European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 95, Issue 5–6, pp 529–536 | Cite as

Power output during women’s World Cup road cycle racing

  • Tammie R. EbertEmail author
  • David T. Martin
  • Warren McDonald
  • James Victor
  • John Plummer
  • Robert T. Withers
Original Article


Little information exists on the power output demands of competitive women’s road cycle racing. The purpose of our investigation was to document the power output generated by elite female road cyclists who achieved success in FLAT and HILLY World Cup races. Power output data were collected from 27 top-20 World Cup finishes (19 FLAT and 8 HILLY) achieved by 15 nationally ranked cyclists (mean ± SD; age: 24.1±4.0 years; body mass: 57.9±3.6 kg; height: 168.7±5.6 cm; \(\ifmmode\expandafter\dot\else\expandafter\.\fi{V}{\text{O}}_{{2\max}}:\) 63.6±2.4 mL kg−1  min−1; peak power during graded exercise test (GXTpeak power): 310±25 W). The GXT determined GXTpeak power, \(\ifmmode\expandafter\dot\else\expandafter\.\fi{V}{\text{O}}_{{2\ peak}},\) lactate threshold (LT) and anaerobic threshold (AT). Bicycles were fitted with SRM powermeters, which recorded power (W), cadence (rpm), distance (km) and speed (km h−1). Racing data were analysed to establish time in power output and metabolic threshold bands and maximal mean power (MMP) over different durations. When compared to HILLY, FLAT were raced at a similar cadence (75±8 vs. 75±4 rpm, P=0.93) but higher speed (37.6±2.6 vs. 33.9±2.7 km h−1, P=0.008) and power output (192±21 vs. 169±17 W, P=0.04; 3.3±0.3 vs. 3.0±0.4 W kg−1, P=0.04). During FLAT races, riders spent significantly more time above 500 W, while greater race time was spent between 100 and 300 W (LT-AT) for HILLY races, with higher MMPs for 180–300 s. Racing terrain influenced the power output profiles of our internationally competitive female road cyclists. These data are the first to define the unique power output requirements associated with placing well in both flat and hilly women’s World Cup cycling events.


Competition analysis Maximal mean power SRM powermeter 



The authors acknowledge the Australian Institute of Sport Women’s Cycling squad for participating in and supporting the collection of race data. Hamilton Lee and Cassie Trewin are also thanked for assisting with data collection in 1999–2001. Dr Iñigo Mujika is thanked for his constructive manuscript comments. This study would not have been possible without financial support from the Australian Sports Commission, Cycling Australia and Flinders University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tammie R. Ebert
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • David T. Martin
    • 1
  • Warren McDonald
    • 3
  • James Victor
    • 3
  • John Plummer
    • 4
  • Robert T. Withers
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyAustralian Institute of SportCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Exercise Physiology LaboratoryFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Cycling ProgramAustralian Institute of SportCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive CareFlinders Medical CentreAdelaideAustralia

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