoff will determine which A-1 teams get promoted to the ZRL Premier Division. This is a big deal, as the Premier Division is where cash prizes are awarded, races are live-streamed by Zwift, and teams get a custom in-game kit.

In many ways, promotion to Premier Division is the Zwifty equivalent of moving from amateur to pro team status. It’s the top of the heap in terms of Zwift racing, and you can be sure A-1 teams will give all they have to get promoted!

For lower categories (B, C, and D) this weekend’s playoff is just an optional championship round which doesn’t affect promotion and relegation in any way. These categories are competing for a title – nothing more. Whoever wins the Battle Royale will be crowned “Season 2 World Champion” for their category, but promotion and relegation are based on regular-season results (see below).

Promotion (and Relegation)

Once race 8 is finished, WTRL will finalize promotions and relegations between divisions. The promotions and relegation structure is fairly simple: the top two teams in each Division will be promoted up to the next division, and the bottom 2 will be relegated down a division.

The only exception to this is if you’re in a top or bottom division for a category (eg, B-1, or perhaps C-5). Teams will not be forced to promote up to a new category (eg, B-1 to A-4). Rather, WTRL says those teams, and especially dominant 1st-place teams in Division 1, will be encouraged to promote up to the next category. Teams will never be relegated to a lower category, so if you were a bottom team in a bottom division (say, C-5), you won’t be relegated to a D Division.


  • You placed 1st or 2nd in your B-2 Division. You will be promoted to B-1.
  • You placed 1st or 2nd in your D-1 Division. You will be encouraged to promote to C-4 (or whatever the lowest C division is for your sub-region).
  • You placed last (or second-to-last) in your A-1 Division. You will be relegated to A-2.
  • You placed last (or second-to-last) in your C-4 Division (the lowest C division in your sub-region). You will stay in your division, since you can’t be relegated to a lower category.

Season 3 Changes

ZRL Season 1 and 2 saw very “loose” team structures, with teams not required to provide a set signup lists for their team members. This allowed teams to bring in “ringers” and swap riders out as much as they’d like, as long as the riders were within the proper category.

This relaxed approach to team structure was done to encourage participation, but it results in a neutered promotion/relegation process, since teams could bring in a completely new list of very strong riders, making their past performance a moot point.

WTRL assures us that, “Season 3 will see more restrictions on riders and multiple teams including pre-nominating a team.” This seems like a welcome change!

Questions or Comments?

Share below!

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 month ago

This sounds awesome. I am looking for a team for season 3! Let me know if anyone has a spot 🙂

1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Your best bet is to head to the Facebook page:

aoi niigaki
aoi niigaki
1 month ago

What sort of cash prizes are we talking about here? I tried google and couldn’t find any mention of the amounts involved. I’m just interested in the recent Zwift bans of riders for fudging their dual recording power numbers and how much is Zwift money a motivation.

Vince Hounsome
Vince Hounsome
1 month ago

Zwift needs to make power/speed match the real world a bit closer. This was our first season. We are in the bottom of B9 and the team all do well in the real world. but we quite often get beaten by a team of 11 to 14 year olds. There is an 11 year old girl who weighs 27kgs she did a race at 28mph and stayed with the lead group. I am not sure this reflects what would really happen. I guess its still fun to do though. most of our team do tt’s as the club season is… Read more »

1 month ago
Reply to  Vince Hounsome

Is there any reason why a game and sport in its own right has to match real world dynamics?

1 month ago
Reply to  WTRL

If it doesn’t match the real world then why verify real world height and weight?

1 month ago
Reply to  Ben

errrr – the game has an algorithm that uses your height and weight not only to determine the shape of your avatar but also your wkg etc….

1 month ago
Reply to  WTRL

If the algorithm is not accurate, verifying accurate heights and weights won’t make the game fair. The unfairness is already baked in. People should be honest, but I’d also like to see some transparency about the algorithm and validation of its accuracy from zwift if they’re going to expect this level of effort into keeping the user side accurate.

1 month ago
Reply to  Vince Hounsome

Well, Zwift is not a real world.

Mike (@mhead73nz)
1 month ago

The TTT start times differ from the WTRL website

1 month ago
Reply to  Mike

Yup, this is listed for Saturday for PST:

Sat, 06 Mar 2021 – 11:45 AM ZWIFT RACING LEAGUE | WTRL – Season 2 Playoffs (Mens)

Jeroen Speelmans
Jeroen Speelmans (@jeroenspeelmans)
1 month ago

I’m curious about the ‘encouraged to promote’ part. Best teams of their category certainly have a place in the higher one, but will they leave the division where they know they can keep winning? It would only make sense if riders had to stick to their team, so pre-nominating that could help. I’m convinced some strong riders might ‘discover’ their true category. Our team finished 3rd in your league last season Eric. With some ‘almost A’ riders at the end we decided to move to A. It’s quite fun to race in A4 if you don’t mind to dig deep… Read more »

1 month ago

Is it just me or are the weight/height videos for B through D cat a bit vague? Do we just do one video for both playoff races? A separate video for each of the 2 races? Any specific rules to follow for the video?

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