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.
- heart rate
- power output