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The classification system for handcycling groups athletes into five hierarchical classes, based on how much their impairment affects performance. Athletes in class H5, with the least impairments, compete in a kneeling position, while athletes in classes H1 to H4 compete in a recumbent position. This study investigated the average time-trial velocity of athletes in different classes. A total of 1,807 results from 353 athletes who competed at 20 international competitions (2014–2018) were analyzed. Multilevel regression was performed to analyze differences in average velocities between adjacent pairs of classes, while correcting for gender, age, and event distance. The average velocity of adjacent classes was significantly different (p < .01), with higher classes being faster, except for H4 and H5. However, the effect size of the differences between H3 and H4 was smaller (d = 0.12). Hence, results indicated a need for research in evaluating and developing evidence-based classification in handcycling, yielding a class structure with meaningful performance differences between adjacent classes.
Muchaxo and Janssen are with the Faculty of Behavioral and Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Muchaxo, de Groot, and Janssen are with the Amsterdam Rehabilitation Research Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. de Groot and van der Woude are with the University Medical Center Groningen, Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands. van der Woude is also with the University Medical Center Groningen, Center of Rehabilitation, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands. de Groot and Janssen are also with the Center for Adapted Sports Amsterdam, Amsterdam Institute of Sport Science, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Nooijen is with the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH), Stockholm, Sweden, and the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.