European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 424–431

Optimal power-to-mass ratios when predicting flat and hill-climbing time-trial cycling


    • Research Institute of Healthcare Sciences, Simon Jobson, School of Sport, Performing Arts and LeisureUniversity of Wolverhampton
  • S. A. Jobson
    • Research Institute of Healthcare Sciences, Simon Jobson, School of Sport, Performing Arts and LeisureUniversity of Wolverhampton
  • R. C. R. Davison
    • Department of Sport and Exercise ScienceUniversity of Portsmouth
  • A. E. Jeukendrup
    • School of Sport and Exercise SciencesThe University of Birmingham
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-006-0189-6

Cite this article as:
Nevill, A.M., Jobson, S.A., Davison, R.C.R. et al. Eur J Appl Physiol (2006) 97: 424. doi:10.1007/s00421-006-0189-6


The purpose of this article was to establish whether previously reported oxygen-to-mass ratios, used to predict flat and hill-climbing cycling performance, extend to similar power-to-mass ratios incorporating other, often quick and convenient measures of power output recorded in the laboratory [maximum aerobic power (WMAP), power output at ventilatory threshold (WVT) and average power output (WAVG) maintained during a 1 h performance test]. A proportional allometric model was used to predict the optimal power-to-mass ratios associated with cycling speeds during flat and hill-climbing cycling. The optimal models predicting flat time-trial cycling speeds were found to be (WMAPm−0.48)0.54, (WVTm−0.48)0.46 and (WAVGm−0.34)0.58 that explained 69.3, 59.1 and 96.3% of the variance in cycling speeds, respectively. Cross-validation results suggest that, in conjunction with body mass, WMAP can provide an accurate and independent prediction of time-trial cycling, explaining 94.6% of the variance in cycling speeds with the standard deviation about the regression line, s=0.686 km h−1. Based on these models, there is evidence to support that previously reported \(\dot{V}\hbox{O}_{2}\)-to-mass ratios associated with flat cycling speed extend to other laboratory-recorded measures of power output (i.e. Wm−0.32). However, the power-function exponents (0.54, 0.46 and 0.58) would appear to conflict with the assumption that the cyclists’ speeds should be proportional to the cube root (0.33) of power demand/expended, a finding that could be explained by other confounding variables such as bicycle geometry, tractional resistance and/or the presence of a tailwind. The models predicting 6 and 12% hill-climbing cycling speeds were found to be proportional to (WMAPm−0.91)0.66, revealing a mass exponent, 0.91, that also supports previous research.


Power supply and demandCycling speedMaximal aerobic power (WMAP)Power at ventilatory threshold (WVT)Average power output (WAVG)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006