Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Core temperature up to 41.5ºC during the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in the heat
  1. Sebastien Racinais1,2,
  2. Sebastien Moussay3,
  3. David Nichols1,
  4. Gavin Travers1,
  5. Taoufik Belfekih1,
  6. Yorck Olaf Schumacher1,
  7. Julien D Periard1,4
  1. 1Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Laboratory Sport, Expertise and Performance, French Institute of Sport (INSEP), Paris, France
  3. 3Normandie Univ, Normandie Université, 14000 Caen, France
  4. 4Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), University of Canberra, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sebastien Racinais, Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha 29222, Qatar; sebastien.racinais{at}


Objective To characterise the core temperature response and power output profile of elite male and female cyclists during the 2016 UCI Road World Championships. This may contribute to formulating environmental heat stress policies.

Methods Core temperature was recorded via an ingestible capsule in 10, 15 and 15 cyclists during the team time trial (TTT), individual time trial (ITT) and road race (RR), respectively. Power output and heart rate were extracted from individual cycling computers. Ambient conditions in direct sunlight were hot (37°C±3°C) but dry (25%±16% relative humidity), corresponding to a wet-bulb globe temperature of 27°C±2°C.

Results Core temperature increased during all races (p<0.001), reaching higher peak values in TTT (39.8°C±0.9°C) and ITT (39.8°C±0.4°C), relative to RR (39.2°C±0.4°C, p<0.001). The highest temperature recorded was 41.5°C (TTT). Power output was significantly higher during TTT (4.7±0.3 W/kg) and ITT (4.9±0.5 W/kg) than RR (2.7±0.4 W/kg, p<0.001). Heart rate increased during the TTs (p<0.001) while power output decreased (p<0.001).

Conclusion 85% of the cyclists participating in the study (ie, 34 of 40) reached a core temperature of at least 39°C with 25% (ie, 10 of 40) exceeding 40°C. Higher core temperatures were reached during the time trials than the RR.

  • elite performance
  • exercise
  • thermoregulation
  • exertional heat stress
  • heat stress

Statistics from


  • Contributors SR and JDP conceived the experiments. SR, TB, YOS and JDP designed the experiments. SR, SM, DN and GT collected data. SR analysed data and drafted the manuscript and all authors contributed to the final manuscript.

  • Funding This work was funded by the 2016 UCI Road World Championships organising committee.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The project was approved by the Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar ethics committee (E2016000162).

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

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.