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Jackson Laundry heads into Zwift Z Pro Series in lead after rule change

New rules reward all-around performance

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Last Wednesday the first of four races in Zwift’s Z Pro Tri Series 3 got started with a new duathlon format. The athletes started with a bike time trial, then did a 5.7 km run and finished up bike points race.

The new format needed some tweaks, though, as it appeared riders who skipped the run enjoyed a bit of an advantage as they were fresher for the second bike race. The men’s race was won by France’s Antony Costes, who missed the run portion of the race, but was able to earn enough points in the final race to take the win.

Earlier this week, though, we learned that Canada’s own Jackson Laundry, who had initially finished second in last week’s race, had been moved to the top spot when Zwift adjusted the scoring. Today’s second race will follow a new set of rules that requires competitors to compete in the run portion of the race.

Laundry, who is training in Medicine Hat, Alberta, says the new format makes for some tough racing. In addition to the bike/ run/ bike format, earning points for the second leg is dependent on how fast your treadmill can go – points for the run are based on an athlete’s average pace.

Related: Z Pro Tri Series back as duathlon races

“Putting the run in between to hard bike races adds a whole new challenge to the second ride,” Laundry says. “You have to gauge your effort for sure. Unfortunately, the treadmill I have access to here only gets me around 3:25-3:27/km for the max pace, so it will be interesting to see if it works out for me to get the second run standard of 16 points (under 3:26/km) or not. Last week I ended up with the third standard of 12 points, but it allowed me to be more fresh for the third race.”

Laundry on his way to the win at the Canadian Pro Triathlon Championship in 2020. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Laundry says the Zwift racing has helped him prepare for outdoor racing, when he’s had the chance. Last year the Guelph, Ont. resident took the Canadian Pro Triathlon Championship.

“I have raced on Zwift quite a bit,” he says. “I really do enjoy it. I think everyone knows it’s not a perfect gauge of how strong of a cyclist you are in real life, but it’s its own category. It definitely does help translate fitness to racing in the road by just being a harder workout than what I’d be able to do without the competitive aspect of racing.”

“It’s not my first win on Zwift, but it’s definitely nice to have come out on too in week 1,” he continues. “These are a fun way to get back to work, but I try to not get too invested in the result. Ultimately my goal is still to be the best long course athlete I can, and the Zwift races are a bonus. The points allocation has changed from week 1. Now the third race is only worth a max of 20 points rather than a max of 38. In week 1, it was worth it to save a fair bit of energy for that third race to take advantage, that paid off for me as I went from 10th to first in the third race. For week 2, it looks like a balanced effort will be needed to get the win.”

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