Zwift Racing League (ZRL) is the most popular race series on Zwift, with 16,000-20,000 riders taking part in each round. Many of those riders are new to Zwift racing and/or new to ZRL. Maybe that’s you?
If so, you may be confused by how Points Races work in ZRL. (Don’t worry, we all were when we started!) Specifically, many riders are confused as to how those intermediate segment points work.
Here’s a complete answer. (And watch for a followup post discussing strategic tips for maximizing your segment points!)
Two Ways to Earn Segment Points
For each segment in a ZRL points race, there are two ways to earn segment points: First-Across-the-Line (FAL) and Fastest-Through-Segment (FTS):
- First-Across-the-Line (FAL) Segment Points: given to the first 10 racers who cross the segment’s finish line each time that segment is attempted. The first rider across the line gets 10 points, 2nd gets 9, 3rd gets 8, down to 1 point for 10th. Generally speaking, FAL points are awarded each time through a segment.
- Fastest-Through Segment (FTS) Segment Points: given to the top 10 fastest times through a segment over the course of the entire race. If a segment is attempted multiple times in a race, a single rider could potentially have multiple top-10 FTS times, and thus earn lots of points. For example (see table below) a rider who got 1st in FTS on the first lap and 4th on the next lap would earn 20 + 7 = 27 FTS points for the race. In a 10-lap race, a strong rider could (theoretically) grab all 10 FTS spots!
|FAL (per lap)||10||9||8||7||6||5||4||3||2||1|
|FTS (whole race)||20||15||10||7||6||5||4||3||2||1|
Simply put, FAL points are awarded every time through a segment, and they go to whoever is at the front of the race. FTS points, on the other hand, are given to the 10 fastest times on a given segment, and your position across the segment finish line is of no consequence.
This week, ZRL is racing five laps of Scotland’s Glasgow Crit Circuit. This route has two intermediate segments which will be awarding both FTS and FAL points:
The first Champion’s Sprint attempt actually happens on the lead-in of the race, in the first 40 seconds! The first 10 riders over the line will grab FAL points (10 for 1st, 9 for 2nd, down to 1 for 10th). And the fastest 10 riders through the segment (they’ll show up on the leaderboard on the left) will be in the running for FTS points, although we won’t know for sure if they get those points until the end of the race, because it’s possible that faster segment times will be set on upcoming laps.
The Clyde Kicker is just up the road, and it works exactly like the Champion’s Sprint. The first 10 riders over the line will grab FAL points, and the fastest 10 riders will be in the running for FTS points.
A minute or two later, riders will encounter the Champion’s Sprint again as they wrap up lap 1. Once again, the first 10 riders over the line will grab FAL points. But here’s where it gets interesting with FTS, because riders have a chance now to set even faster times through the segment, bumping out some of those top-10 times from the first attempt.
You’re probably figuring it out by now: the Clyde Kicker is next, and it’s just like the Champion’s Sprint. Once again, the first 10 riders over the line will grab FAL points. And riders get a chance to better their Clyde Kicker segment times and earn a spot in the overall top 10 times for FTS.
Subsequent laps work the same way for each of the two segments: the first 10 riders over the line will earn FAL points, and everyone has a chance to set a faster segment time in a bid to grab FTS points.
The finish of this race is interesting, because it finishes at the Champion’s Sprint finish line. Normall that would mean the first 10 riders across the line will grab FAL points as well as high finishing points – but WTRL announced that no FTS or FAL will be given on the final time through the Champion’s Sprint.
Normally, races ending on a segment finish line effectively bump up the finish points for the top 10 riders.
If you understand the explanation above, then you can understand how we get our Points Distribution charts, like this one for this week’s race:
Points Distribution, Glasgow Crit Circuit (5 Laps)
This chart shows the maximum points a team of 6 could earn in the race. No team will ever do this well, of course, but it lets you see, at a glance, the importance of segment points vs finishing points for a particular race. Here’s how we calculated the values for this particular chart:
- If a team of 6 crossed the Champion’s Sprint finish line in front of everyone else every time, they would grab 10+9+8+7+6+5=45 points each time, for a total of 5×45=225 Sprint FAL points
- If that same team of 6 crossed The Clyde Kicker finish line in front of everyone else every time, they would grab 10+9+8+7+6+5=45 points each time, for a total of 5×45=225 KOM FAL points
- If that same team of 6 set all 10 of the top FTS times for the Champion’s Sprint, they would earn 20+15+10+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=73 FTS points
- If that same team of 6 set all 10 of the top FTS times for The Clyde Kicker, they would earn 20+15+10+7+6+5+4+3+2+1=73 FTS points
- If that same team of 6 were the first across the finish line, they would earn 40+35+30+29+28+27=189 finishing points
That gives us these maximum points for a team of 6:
- Sprint FAL Points: 225
- Sprint FTS Points: 73
- KOM FAL Points: 225
- KOM FTS Points: 73
- Finish Points: 189
Segment Points Minutiae
With the way WTRL sets up race routes, they don’t have to give segment points on every sprint or KOM segment on a route. They could designate certain segments as FAL only, FTS only, or as not giving points at all! That said, WTRL normally gives FAL and FTS points on all segments on the route, probably for simplicity’s sake.
Tracking FTS On Leaderboards
The leaderboards on the left side of your screen are a great way to see who grabbed FTS points, but that only works if your race has you going through a particular segment one time. Because leaderboards only display each rider’s fastest time on the segment, in multi-lap races they probably won’t reflect the actual top 10 fastest times, since a single rider may have multiple top 10 fastest times. We’d love to see Zwift modify leaderboard functionality for points races!
Seeing FTS and FAL Results on ZwiftPower
If you want to see who grabbed segment points after your race, head over to ZwiftPower, pull up your event, then click on “Primes” at the top. Here you can toggle “First over line” and “Fastest time” to see FAL and FTS times, respectively.
Pro tip: you can actually look at these times mid-race. But you may want to leave that job to your DS!
Annulled Results and FAL
If a rider’s result is annulled (perhaps they don’t finish the race, or they get a DQ), any intermediate points they earned are effectively removed from the race. The annulled rider “keeps” those points – they are not passed on to the next-best rider. But they are also not included in the team total.
Watch for a followup post discussing strategic tips for maximizing your segment points.
Until then, if you have questions or segment point tips, share below!