It also depends where you are racing. I’m in Colorado where fields are big and riders strong.
I’m a reformed BMX’er, and compact (71-72kg). My aerobic base is a WIP but I have a good sprint. I took a podium in a Cat5 field last weekend. Averaged about 185w, NP 211w, but took a 1168w sprint and still holding 980w to 11s to take the last step on the podium in the group sprint at the end. My attack on lap 2 was 280w avg and 27mph lap, but still got reeled in after… it also accidentally launched the winner. Oops. For me, I can throw some attacks, but to be in podium contention, I have to sit in to get to the end. That race was a 25-26mph average.
Our combined cat4/5 fields averaged around 27-28mph in the front. When you’re coming into a headwind at 22mph in a group, that you’re doing 250w @ 14mph solo, you realize how strong some people are.
So you don’t need a monster FTP to do well. You have to ride to your strengths. I’m coming at from the other side in that I can probably outsprint most Cat5’ers (1400w sprint on fresh legs), but my FTP isn’t earth shattering. A lot of the Cat 5’ers here that race the combined fields are very good at learning and reading stronger riders, so solo breaks are a little harder to pull of as they’ll just jump on your wheel. Most of those guys just end up pulling the field along and are wasted at the end.
In the higher categories, everyone is strong, so FTP is sort of meaningless because it takes more than that to win, because everyone is a baller.
Strong riders can get upgraded fast to Cat4 (where things bottleneck out here due to field sizes), but they often don’t learn much at Cat5, which hurts them.