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William Bertucci, Frederic Grappe, and Alain Groslambert

The aim of our study was to compare crank torque profile and perceived exertion between the Monark ergometer (818 E) and two outdoor cycling conditions: level ground and uphill road cycling. Seven male cyclists performed seven tests in seated position at different pedaling cadences: (a) in the laboratory at 60, 80, and 100 rpm; (b) on level terrain at 80 and 100 rpm; and (c) on uphill terrain (9.25% grade) at 60 and 80 rpm. The cyclists exercised for 1 min at their maximal aerobic power. The Monark ergometer and the bicycle were equipped with the SRM Training System (Schoberer, Germany) for the measurement of power output (W), torque (N⋅m), pedaling cadence (rpm), and cycling velocity (km⋅h−1). The most important findings of this study indicate that at maximal aerobic power the crank torque profiles in the Monark ergometer (818 E) were significantly different (especially on dead points of the crank cycle) and generate a higher perceived exertion compared with road cycling conditions.

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Theo Ouvrard, Alain Groslambert, and Frederic Grappe

Recent psychophysiological models of endurance performance explained that pacing strategies and exercise-intensity regulation influence cyclists’ ability to produce high mean power output (PO) during time trials (TTs). However, the relationships between these pacing strategies and psychological parameters of the athletes remain unknown. Purpose: To determine the impact of pacing strategies on cyclists’ mean PO during an elite TT championship and to identify the relationships between these pacing strategies and psychological parameters. Methods: Mean PO, projected frontal area, attentional focus, and pleasure were recorded for 9 male cyclists during an official individual TT national championship. Pacing regulations were quantified from PO using the new exposure variation analysis, which determines times spent at adapted PO for optimal constant-pacing strategy (APO) and inaccurate PO for optimal constant-pacing strategy (IPO). Relationships between mean PO, times spent at APO and IPO, and psychological variables were analyzed. Results: Significant relationships were found between mean PO and exposure variation analysis pacing parameters (r 2 .56–.86, P > .05). Time spent at IPO was negatively related to pleasure during the individual TT (r = −.746, P = .016). Conversely, time spent at APO was significantly related to cyclists’ attentional focus (r = .827, P = .006). Conclusions: Mean PO during elite individual TTs is directly related to athletes’ ability to optimally regulate pace throughout the event. This pacing regulation is influenced by attentional focus and pleasure, underlining that coaches and athletes should devote greater attention to these psychological parameters to improve their performances.

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Benoît R. Gonzales, Vincent Hagin, Peter W. Dowrick, and Alain Groslambert

This study assessed whether cognitive stimulations could improve running performance. Nine trained men (22.6 ± 2.1 years old) performed four tests of stamina i) a control test (CT) at 100% of maximal aerobic velocity without any specific attention instructions, ii) a video self modeling test filmed from behind (VB), where runners attended to a video-loop of themselves, iii) a video self modeling test filmed from the front (VF), and iv) a video of landscapes (VL) with music. The results revealed a significant increase (p = .004) of stamina in all video conditions: VB (235 ± 59 s); VF (229 ± 53 s); VL (242 ± 57 s), compared with CT (182 ± 33 s). The results showed that the oxygen consumption was significantly lower (p = .02) in VB. Two distinct processes could explain these results including the active role of mirror neurons and the influence of music.

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Jérémy B. J. Coquart, Yancy Dufour, Alain Groslambert, Régis Matran, and Murielle Garcin

The purpose was to study the relationships between psychological factors and perceptually-based values (Ratings of Perceived Exertion: RPE and Estimated Time Limit: ETL). The researchers obtained the scores of several psychological factors (anxiety, extraversion-introversion, neuroticism-stability, self-esteem, motivation, psychological resistance and endurance, desire for success, social desirability, dynamism, competitiveness, activity control, risk-taking, emotional control, aggressiveness, sociability, cooperation, acceptance of a judgment, and leadership) among 23 cyclists. The cyclists performed a graded exercise test in which the researchers collected RPE and ETL at 150, 200, 250 and 300W. Correlations between RPE/ETL and psychological factors were examined. RPE was correlated with leadership, psychological resistance and endurance. ETL was significantly correlated with psychological endurance. These results suggest a link between psychological factors, effort perception, and the time limits predicted by teleoanticipation. These relationships varied according to intensity.

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Theo Ouvrard, Alain Groslambert, Gilles Ravier, Sidney Grosprêtre, Philippe Gimenez, and Frederic Grappe

Purpose: To identify the impact of a leading teammate in front of a cyclist on psychological, physiological, biomechanical, and performance parameters during an uphill maximal effort. Methods: After familiarization, 12 well-trained competitive cyclists completed 2 uphill time trials (UTTs, 2.7 km at 7.4%) in randomized order; that is, 1 performed alone (control condition) and 1 followed a simulated teammate during the entire UTT (leader condition). Performance (UTT time) and mean power output (PO) were recorded for each UTT. For physiological parameters, mean heart rate and postexercise blood lactate concentration were recorded. Psychological parameters (rating of perceived exertion, pleasure, and attentional focus) were collected at the end of each trial. Results: Performance (UTT time) significantly improved by 4.2% (3.1%) in the leader condition, mainly due to drafting decrease of the aerodynamic drag (58% of total performance gains) and higher end spurt (+9.1% [9.1%] of mean PO in the last 10% of the UTT). However, heart rate and postexercise blood lactate concentration were not significantly different between conditions. From a psychological aspect, higher pleasure was observed in the leader condition (+41.1% [51.7%]), but attentional focus was not significantly different. Conclusions: The presence of a leading teammate during uphill cycling had a strong impact on performance, enabling higher speed for the same mean PO and greater end spurt. These results explain why the best teams competing for the general classification of the most prestigious and contested races like the Grand Tours tend to always protect their leader with teammates during decisive ascents.