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Purpose: Women’s professional cycling has grown in popularity, and this increase is also apparent in Brazil, which has increased its female cycling calendar in recent years. The aim of this observational study was to (1) determine training and competition loads of a top-level Brazilian female cycling team, (2) evaluate nutrition and clinical health, and (3) measure whether exercise capacity changed throughout the season. Methods: Training and competition data were collected over the season using global positioning system monitors, while laboratory-based physiological and performance measures (incremental cycling test, 30-s Wingate, 4-km time trial) and clinical and nutritional analyses were performed at time points throughout the season. Results: Total distance covered over the year was 11,124 (2895) km (7382–14,698 km). Endurance capacity was reduced over the season (P = .005) but not anaerobic power (all P > .05). Nutrition and stress markers remained largely unchanged throughout the season, although there were some individual fluctuations in some measures, and testosterone concentration was low for some. Median estimated energy availability ranged between 32.3 and 56.8 kcal·kgLBM−1·d−1 during training and 26.4 and 53.8 kcal·kgLBM−1·d−1 during competition. Percentage of training spent in optimal estimated energy availability was generally low, with 3 athletes spending <35% within the optimal intake. Conclusions: Substantial training and competition loads of the monitored professional Brazilian female cyclists may have reduced exercise capacity toward the end of the season, indicative of a grueling yearlong schedule. Several athletes may have had suboptimal energy availability during the season, potentially affecting testosterone concentration. These data demonstrate the difficulties in maintaining optimal nutrition, health, and performance throughout a season in professional female cycling and highlight the need for quality sport-science support for this type of top-level athlete.

Barreto, de Oliveira, Saito, Klosterhoff, Perim, Dolan, Campos-Ferraz, Lima, and Saunders are with the Applied Physiology and Nutrition Research Group, School of Physical Education and Sport; Rheumatology Div; Faculdade de Medicina FMUSP, University of São Paulo, Brazil. Klosterhoff is also with the Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil. Pereira is with the Bone Metabolism Laboratory, Rheumatology Div, Hospital das Clínicas (HCFMUSP), Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. Lima is also with the Sports Medicine Group, Rheumatology Div, and Saunders, the Inst of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine (FMUSP), University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Saunders (drbryansaunders@outlook.com) is corresponding author.

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