Here's a brief preview of Zwift Grand Prix 23/24 Round 2, along with Zwift and indieVelo's responses following the annulment of Round 1.
After the unfortunate incident that led to the annulment of Round One results, the teams and racers will be highly motivated for Round Two, the Mountain Points Race on the iconic Alpe du Zwift.
The $100,000 Zwift Grand Prix 2023/24 series specifics are here! First let’s get this out of the way and move on to the racing!
Round One Recap and Reaction
The racing in Round One was exciting, but the outcome disappointed many teams and racers. Zwift Race Team and indieVelo’s Chief Commissaire, Dr. George Gilbert, shared their thoughts on the fallout.
After extensive internal deliberation, Zwift owned up to the untimely mistake and released the following statement the day after the race, on October 20th.
Many of you are already aware that during the race on Thursday, October 19, steering and braking were inadvertently enabled. As per the race book, Zwift Grand Prix races should have steering and braking disabled. This was a genuine human error, but the mistake is on us.
Consequently, many racers took part with steering enabled. Given this should have been auto-disabled upon entering the pens, there is no suspicion of foul play or a deliberate attempt to gain an unfair advantage.
We take seriously our responsibility to deliver racing that meets your expectations and upholds the highest standards of cycling esports competition. To that end, we’ve determined that the following corrective actions are necessary to address concerns raised:
No series points will be awarded for the race on Oct. 19
We will award double points for the final event of the series
Because we greatly value your time in participating in our races, we will increase each team’s start bonus by $500
Additionally, we are taking further steps to eliminate the kind of error that led to steering being turned on for this event.
We apologize for our error and hope that you’re as excited as we are about the remaining rounds of the Zwift Grand Prix!
Zwift Race Team
The decision to annul Round One results faced strong criticism, particularly from teams at the top of the standings. In the highly competitive 23/24 Grand Prix with its winner-take-all format and $10,000 prize, every point carries immense importance in the pursuit of elite esports supremacy.
In response to the decision, racers and teams submitted a petition and formal appeal to the Zwift Race Team and Chief Commissaire, Dr. George Gilbert, which he mentions in his response while affirming the decision – sent on October 24th.
Thank you for the below. For context, the original decision was agreed jointly by Zwift and indieVelo after carefully reviewing the root cause of the issue, and the impact it had on the race results – in particular, the fact that this was an incident where the riders were not at fault, but nevertheless called into question the credibility of the results of the race.
Following this appeal, we have again jointly looked through the evidence and re-discussed the various options available in detail. Fundamentally, the facts of the case however have not changed, and therefore the conclusion we jointly reached also remains the same. The original decision therefore stands.
I realize that this is not the answer you were looking for, but hopefully you are able to appreciate that this is not a decision that was taken lightly or without significant discussion and consideration. Thank you again, and we look forward to some great racing together in the weeks and months ahead.
George Gilbert, Chief Commissaire
It may not be the last we hear of this, but it’s time to put it behind us and move on to the fun stuff—the Mountain Points Race on the epic Alpe du Zwift.
Race Format—Mountain Points Race
Riders are getting ready for an exciting showdown on the revered Alpe de Zwift! The Zwift Grand Prix 23/24 Round Two brings us the Mountain Points Race, a challenge that’s more than just climbing. It’s a tactical battle between the best in the sport.
In this race, the aim is clear: climb, suffer, execute, and earn points. Teams will compete in a climber’s points race, not only gunning for points at the summit but also at three intermediate bonus points locations along the way. Strategy becomes crucial as riders decide when to make their moves to score maximum points for their team.
There’s a twist: a 5-minute time limit from the first-placed rider at the finish line. If racers finish more than 5 minutes behind the leader, they won’t earn any finish line points. So, timing attacks and managing matches are essential.
The stage for this epic clash is the 17.3. km “Road to Sky” feat. the Alpe du Zwift.
Intermediate points will be available at 6.5 kilometers, 9.1 kilometers, and 15.2 kilometers into the race. Points will go to all finishing positions within the :5 cutoff, making every meter of ascent meaningful.
The Zwift Grand Prix 23/24 Round Two – Mountain Points Race is more than a test of climbing prowess. It’s a showcase of strategy and teamwork. The event’s unique format promises to be an exciting and compelling spectacle.
Course—Road to Sky feat. Alpe du Zwift
The 5.1 km flat lead into the base of the Alpe will be a ballistic battle for positioning. With the first intermediate only 1,400 meters up, riders will be readying for a proper British Hill Climb sprint. Then give it all you have, or hang on for dear life. You don’t want to fall more than five minutes off the pace, or the Yeti will claim its prize.
Distance: 17.3 km (10.7 mi.)
Alpe du Zwift: 12.2 km (7.6 mi.) with 21 switchbacks 8.5% avg, and 1,036 m (3,399 ft.) of climbing!
- 6.5 km (10.7 mi.)
- 9.1 km (5.7 mi.)
- 15.2 km (9.4 mi.)
|Zwift Grand Prix 23/24||Round 2 Details|
|Riders per Team||5|
|Course||Road To Sky|
|Distance||17.3 km (10.7 miles)|
|Intermediate Points||6.5 km (4.0 miles)|
|9.1 km (5.7 miles)|
|15.2 km (9.4 miles)|
|Finish Line||All finishing positions scored|
|Time Cutoff||5 minutes from the 1st-placed rider|
|Men's Teams||Women's Teams|
|ABUS – Synergy||Aeonian|
|Beastmode p/b ROSE||ABUS – Synergy*|
|BL13 p/b Level Velo*||Beastmode p/b ROSE|
|Coalition Alpha||BL13 p/b Level Velo*|
|Foudre Punchers Coalition*||Hexagone*|
|Movistar eTeam||NeXT eSports p/b Enshored*|
|NeXT eSports p/b Enshored||Primór RWB esports Femmes*|
|Primór RWB esports*||Rocacorba Collective|
|Restart p/b Alex Coh*||Saris | Nopinz|
|Saris | Nopinz*||Team Castelli p/b Elite*|
|Team Castelli p/b Elite||Team Swedish Zwifters|
|Team Swedish Zwifters||Toyota Elite ECycling|
|Toyota Elite ECycling||Wahoo Le Col|
|Wahoo Le Col||Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24|
* Teams new to the Zwift Grand Prix in 23/24
How to Watch!
|Location||Equivalent Time||Time Zone|
|Britain||7 pm||BST (British Summer Time)|
|Australia||5 am (next day)||AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time)|
|California||11 am||PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)|
|New York||2 pm||EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)|
Click the image for more discussion on the controversy surrounding Round One of the Zwift Grand Prix!
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!