Mathematical model of cycling performance

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1993 Aug;75(2):730-7. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1993.75.2.730.


A model of cycling performance is presented. The model is based on equating two expressions for the total amount of work performed. One expression is deduced from biomechanical principles deriving energy requirements from total resistance. The other models the energy available from aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, including the effect of oxygen uptake kinetics at the onset of exercise. The equation can then be solved for any of the variables. Empirically derived field and laboratory data were used to assess the accuracy of the model. Model estimates of 4,000-m individual pursuit performance times showed a correlation of 0.803 (P < or = 0.0001) with times measured in 18 high-performance track cyclists, with a mean difference (predicted--measured) of 4.6 s (1.3% of mean performance time). The model enables estimates of the performance impact of alterations in physiological, biomechanical, anthropometric, and environmental parameters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis / physiology
  • Anaerobiosis / physiology
  • Bicycling*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Surface Area
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology