The distribution of anaerobic energy in 1000 and 4000 metre cycling bouts

Int J Sports Med. 1992 Aug;13(6):447-51. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1021296.


In sprinting events of short duration, performance depends not only on the mean external power output and the frictional losses but also on the distribution of energy over the race. To investigate the optimal distribution of anaerobic energy during cycling the 1000 m time trial and the 4000 m pursuit, we simulated a power equation which contains expressions for the production of aerobic and anaerobic power, for frictional losses and for the rate of change of kinetic energy. Parameters for air- and rolling resistance were derived from the literature and the equations for aerobic and anaerobic power production were based on supra-maximal bicycle ergometer tests. Simulated lap and final times were compared to those realized by the best four athletes during the 1990 World Championships. The mean final times of these athletes of 64.1 s and 272.6 s for the 1000 m and 4000 m respectively were closely approximated by the simulated times of 63.7 s and 281.3 s. The simulations show that performance in the 1000 m race depends to a great extent on a large power output at the onset of the race. Moreover, it is demonstrated that this distance should be cycled in an all out fashion and not with a uniform velocity after the start despite the higher air frictional losses. For the 4000 m pursuit it appears to be more effective to perform a short but powerful start and then continue the race with a constant or only slightly decreasing power output.

MeSH terms

  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Friction
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Time Factors