Peak power output, the lactate threshold, and time trial performance in cyclists

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Dec;33(12):2077-81. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200112000-00016.


Purpose: To determine the relationship between maximum workload (W(peak)), the workload at the onset of blood lactate accumulation (W(OBLA)), the lactate threshold (W(LTlog)) and the D(max) lactate threshold, and the average power output obtained during a 90-min (W(90-min)) and a 20-min (W(20-min)) time trial (TT) in a group of well-trained cyclists.

Methods: Nine male cyclists (.VO(2max) 62.7 +/- 0.8 who were competing regularly in triathlon or cycle TT were recruited for the study. Each cyclist performed four tests on an SRM isokinetic cycle ergometer over a 2-wk period. The tests comprised 1) a continuous incremental ramp test for determination of maximal oxygen uptake (.VO(2max) (L.min(-1) and; 2) a continuous incremental lactate test to measure W(peak), W(OBLA), W(LTlog), and the D(max) lactate threshold; and 3) a 20-min TT and 4) a 90-min TT, both to determine the average power output (in watts).

Results: The average power output during the 90-min TT (W(90-min)) was significantly (P < 0.01) correlated with W(peak) (r = 0.91), W(LTlog) (r = 0.91), and the D(max) lactate threshold (r = 0.77, P < 0.05). In contrast, W(20-min) was significantly (P < 0.05) related to .VO(2max) (L.min(-1)) (r = 0.69) and W(LTlog) (r = 0.67). The D(max) lactate threshold was not significantly correlated to W(20-min) (r = 0.45). Furthermore, W(OBLA) was not correlated to W(90-min) (r = 0.54) or W(20-min) (r = 0.23). In addition, .VO(2max) ( was not significantly related to W(90-min) (r = 0.11) or W(20-min) (r = 0.47).

Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate that in subelite cyclists the relationship between maximum power output and the power output at the lactate threshold, obtained during an incremental exercise test, may change depending on the length of the TT that is completed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood*
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Time Factors


  • Lactic Acid