Individual aerodynamic and physiological data are critical to optimise cycling time trial performance: one size doesn’t fit all.

Faulkner, S. ORCID: 0000-0003-4688-7252, Jobling, P., Griggs, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-1962-9613 and Siegkas, P., 2024. Individual aerodynamic and physiological data are critical to optimise cycling time trial performance: one size doesn’t fit all. Sports Engineering, 27 (4). ISSN 1369-7072

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Cycling time trials are characterised by riders adopting positions to lessen the impact of aerodynamic drag. Aerodynamic positions likely impact the power a rider is able to produce due to changes in oxygen consumption, blood flow, muscle activation and economy. Therefore, the gain from optimising aerodynamics must outweigh the potential physiological cost. The aim was to establish the relationship between energy expenditure and aerodynamic drag, with a secondary aim to determine the reliability of a commercialy avalible handlebar mounted aero device for measuring aerodynamic drag. Nine trained male cyclists volunteered for the study. They completed 4 x 3,200 m on an outdoor velodrome where stack height was adjusted in 1cm integers. The drag coefficient (CdA), oxygen consumption and aerodynamic-physiological economy (APE) was determined at each stack height, with data used to model 40 km TT performance. Small to moderate effect sizes (ES) in response to stack height change were found for: CdA, APE and energy cost. Change in TT time was correlated to ∆aerodynamic drag and ∆APE. Meaningful impacts of change in stack height on CdA, APE, energy cost and predicted TT performance, are apparentwith highly individualised responses to positional changes.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Sports Engineering
Creators: Faulkner, S., Jobling, P., Griggs, K. and Siegkas, P.
Publisher: Springer
Date: January 2024
Volume: 27
Number: 4
ISSN: 1369-7072
Rights: This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 17 Jan 2024 10:39
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2024 14:26

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