Optimizing the Team for Required Power During Track Cycling Team Pursuit

Levi Heimans, Wouter R Dijkshoorn, Marco J M Hoozemans, Jos J de Koning

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PURPOSE: Since the aim of the men's team pursuit in time trial track cycling is to accomplish a distance of 4000m as fast as possible, optimizing aerodynamic drag can contribute to achieving this goal. The aim of this study is to determine the drafting effect in second, third and fourth position during the team pursuit in track cycling as a function of the team members' individual frontal areas in order to minimize the required power.

METHOD: Eight experienced track cyclists of the Dutch national selection performed 39 trials of 3-km in different teams of four cyclists at a constant velocity of 15.75 m/s. Frontal projected areas were determined and together with field derived drag coefficients (Cd) for all four positions, the relationships between frontal areas of team members and drag fractions were estimated using Generalized Estimating Equations.

RESULTS: The frontal area (Ap) of both the cyclist directly in front of the drafter and the drafter himself turned out to be significant determinants of the drag fraction at the drafter's position (p<0.05), for all three drafting positions. Predicted required power for individuals in drafting positions differed up to 35 W depending on team composition. For a team, a maximal difference in team efficiency (1.2%) exists by selecting cyclists in a specific sequence.

CONCLUSION: Estimating required power for a specific team composition gives insight into differences in team efficiency for the team pursuit. Furthermore, required power for individual team members ranges substantially depending on team composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1385-1391
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Journal Article


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