Objective: To examine the amplitude and time distribution of power output in a variety of competitive cycling events through the use of a new mathematical analysis; exposure variation analysis (EVA).
Design: Descriptive field study
Setting: Various professional road cycling events, including; a 5 day - 8 stage tour race, a one day World Cup event and the Australian National Individual Time Trial Championships.
Participants: Nine elite female cyclists (mean ± SD: mass = 57.8 ± 3.4 kg, height = 167.3 ± 2.8cm, VO2peak = 63.2 ± 5.2 mL.kg-1.min-1).
Main Outcome Measurements: The examination of the variation in power output and the quantification of the total time and acute time spent at various exercise intensities during competitive professional cycling. Pre-defined levels of exercise intensity that elicited first ventilation threshold, second ventilation threshold and maximal aerobic power were determined from a graded exercise test performed prior to the events and compared with power output during each event.
Results: Exposure variation analysis 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: Exposure variation analysis 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.