Br J Sports Med 44:437-442 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.047787
  • Original article

Examining pacing profiles in elite female road cyclists using exposure variation analysis

  1. P B Laursen1
  1. 1School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology, Bentley, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Chris R Abbiss, School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, 100 Joondalup Dr, Joondalup, WA 6027, Australia; c.abbiss{at}
  • Accepted 14 May 2008
  • Published Online First 3 June 2008


Objective In this study, the amplitude and time distribution of power output in a variety of competitive cycling events through the use of a new mathematical analysis was examined: exposure variation analysis (EVA).

Design Descriptive field study.

Setting Various professional road cycling events, including; a 5-day—eight-stage tour race, a 1-day World Cup event and the Australian National Individual Time Trial Championships.

Participants 9 elite female cyclists (mean (SD), mass = 57.8 (3.4) kg, height = 167.3 (2.8) cm, Vo2peak = 63.2 (5.2) ml kg−1 min−1).

Interventions None.

Main outcome measurements The variation in power output and the quantification of the total time and acute time spent at various exercise intensities during competitive professional cycling were examined. Predefined levels of exercise intensity that elicited first ventilation threshold, second ventilation threshold and maximal aerobic power were determined from a graded exercise test performed before the events and compared with power output during each event.

Results EVA exposed that power output during the time trial was highly variable (EVASD = 2.81 (0.33)) but more evenly distributed than the circuit/criterium (4.23 (0.31)) and road race events (4.81 (0.96)).

Conclusion EVA may be useful for illustrating variations in the amplitude and time distribution of power output during cycling events. The specific race format influenced not only the overall time spent in various power bands, but also the acute time spent at these exercise intensities.


  • Competing interests None.

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