Optimal power-to-mass ratios when predicting flat and hill-climbing time-trial cycling

A.M. Nevill, S.A. Jobson, R.C.R. Davison, A.E. Jeukendrup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this article was to establish whether previously reported oxygen-to-mass ratios, used to predict flat and hill-climbing cycling performance, extend to similar power-to-mass ratios incorporating other, often quick and convenient measures of power output recorded in the laboratory [maximum aerobic power (WMAP), power output at ventilatory threshold (WVT) and average power output (WAVG) maintained during a 1 h performance test]. A proportional allometric model was used to predict the optimal power-to-mass ratios associated with cycling speeds during flat and hill-climbing cycling. The optimal models predicting flat time-trial cycling speeds were found to be (WMAPm−0.48)0.54, (WVTm−0.48)0.46 and (WAVGm−0.34)0.58 that explained 69.3, 59.1 and 96.3% of the variance in cycling speeds, respectively. Cross-validation results suggest that, in conjunction with body mass, WMAP can provide an accurate and independent prediction of time-trial cycling, explaining 94.6% of the variance in cycling speeds with the standard deviation about the regression line, s=0.686 km h−1. Based on these models, there is evidence to support that previously reported V˙O2V˙O2 -to-mass ratios associated with flat cycling speed extend to other laboratory-recorded measures of power output (i.e. Wm−0.32). However, the power-function exponents (0.54, 0.46 and 0.58) would appear to conflict with the assumption that the cyclists’ speeds should be proportional to the cube root (0.33) of power demand/expended, a finding that could be explained by other confounding variables such as bicycle geometry, tractional resistance and/or the presence of a tailwind. The models predicting 6 and 12% hill-climbing cycling speeds were found to be proportional to (WMAPm−0.91)0.66, revealing a mass exponent, 0.91, that also supports previous research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-431
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • power supply and demand
  • cycling speed
  • maximal aerobic power (WMAP)
  • power at ventilatory threshold (WVT)
  • Average power output (WAVG)


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