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Int J Sports Med. 2005 Nov;26(9):739-46.

Torque and power-velocity relationships in cycling: relevance to track sprint performance in world-class cyclists.

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Laboratoire de Biomécanique et de Modélisation Humaine (Equipe Physiologie de l'Exercice)--Faculté de Médecine Lyon-Sud, Oullins cedex, France.


The aims of the present study were both to describe anthropometrics and cycling power-velocity characteristics in top-level track sprinters, and to test the hypothesis that these variables would represent interesting predictors of the 200 m track sprint cycling performance. Twelve elite cyclists volunteered to perform a torque-velocity test on a calibrated cycle ergometer, after the measurement of their lean leg volume (LLV) and frontal surface area (A(p)), in order to draw torque- and power-velocity relationships, and to evaluate the maximal power (P(max)), and both the optimal pedalling rate (f(opt)) and torque (T(opt)) at which P (max) is reached. The 200 m performances--i.e. velocity (V200) and pedalling rate (f 200)--were measured during international events (REC) and in the 2002 French Track Cycling Championships (NAT). P(max), f(opt), and T(opt) were respectively 1600 +/- 116 W, 129.8 +/- 4.7 rpm and 118.5 +/- 9.8 N . m. P(max) was strongly correlated with T(opt) (p < 0.001), which was correlated with LLV (p < 0.01). V200 was related to P(max) normalized by A(p) (p < or = 0.05) and also to f(opt) (p < 0.01) for REC and NAT. f 200 (155.2 +/- 3, REC; 149 +/- 4.3, NAT) were significantly higher than f(opt) (p < 0.001). These findings demonstrated that, in this population of world-class track cyclists, the optimization of the ratio between P(max) and A(p) represents a key factor of 200 m performance. Concerning the major role also played by f(opt), it is assumed that, considering high values of f 200, sprinters with a high value of optimal pedalling rate (i.e. lower f200-f(opt) difference) could be theoretically in better conditions to maximize their power output during the race and hence performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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