Modelling Training and Performance in Elite Cyclists

Lead Research Organisation: University of Kent
Department Name: Centre for Sports Studies


The cumulative effect of training has been calculated to be the single most important factor influencing subsequent cycling performance. Given its significance, it is surprising that relatively little research attention has been directed to optimising this process. Previous attempts have been made to model training mathematically. These models have used some simple assumptions about the effect of training on performance and have been moderately successful, but only in the context of the laboratory. However, these studies have not succeeded in assisting coaches working with elite athletes as the mathematical models are too simple. As a consequence, the current practice of training cyclists relies simply upon coaches' intuition and experience. Recently it has become possible to measure the work done by cyclists directly from their bicycles. Consequently there is now a large database of detailed data on the work performed by racing cyclists in training and competition. This large amount of detailed, and accurate information on the amount of work that riders have completed in training and racing is unique to cycling and not possible to measure in athletes involved in other sports. Therefore, this study will take a new approach to modelling training by attempting to use this available training to try and learn more about the training process. The successful findings of this research will benefit British Cycling's riders and coaches, in the form of improved performance and more medals won. The findings will also help reduce under-achievement, and provide a greater understanding of the nature of training and the athletes' response. Finally, the results may also be of interest to all people looking to make the most of the beneficial effects of exercise.


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Description UK Sport 
Organisation UK Sport
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2007