Predicting High-Power Performance in Professional Cyclists

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Dajo Sanders
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Mathieu Heijboer
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Ibrahim Akubat
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Kenneth Meijer
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Matthijs K. Hesselink
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Purpose:

To assess if short-duration (5 to ~300 s) high-power performance can accurately be predicted using the anaerobic power reserve (APR) model in professional cyclists.

Methods:

Data from 4 professional cyclists from a World Tour cycling team were used. Using the maximal aerobic power, sprint peak power output, and an exponential constant describing the decrement in power over time, a power-duration relationship was established for each participant. To test the predictive accuracy of the model, several all-out field trials of different durations were performed by each cyclist. The power output achieved during the all-out trials was compared with the predicted power output by the APR model.

Results:

The power output predicted by the model showed very large to nearly perfect correlations to the actual power output obtained during the all-out trials for each cyclist (r = .88 ± .21, .92 ± .17, .95 ± .13, and .97 ± .09). Power output during the all-out trials remained within an average of 6.6% (53 W) of the predicted power output by the model.

Conclusions:

This preliminary pilot study presents 4 case studies on the applicability of the APR model in professional cyclists using a field-based approach. The decrement in all-out performance during high-intensity exercise seems to conform to a general relationship with a single exponential-decay model describing the decrement in power vs increasing duration. These results are in line with previous studies using the APR model to predict performance during brief all-out trials. Future research should evaluate the APR model with a larger sample size of elite cyclists.

Sanders and Akubat are with Sport, Exercise and Health Research Centre, Newman University, Birmingham, UK. Heijboer is with Team LottoNLJumbo professional cycling team, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Meijer and Hesselink are with the Dept of Human Movement Science, School for Nutrition, Toxicology and Metabolism, MUMC+, Maastricht, Netherlands.

Address author correspondence to Dajo Sanders at dajosanders@gmail.com.
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