Dependence of the Nature of the Pedaling Activity on Maximal Aerobic Power in Cycling

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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To analyze the effect of the pedaling activity in different 4-min time trials (TT4s) (laboratory and field conditions) and compare TT4 and maximal aerobic power (MAP) determined from the classical incremental exercise test in laboratory. It was hypothesized that the exercises performed on the field would determine higher physical (power output [PO]) and mental involvements due to different environmental conditions.


Sixteen male cyclists underwent an incremental test to exhaustion and 3 TT4s under different conditions: cycle ergometer (CE), level ground (LG), and uphill (UP).


Correlation was observed for PO with a trivial effect size and narrow limits of agreement between MAP and CE TT4 (r = .96, P < .001). The comparison between the CE, LG, and UP tests indicates that PO was significantly higher in UP than in CE (+8.0%, P < .001) and LG (+11.0%, P < .001).


The results suggest that PO depends on the nature of the pedaling activity. Moreover, PO under CE TT4 is a relevant predictor of MAP. It seems important to measure MAP by taking into account the cycling conditions, considering that coaches and scientists use this parameter to assess the aerobic potential of athletes and determine the exercise intensities useful for monitoring adaptation to training.

The authors are with the Dept of Health and Sports, Sports University of Besancon, Besançon, France.

Address author correspondence to Anthony Bouillod at