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Power output demands of elite track sprint cycling.

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Competition analysis can be used to describe the complex physical demands of elite sport. This information can be used to design sport specific training sessions that replicate critical aspects of competition. Additionally, in some cases, competition analysis can be used to identify an athlete's strengths and weaknesses. The ultimate goal of this research was to improve Australian Coaches' understanding of both elite Domestic and International competition of elite track sprint cycling so that specific training practices could be productively refined.

Three elite male sprint cyclists (19-33 yrs; 82-101 kg; 39-47 mm sum 7 skinfolds; 1729–2282 W lab peak power) were monitored during 18 Domestic (DOM) and 18 International (INT) semi-final and final match sprint races using calibrated SRM power meters (Julich, Germany, professional version). The 36 race profiles used for analysis were matched so that each group of 18 had the same number of cyclists contributing races from the same number of semi-final and final race efforts.

Although not statistically significant it appears that international match sprint racing tends to be associated with a slightly lower peak (∼70W, 3.6%) and higher average (∼54W, 10%) power output. Further research is required to understand whether these differences are meaningful and whether specific training programs could be tailored to these unique demands.

We have documented peak and sustained power output during sprint cycling that establish new extremes in human physiology. A greater understanding of those physiological traits that are required for success at the highest level of match sprinting may be obtained by comparing data collected from winners vs losers in the final rounds of competition.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-12-01

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