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Tour de Zwift 2024

It was another vintage year for the KWCC Tour de Zwift stage race, the hardest yet according to Race Director Tom Herbert.

The tour took us from the grippy hills of Yorkshire all the way through to a frankly bonkers crit circuit in Japan, via eight stages across Austria, Scotland, France, the USA and of course Watopia. The event was split into three categories this year (based on Zwift rankings); the A/Bs, the C/Ds and a Women’s category.

Within these categories were a series of handicaps based on both the data available and also some IRL rankings.

Stage 1 – Yorkshire

It was a lightning fast start on a brutal (but thankfully short!) course, the same as the circuit used in the (IRL) 2019 Road World Championships. 

In the A/Bs the 2022-winner Tom Kennett managed to take the overall win, nudging just ahead of last year’s runner up (and 2021 winner) Judah Rand – but due to handicaps David Willis took the first Yellow. In the C/Ds, In the CDs it was incredibly close at the top but Simone Schmieder wore Yellow, going half a second quicker than Simon Owen. David Goddard was the quickest on the stage, leading the pack of scratch riders. That also meant that Simone took an early lead in the women’s race, with Elle Byt taking the stage win.

Stage 2 – Scotland

This one was an attritional hour-long brute over several repeated bergs. Tom managed to distance Judah at the end but the Yellow went to Jason Gardiner after a plucky ride. In the C/Ds, Si White took the lead, although Adam Currie and Nick Dumonde were within very close range – and indeed, Nick was the quickest C/D on the stage. Elle Byt took another stage win in the Women’s category, but Felicity Hall took the Yellow.

Stage 3 – Japan

What on paper looked like being a transitional stage ended up being anything but. In the women’s race, Elle Byt took a third stage win, and a well-deserved Yellow jersey. In the A/Bs, Baz Moulder was the quickest on the stage, however Denis Whelan took the lead in what was becoming a topsy turvy race for the overall. Meanwhile in the C/Ds, Nick Dumonde continued his impressive form with another stage win and duly wore the jersey.

This stage was memorable for including multiple uncategorised climbs, which really made the groups earn their breakfast.

Stage 4 – France

This was the easiest stage on paper, but did finish with a potentially tricky climb. In the C/Ds race, Nick extended his lead, although Sean Haywood took the win with the quickest time in the category. Elle retained the women’s jersey ahead of a increasingly bunched up field, with Felicity, Alex Joss and stage winner Alexandra Wilson-Jones making significant gains.

Meanwhile in the A/B race, Judah and Tom took to the ‘main’ KWCC ride with the goal of eliminating their handicap, and took off on an audacious breakaway, making it stick to the end. Tom then managed to break clear on the final climb and took the jersey by around 90 seconds – but the race was still very young.

Stage 5 – Innsbruck

This was the queen stage of the overall race, and Tom rode early on with a potentially unassailable time. In his words, he literally had to lie down for around 15 minutes afterwards, so figured he had probably sewn up the overall race. But no – Judah went the next day and took over two minutes out of his time via a phenomenal ride, and the Yellow jersey (and the stage win) in the process.

The A/B podium was shaping up at this point, with Henrik taking third spot ahead of Neal Beauchamp and Seb Ashton. Otherwise, there were colossal time gaps across all three categories, with riders strewn all over the road. Adam Currie took advantage with a huge win to take a strong lead in the C/Ds, while Alex Joss dominated the women’s stage and now sat second behind Elle.

Stage 6 – Watopia

The second mountain stage of the race, this one only featured one climb, but the final 1km of that (9km) climb was over 11%, so it wouldn’t be easy.

In the women’s race, Alex took another stage win and a very handy lead over Elle for the overall. Meanwhile, in the C/Ds, Adam retained his lead and the podium started to take a firm shape, with Nick in second and Sean sitting pretty in third.

And finally, in the A/Bs Judah and Tom couldn’t be split for time, with Judah taking the sprint and a second stage win. Otherwise, Seb took a handy lead over Henrik, with the podium very much taking shape.

Stage 7 – New York

This was a lumpy one which had the potential to cause some time gaps – not in the women’s race however, where Alex all but sealed victory with over 2 minutes on Elle and only a c.20-25 minute stage remaining.

The C/D race was starting to heat up, with Nick taking a significant chunk out of Adam’s time gap – meaning all was to play for in the final showdown. 

In the A/Bs, Judah once again took a stage win and retained his lead; narrow at 20 seconds, but starting to look unassailable. The battle for a top ten place was at this point intensifying however, with only 41 seconds between 7th and 11th, setting up a finely poised final stage.

Stage 8 – Japan

The final route was a short, insane multi-lap crit around the castle in the Japanese world. It was non stop twisty and turny, up and down, but in the end while the racing was bonkers, there was little impact on the final.

In the ABs Judah won by 20 seconds from Tom, those minutes gained on Achterbahn being the difference in the end, although Tom did at least have the consolation of winning the final stage. Special mention to Tom who managed to win 4 stages but not the overall, or even a stage prize. Seb took an impressive third, holding off Henrik in the process for the podium bragging rights.

In the CDs Adam lost a little on Stage 8 but not enough to deny him the overall win from Nick in second. The podium was completed by Sean but the stage win went to Mark P.

In the Women’s race Alexandra took back some pride by going fastest on the stage, but not fast enough to dislodge Alex who takes the overall after getting over an early illness to go flying up the mountain stages this year. Our early leader Elle finishes third and it was great to see so many women and such a competitive race this year.

It was an absolutely vintage edition and a special, special thanks has to go to Tom Herbert for organising it – it’s a huge time commitment and unfortunately due to work commitments, he wasn’t able to quite have the race he had hoped for. Also thanks to Seb Ashton as well for his help with compiling results. A chapeau to both and to everyone who rode, and hopefully we’ll see you next year!