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A novel submaximal cycle test to monitor fatigue and predict cycling performance
  1. R P Lamberts,
  2. J Swart,
  3. T D Noakes,
  4. M I Lambert
  1. UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Sport Science Institute of South Africa, Newlands, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Robert Lamberts, UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Sport Science Institute of South Africa, PO Box 115, Newlands 7725, South Africa; robert.lamberts{at}


Objective The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and predictive value of performance parameters, measured by a new novel submaximal cycle protocol, on peak power and endurance cycling performance in well-trained cyclists.

Methods Seventeen well-trained competitive male road racing cyclists completed four peak power output (PPO) tests and four 40-km time trials (40-km TT). Before each test, all cyclists performed a novel submaximal cycle test (Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycle Test (LSCT)). Parameters associated with performance such as power, speed, cadence and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured during the three stages of the test when cyclists rode at workloads coinciding with fixed predetermined heart rates. Heart rate recovery (HRR) was measured after the last stage of the test.

Results Parameters measured during the second and third stages of the LSCT were highly reliable (intraclass correlation range: R=0.85−1.00) with low typical error of measurements (range: 1.3−4.4%). Good relationships were found between the LSCT and cycling performance measured by the PPO and 40-km TT tests. Mean power had stronger relationships with measures of cycling performance during the second (r=0.80−0.89) and third stages (r=0.91−0.94) of the LSCT than HRR (r=0.55−0.68).

Conclusions The LSCT is a reliable novel test which is able to predict peak and endurance cycling performance from submaximal power, RPE and HRR in well-trained cyclists. As these parameters are able to detect meaningful changes more accurately than VO2max, the LSCT has the potential to monitor cycling performance with more precision than other current existing submaximal cycle protocols.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Ethics committee, University of Cape Town, ref no: 265/2006.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.