Stage 3 in Richmond brought out the biggest field ever seen in the short history of TC Zwift Racing. With so many avatars lining up, team tactics and luck were bound to have a major influence.
The peloton stayed civil after the flag dropped at 8km, working together down hill and along the river. But at the base of the Libby Hill KOM, the field exploded into pieces. Burmeister led the charge up the cobbled climb dragging Drew, Spencer, Jim, Jaden and Garrett along. He pressed the gap through the rest of the brutal 4km to the Richmond Lap Banner. Not far down the road, though, the wheels came off…almost literally. Burmeister’s trainer lost power and required an emergency restart — the equivalent of waiting for the team car for a new bike. Garrett had already broken away from the chasing group and quickly closed in while Burmeister remounted and started rolling. Surely the chasing group smelled the blood in the water, seeing Burmeister’s power at 0.0, but he and Garrett managed to stay away. Garrett put in a decisive attack on the last climb and dropped Burmeister for good. In the meantime, Wes broke away from the chase group to put time into his rivals there. And then, by all accounts, he went to bed until Monday morning.
In review, all of the chase groups seemed to be fairly well balanced with each team represented. Tactics, taunting and cat and mouse all played a role in making the racing exciting for most everyone. According to reports, Cody ran a tight ship on the Team Blue radio and I have no idea what it sounded like for Orange. Brad and Spencer worked the Gray radio to pressure Carl and Jason into a harder than expected chase midway through the second lap. Then it was an attack on the unscored Libby climb of the 3rd lap by Jason that pulled him, Brent and Chris clear of Brad, Andy and Cody into the finish.
In make-up events, Brian and Josh Kerr and David put down solid times and scooped up some points even without teammates or a peloton to roll with.
With 7 scored segments, the points on offer were more than generous this stage. Jaden, Cody and Chris drew the Stage Captain ticket so the intermediate scores they rolled up for the stage were doubled when added to the team score. This week saw Team Orange come out on top followed by Blue then Gray, proving that even if your team owns the top of GC, everyone’s score helps the team. A reminder on points – segments are scored for your time, not order across the line. Zwift currently has no way to make the “Prime” data available on meetups, so you may be first across the line, but someone behind you may come through with a faster time. That’s just how it is for now.
This stage saw great debut performances from all the newcomers: Garrett, Just Jaden, Jim, Ryan Linden and Ryan D4. Reigning champion Brent Wiersema made his return to the tour and helped pad the point total for Orange, with Tom having to scratch at the line due to trainer issues.
Burmeister stays in Yellow, with Jenema taking a big bite out of the gap from 1st to 2nd. Spencer holds onto the Green and extends his points lead. But Carl, BKerr and Dennis are in a near dead heat in the chase just behind him. Drew holds a commanding lead on the KOM colors, but with Garrett charging into the tour, that fight could get close by the final stage.
The GC times are satisfyingly close up and down the rider list and should keep the racing hot in the coming stages. Notably, after 3 hours of racing, Andy and Brad H are still on exactly the same GC time…
Stage 4 Crit City racing is well underway. Look for another Meetup event for Stage 5 next Sunday. I’ll also be asking for input on arranging the Team Time Trial so watch the Discord.
Results in the attached spreadsheet link. Let me know if something doesn’t add up – I’m at the mercy of the spreadsheet producing what I THINK I’m telling it to do…