Many recent investigations involving cycling time trials have demonstrated that a variable pacing strategy can offer gains of up to 10% compared to a constant pacing strategy depending on the profile of the course. These investigations, based on simplistic mathematical models, suggest that cyclists should always increase their work rate during climbs and reduce their work rates during descents. However, due to the structure of the models, no consideration is made as to whether the cyclist can physiologically support the changes in their work rate necessary to generate the predicted time savings. In this study, a new mathematical model for a cycling time trial is derived that incorporates a bioenergetic component explicitly modelling the exhaustion of the cyclist's energy reserves. The model equations are calibrated and numerically solved for a range of theoretical courses to generate optimal pacing strategies. It is shown that a variable pacing strategy is beneficial for events of a short duration (<2000 s for the calibration applied) but offers no benefit for events of a longer duration.Furthermore, since the model is based on a combination of physical and physiological parameters, it has the potential to generate athlete- and course-specific pacing strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sports Science
StateSubmitted - 2017

    Research areas

  • bioenergetic mathematical model , cycling time trials, cyclist energy reserves , pacing strategies

ID: 925006