Sports Engineering

, 22:6 | Cite as

Adaptive feedback system for optimal pacing strategies in road cycling

  • Stefan Wolf
  • Francesco Biral
  • Dietmar SaupeEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Measuring Behavior in Sport and Exercise


In road cycling, the pacing strategy plays an important role, especially in solo events like individual time trials. Nevertheless, not much is known about pacing under varying conditions. Based on mathematical models, optimal pacing strategies were derived for courses with varying slope or wind, but rarely tested for their practical validity. In this paper, we present a framework for feedback during rides in the field based on optimal pacing strategies and methods to update the strategy if conditions are different than expected in the optimal pacing strategy. To update the strategy, two solutions based on model predictive control and proportional–integral–derivative control, respectively, are presented. Real rides are simulated inducing perturbations like unexpected wind or errors in the model parameter estimates, e.g., rolling resistance. It is shown that the performance drops below the best achievable one taking into account the perturbations when the strategy is not updated. This is mainly due to premature exhaustion or unused energy resources at the end of the ride. Both the proposed strategy updates handle those problems and ensure that a performance close to the best under the given conditions is delivered.


Optimal pacing Road cycling Pacing control Feedback 



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Copyright information

© International Sports Engineering Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer and Information ScienceUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  2. 2.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

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