Sanders D, van Erp T & de Koning JJ (2019) Intensity and Load Characteristics of Professional Road Cycling: Differences between Men's and Women's Races. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 14 (3), pp. 296-302. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2018-0190
This study provides a retrospective analysis of a large competition database describing the intensity and load demands of professional road cycling races, highlighting the differences between men’s and women’s races.
Twenty male and ten female professional cyclists participated in this study. During 4 consecutive years, heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and power output (PO) data were collected during both male (n = 3024) and female (n = 667) professional races. Intensity distribution in five HR zones was quantified. Competition load was calculated using different metrics including Training Stress Score (TSS), Training Impulse (TRIMP) and session-RPE (sRPE). Standardized effect size is reported as Cohen’s d.
Large to very large higher values (d = 1.36 – 2.86) were observed for distance, duration, total work (kJ) and mean PO in men’s races. Time spent in high intensity HR zones (i.e. zone 4 and zone 5) was largely higher in women’s races (d = 1.38 – 1.55) compared to men’s races. Small higher loads were observed in men’s races quantified using TSS (d = 0.53) and TRIMP (d = 0.23). However, load metrics expressed per km were large to very largely higher in women’s races for TSS∙km-1 (d = 1.50) and TRIMP∙km-1 (d = 2.31).
Volume and absolute load are higher in men’s races whilst intensity and time spent at high intensity zones is higher in women’s races. Coaches and practitioners should consider these differences in demands in the preparation of professional road cyclists.
cycling; performance; training impulse; training load; heart rate;
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance: Volume 14, Issue 3
|Funders||Vrije Amsterdam University|
|Publication date online||06/08/2018|
|Date accepted by journal||06/08/2018|