Relationship between anaerobic cycling tests and mountain bike cross-country performance

J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):1589-93. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318234eb89.


Despite its apparent relevance, there is no evidence supporting the importance of anaerobic metabolism in Olympic crosscountry mountain biking (XCO). The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation between XCO race time and performance indicators of anaerobic power. Ten XCO riders (age: 28 ± 5 years; weight: 68.7 ± 7.7 kg; height: 177.9 ± 7.4 cm; estimated body fat: 5.7 ± 2.8%; estimated ·VO₂max: 68.4 ± 5.7 ml·kg⁻¹·min⁻¹) participating in the Lagos Mountain Bike Championship (Brazil) completed 2 separate testing sessions before the race. In the first session, after anthropometric assessments were performed, the cyclists completed a single 30-second Wingate (WIN) test and an intermittent tests consisting of 5 × 30-second WIN tests (50% of the single WIN load) with 30 seconds of recovery between trials. In the second session, the riders performed a maximal incremental test. A significant correlation was found between race time and maximal power on the 5× WIN test (r = -0.79, IC(95%) -0.94 to -0.32, p = 0.006) and the mean average power on the 5× WIN test normalized by body mass (r = -0.63, IC(95%) -0.90 to -0.01, p = 0.048). The finding of the study supports the use of anaerobic tests for assessing mountain bikers participating in XCO competitions and suggests that anaerobic power is an important determinant of performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*