The effect of variable gradients on pacing in cycling time-trials.

Cangley, P. and Passfield, Louis and Carter, Helen and Bailey, M. (2011) The effect of variable gradients on pacing in cycling time-trials. International journal of sports medicine, 32 (2). pp. 132-6. ISSN 1439-3964. (doi: (Full text available)


It has been reported that performance in cycling time-trials is enhanced when power is varied in response to gradient although such a mechanical pacing strategy has never been confirmed experimentally in the field. The aim of this study was, therefore, to assess the efficacy of mechanical pacing by comparing a constant power strategy of 255 W with a variable power strategy that averaged to 255 W over an undulating time-trial course. 20 experienced cyclists completed 4 trials over a 4 km course with 2 trials at an average constant power of 253 W and 2 trials where power was varied in response to gradient and averaged 260 W. Time normalised to 255 W was 411±31.1 s for the constant power output trials and 399±29.5 s for the variable power output trials. The variable power output strategy therefore reduced completion time by 12±8 s (2.9%) which was significant ( P<0.001). Participants experienced difficulty in applying a constant power strategy over an undulating course which acted to reduce their time gain. It is concluded that a variable power strategy can improve cycling performance in a field time-trial where the gradient is not constant.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Louis Passfield
Date Deposited: 31 May 2011 12:36 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 13:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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