We investigated the effect of carbohydrate (CHO) ingestion before and during exercise and in combination on glucose kinetics, metabolism and performance in seven trained men, who cycled for 120 min (SS) at approximately 63% of peak power output, followed by a 7 kJ/kg body wt time trial (TT). On four separate occasions, subjects received either a placebo beverage before and during SS (PP); placebo 30 min before and 2 g/kg body wt of CHO in a 6.4% CHO solution throughout SS (PC); 2 g/kg body wt of CHO in a 25.7% CHO beverage 30 min before and placebo throughout SS (CP); or 2 g/kg body wt of CHO in a 25.7% CHO beverage 30 min before and 2 g/kg of CHO in a 6.4% CHO solution throughout SS (CC). Ingestion of CC and CP markedly (>8 mM) increased plasma glucose concentration ([glucose]) compared with PP and PC (5 mM). However, plasma [glucose] fell rapidly at the onset of SS so that after 80 min it was similar (6 mM) between all treatments. After this time, plasma [glucose] declined in both PP and CP (P < 0.05) but was well maintained in both CC and PC. Ingestion of CC and CP increased rates of glucose appearance (R(a)) and disappearance (R(d)) compared with PP and PC at the onset of, and early during, SS (P < 0.05). However, late in SS, both glucose R(a) and R(d) were higher in CC and PC compared with other trials (P < 0.05). Although calculated rates of glucose oxidation were different when comparing the four trials (P < 0.05), total CHO oxidation and total fat oxidation were similar. Despite this, TT was improved in CC and PC compared with PP (P < 0.05). We conclude that 1) preexercise ingestion of CHO improves performance only when CHO ingestion is maintained throughout exercise, and 2) ingestion of CHO during 120 min of cycling improves subsequent TT performance.