Round 3 of the 2023/2024 Zwift Grand Prix introduced two new variables to the Zwift Grand Prix: a split race schedule and a scratch race format. The men’s Grand Prix field raced two laps of the London Loop Reverse this week, while the women’s field will head to Glasgow next week for a 15.3km points race on the Glasgow Crit Circuit.
The men’s and women’s races integrate with the Zwift Racing League, the biggest racing league on Zwift. The Grand Prix races occur on Thursday, and the Zwift Racing League takes on the same course the following Tuesday.
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First up, 80 of the best Zwift racers in the world lined up in London for the first and only scratch race of the men’s 2023/2024 Zwift Grand Prix. That meant there were only points available at the finish line, linear from 1st to 80th. Here’s how the scoring looked:
With this scoring system, the strongest teams would be rewarded the most, not just individual riders. Placing three riders in the Top 10, for example, would be more valuable than winning the race but not placing another rider in the Top 20.
The other variables at play were the Feather and Anvil power-ups. Riders would get the Feather power-up at the London Loop (Start/Finish Line) and the Anvil power-up at the top of Fox Hill. Heading into the second and final lap, riders could choose to use their power-ups on Fox Hill or save them for the finish. Every team’s strategy was different, and it was all about to unfold during live coverage of the 2023/2024 Zwift Grand Prix.
On Lap 1, the peloton thinned during the first ascent of Fox Hill, with Lennert Teugels (ABUS – Synergy) and David Talbott (Saris | Nopinz) driving the pace. Only 60-some riders were still in contact by the bottom of the Fox Hill descent, and the rest of the men would never see the front of the race again.
Lap 2 was the last opportunity for the climbers to attack the 12% slopes of Fox Hill, and it didn’t take long for Talbott to hit the front with 2 km to the top of the climb. If you thought Lap 1 was hard, Lap 2 was even harder, and by the time the first rider crossed the Fox Hill KOM banner, only 22 riders were left at the front of the race.
Thomas Perren (NeXT eSports pb Enshored) used his Anvil power-up on the descent, while Mickael Plantureux (Hexagone) launched off the front to get a gap over the rest of the front group with 6 km to go. Lionel Vujasin (Coalition Alpha) sprinted up the escalator, but the front group came back together before the rolling river road that led straight to the finish line.
Talbott tried a late-race attack with 3.8km to go, but Teugels helped chase them down, and with 2.5km to go, it was all back together. The theme of the race continued with relentless attacks and familiar names. Plantureux launched again with 2.2km to go, and it wasn’t long before Teugels bridged across.
The pair had a 6-second gap with 500 meters to go, and Teugels used his Anvil power-up to sprint to victory ahead of the charging peloton. Plantureux came across the line in second, while Haavard Gjeldnes (Movistar eTeam) took the final place on the podium.
Every rider counted in the points-heavy scratch race, but it was fitting that Teugels led ABUS–Synergy to the Round 3 victory while Plantureux put an exclamation point on a fantastic performance from Hexagone to finish second. NeXT eSports pb Enshored finished third, ahead of Coalition Alpha and Wahoo Le Col.
Next week, Round 3 of the 2023/2024 Zwift Grand Prix continues with the women’s Points Race in Glasgow. The women will have nine intermediate sprints in just 15.3km on the Glasgow Crit Circuit.
Zwift Racing League scoring applies, which means that First Across the Line (FAL) and Fastest Through the Segment (FTS) points are available at the two intermediate sprint locations: the Clyde Kicker and Champion’s Sprint (Lap Arch).