Demands of professional cycling races: Influence of race category and result

Teun van Erp*, Dajo Sanders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study analyses the influence of race category and result on the demands of professional cycling races. In total, 2920 race files were collected from 20 male professional cyclists, within a variety of race categories: Single-day (1.WT) and multi-day (2.WT) World Tour races, single-day (1.HC) and multi-day (2.HC) Hors Catégorie races and single-day (1.1) and multi-day (2.1) category 1 races. Additionally, the five cycling “monuments” were analysed separately. Maximal mean power outputs (MMP) were measured across a broad range of durations. Volume and load were large to very largely (d = 1.30–4.80) higher in monuments compared to other single-day race categories. Trivial to small differences were observed for most intensity measures between different single-day race categories, with only RPE and sRPE·km−1 being moderately (d = 0.70–1.50) higher in the monuments. Distance and duration were small to moderately (d = 0.20–0.80) higher in 2.WT races compared to 2.HC and 2.1 multi-day race categories with only small differences in terms of load and intensity. Generally, higher ranked races (i.e. Monuments, 2.WT and GT) tend to present with lower shorter-duration MMPs (e.g. 5–120 sec) compared to races of “lower rank” (with less differences and/or mixed results being present over longer durations), potentially caused by a “blunting” effect of the higher race duration and load of higher ranked races on short duration MMPs. MMP were small to largely higher over shorter durations (<5 min) for a top-10 result compared to no top-10, within the same category.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean journal of sport science
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2020


  • cycling
  • Elite
  • heart rate
  • performance
  • power output


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