The Record Power Profile of Male Professional Cyclists: Normative Values Obtained From a Large Database

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Restricted access

Purpose: To present normative data for the record power profile of male professional cyclists attending to team categories and riding typologies. Methods: Power output data registered from 4 professional teams during 8 years (N = 144 cyclists, 129,262 files, and 1062 total seasons [7 (5) per cyclist] corresponding to both training and competition sessions) were analyzed. Cyclists were categorized as ProTeam (n = 46) or WorldTour (n = 98) and as all-rounders (n = 65), time trialists (n = 11), climbers (n = 50), sprinters (n = 11), or general classification contenders (n = 7). The record power profile was computed as the highest maximum mean power (MMP) value attained for different durations (1 s to 240 min) in both relative (W·kg−1) and absolute units (W). Results: Significant differences between ProTeam and WorldTour were found for both relative (P = .002) and absolute MMP values (P = .006), with WT showing lower relative, but not absolute, MMP values at shorter durations (30–60 s). However, higher relative and absolute MMP values were recorded for very short- (1 s) and long-duration efforts (60 and 240 min for relative MMP values and ≥5 min for absolute ones). Differences were also found regarding cyclists’ typologies for both relative and absolute MMP values (P < .001 for both), with sprinters presenting the highest relative and absolute MMP values for short-duration efforts (5–30 s) and general classification contenders presenting the highest relative MMP values for longer efforts (1–240 min). Conclusions: The present results––obtained from the largest cohort of professional cyclists assessed to date—could be used to assess cyclists’ capabilities and indicate that the record power profile can differ between cyclists’ categories and typologies.

Valenzuela, Mateo-March, Lucia, and Barranco-Gil are with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain. Muriel and Pallares are with the Human Performance and Sports Science Laboratory, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain. van Erp and Lamberts are with the Dept of Sport Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Mateo-March is also with Sport Science Dept, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche, Spain. Gandia-Soriano is with the Biophysics and Medical Physics Group (GIFIME), Dept of Physiology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. Zabala is with the Dept of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain. Lucia is also with the Inst de Investigación Hospital 12 de Octubre (imas12), Grupo de Investigación en Actividad física y Salud (PaHerg), Madrid, Spain.

Barranco-Gil (david.barranco@universidadeuropea.es) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Jeukendrup AE, Craig NP, Hawley JA. The bioenergetics of world class cycling. J Sci Med Sport. 2000;3(4):414433. PubMed ID: 11235007 doi:10.1016/S1440-2440(00)80008-0

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Thurber C, Dugas LR, Ocobock C, Carlson B, Speakman JR, Pontzer H. Extreme events reveal an alimentary limit on sustained maximal human energy expenditure. Sci Adv. 2019;5(6):eaaw0341. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaw0341

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Foster C, Hoyos J, Earnest C, Lucia A. Regulation of energy expenditure during prolonged athletic competition. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005;37(4):670675. PubMed ID: 15809568 doi:10.1249/01.MSS.0000158183.64465.BF

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Lucia A, Hoyos J, Chicharro JL. Physiology of professional road cycling. Sports Med. 2001;31(5):325337. PubMed ID: 11347684 doi:10.2165/00007256-200131050-00004

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Mujika I, Padilla S. Physiological and performance characteristics of male professional road cyclists. Sports Med. 2001;31(7):479487. PubMed ID: 11428685 doi:10.2165/00007256-200131070-00003

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Pinot J, Grappe F. The record power profile to assess performance in elite cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 2011;32(11):839844. PubMed ID: 22052032 doi:10.1055/s-0031-1279773

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Passfield L, Hopker JG, Jobson S, Friel D, Zabala M. Knowledge is power: issues of measuring training and performance in cycling. J Sports Sci. 2017;35(14):14261434. PubMed ID: 27686573 doi:10.1080/02640414.2016.1215504

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Sanders D, van Erp T. The physical demands and power profile of professional men’s cycling races: an updated review. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2021;16(1):312. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2020-0508

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Phillips KE, Hopkins WG. Determinants of cycling performance: a review of the dimensions and features regulating performance in elite cycling competitions. Sports Med—Open. 2020;6(1):23. PubMed ID: 32495230 doi:10.1186/s40798-020-00252-z

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    van Erp T, Sanders D, Lamberts RP. Maintaining power output with accumulating levels of work done is a key determinant for success in professional cycling. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2021;53(9):19031910. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000002656

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    De Pauw K, Roelands B, Cheung SS, De Geus B, Rietjens G, Meeusen R. Guidelines to classify subject groups in sport-science research. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2013;8(2):111122. PubMed ID: 23428482 doi:10.1123/ijspp.8.2.111

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Lucía A, Pardo J, Durántez A, Hoyos J, Chicharro JL. Physiological differences between professional and elite road cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 1998;19(5):342348. PubMed ID: 9721058 doi:10.1055/s-2007-971928

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Novak AR, Bennett KJM, Pluss MA, Fransen J, Watsford ML, Dascombe BJ. Power profiles of competitive and noncompetitive mountain bikers. J Strength Cond Res. 2019;33(2):538543. PubMed ID: 28570495 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002003

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Leo P, Spragg J, Mujika I, Menz V, Lawley JS. Power profiling in U23 professional cyclists during a competitive season. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2021;16(6):881889. PubMed ID: 33607626 doi:10.1123/ijspp.2020-0200

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Lucía A, Hoyos J, Chicharro JL. Preferred pedalling cadence in professional cycling. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(8):13611366. PubMed ID: 11474339 doi:10.1097/00005768-200108000-00018

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Miller MC, Macdermid PW, Fink PW, Stannard SR. Agreement between powertap, quarq and stages power meters for cross-country mountain biking. Sport Technol. 2015;8(1–2):4450. doi:10.1080/19346182.2015.1108979

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Maier T, Schmid L, Müller B, Steiner T, Wehrlin JP. Accuracy of cycling power meters against a mathematical model of treadmill cycling. Int J Sports Med. 2017;38(6):456461. PubMed ID: 28482367 doi:10.1055/s-0043-102945

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Muriel X, Courel-Ibáñez J, Cerezuela-Espejo V, Pallarés JG. Training load and performance impairments in professional cyclists during COVID-19 lockdown. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2020;16(5):735738. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2020-0501

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Van Erp T, Hoozemans M, Foster C, De Koning JJ. Case report: load, intensity, and performance characteristics in multiple grand tours. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2020;52(4):868875. PubMed ID: 31688657 doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000002210

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Spragg J, Leo P. Can critical power be estimated from training and racing data using mean maximal power outputs? J Sci Cycl. 2020;9(2):710. https://jsc-journal.com/index.php/JSC/article/view/553

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Sanders D, Myers T, Akubat I. Training intensity distribution in road cyclists: objective versus subjective measures. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2017;12(9):12321237. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2016-0523

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Hopkins W, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J. Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(1):312. PubMed ID: 19092709 doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818cb278

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23.

    van Erp T, Sanders D. Demands of professional cycling races: influence of race category and result. Eur J Sport Sci. 2020;21(5):666677. PubMed ID: 32584197 doi:10.1080/17461391.2020.1788651

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24.

    Muriel X, Valenzuela P, Mateo-March M, Pallarés J, Lucia A, Barranco-Gil D. Physical demands and performance indicators in male professional cyclists during a Grand Tour: WorldTour vs ProTeam category. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2022;17(1):2230. PubMed ID: 34343966 doi:10.1123/ijspp.2021-0082

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25.

    Leo P, Spragg J, Simon D, Lawley JS, Mujika I. Training characteristics and power profile of professional U23 cyclists throughout a competitive season. Sports. 2020;8(12):167. doi:10.3390/sports8120167

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Quod MJ, Martin DT, Martin JC, Laursen PB. The power profile predicts road cycling MMP. Int J Sports Med. 2010;31(6):397401. PubMed ID: 20301046 doi:10.1055/s-0030-1247528

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Leo P, Spragg J, Mujika I, et al. Power profiling, workload characteristics, and race performance of U23 and professional cyclists during the multistage race tour of the alps. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2021;31:17. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2020-0381

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    Stevens CJ, Bennett KJM, Novak AR, Kittel AB, Dascombe BJ. Cycling power profile characteristics of national-level junior triathletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2019;33(1):197202. PubMed ID: 28240713 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001876

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 607 607 363
Full Text Views 23 23 7
PDF Downloads 34 34 8