Correlations between physiological variables and performance in high level cross country off road cyclists


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Abstract

Objectives:To examine the relations between maximal and submaximal indices of aerobic fitness and off road cycling performance in a homogeneous group of high level mountain bikers.Methods:12 internationally competitive mountain bikers completed the study. Maximum oxygen uptake (V˙o2max), peak power output (PPO), power output (PO), and oxygen uptake (V˙o2) at first (VT) and second (RCT) ventilatory thresholds were measured in the laboratory, and correlated with race time during a cross country circuit race.Results:The only physiological indices of aerobic fitness correlated with off road cycling performance were PO and V˙o2 at RCT when normalised to body mass (r  = −0.63 and r  = −0.66, respectively; p<0.05). VT, V˙o2max, and PPO were not correlated to performance in this homogeneous group of high level mountain bikers.Conclusions:The results of this study suggest that submaximal indices of aerobic fitness such as PO and V˙o2 at RCT are more important determinants of off road cycling performance than maximal indices such as PPO and V˙o2max. This study confirms the importance of body mass for mountain biking performance. As aerobic fitness explained only 40% of the variance, other physiological and technical factors should be investigated, as they may be important determinants of cross country performance among elite mountain bikers.

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