The third round of the 2023/2024 Zwift Grand Prix dropped into Glasgow for a short and explosive women’s Points Race that shook up the ZGP leaderboard. Round 3 mimicked the upcoming round of the Zwift Racing League, featuring the same course, race format, and power-ups that will be used in the next round of the ZRL.
Seventy-nine of the best women’s Zwifters in the world completed five laps of the Glasgow Crit Circuit in a points race format. This format included 11 intermediate sprints, FAL (First Across Line), FTS (Fastest Through Segment), and finish line points for every rider.
The first intermediate sprint came just 300 meters into the race, and Coalition Alpha took an early lead. Lou Bates (Coalition Alpha) finished 3rd in the first sprint, which was a small sign of things to come.
Just 1.3km later, the peloton flew up the Clyde Kicker for the second intermediate sprint of the race, which M. Soderstrom (Movistar eTeam) won. Bates finished second in the sprint, and just like that, Coalition Alpha was head and shoulders above the rest of the field with 13.5km to go.
Attacks came thick and fast before the next intermediate sprint, but in the end, the peloton caught the break, and it was none other than Bates who took the full 10 points.
The fourth sprint was won by…you guessed it…Lou Bates of Coalition Alpha. Now one-third of the way through the race, Coalition Alpha was dominating the leaderboard ahead of Aeonian and Movistar eTeam.
Hexagone moved into third after E. Dyrhovden (Hexagone) won the fifth intermediate sprint, while Bates finally took a breather and didn’t contest the sprint. Gabriela Guerra (Saris | Nopinz) timed her effort perfectly to win the sixth sprint of the day, and that helped Saris | Nopinz move into the top five on overall points.
Halfway through the race, Coalition Alpha had a comfortable lead over Aeonian and Hexagone with just a few sprints left to go.
Familiar names came to the fore at the seventh intermediate sprint, with Soderstrom, Bates, and Dyrhovden taking the top three spots. The peloton was shrinking with every effort as Bates continued to rack up the points by winning the eighth sprint. Coming into the final lap in Glasgow, Soderstrom won the ninth sprint, while Aeonian clawed back 17 points by putting three riders in the top 10.
For the first time in the race, a breakaway stayed away to win the intermediate sprint, with L. Harris (Toyota Elite ECycling) and L. Mottas (Hexagone) taking first and second place atop the Clyde Kicker with 1.7km to go. It looked like the pair might make it to the finish line, but Bates had other ideas when she launched an early sprint – the Brit flew past the breakaway using the Feather power-up, led around the final corner, and held off the peloton to take an emphatic victory in the final sprint.
Bates’ impressively speedy performance is one for the Zwift history books; across 11 sprints (10 intermediates + the finish), Lou Bates racked up 146 points for Coalition Alpha, who, unsurprisingly, took the Round 3 win ahead of Aeonian and Hexagone. Bates’ 146 points would have put her in fifth place on the day…if she had raced solo against teams of five.
The next round of the 2023/2024 Zwift Grand Prix features the return of the Team Time Trial (TTT). Each Grand Prix Men’s team will take on one lap of Watopia’s Waistband in the classic TTT format. Five riders from each team will start together, and the team’s time will be taken from their third rider across the line.
Round 4 marks the first time that time trial bikes will be used in the Zwift Grand Prix, and you can expect to see course records shattered in the process. Round 4 of the 2023/2024 Zwift Grand Prix begins with the men’s TTT on November 23rd and continues with the women’s Scratch Race on Suki’s Playground on November 30th.