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Cycling South Africa Cycling specific testing protocol

High performance testing specific to elite cycling

The primary aims of a scientifically based exercise testing and medical evaluation program are:

To construct an event specific physiological profile and database for long term use. To determine the physiological and health status of athletes and to intervene to alter potentially limiting factors. To indicate the athlete's strengths and weaknesses relevant to his/her discipline and to provide guidance to National coaching structures in optimizing performance. To provide baseline data for accurate and scientific training prescription. To provide the highest standard of scientific expertise and thereby providing insight into the current management, training prescription, health intervention and performance management of athletes. To monitor training induced adaptations and progress

In addition to the above, the performance camp will perform a number of key functions: Measure performance parameters using validated and reliable scientific methods To provide baseline data for accurate and scientific training prescription. Monitoring training status To indicate the athletes strengths and weaknesses relevant to their discipline Establishing sound selection criteria Setting anchor points for monitoring program data Creating an athlete database Monitoring performance outcomes Long term athlete development monitoring Athlete stratification according to international and local standards Creating an event specific physiological profile and database Setting standards for talent ID. Medical screening and intervention Psychology screening and intervention Nutritional screening and intervention Biomechanics screening and intervention Education of athletes

Timing of Scientific testing

Each high performance athlete will complete the above set of tests on two occasions each year. These visits will be set in conjunction with each disciplines racing calendar. Specific dates can be provided if requested. The Lambert and Lamberts submaximal test will be implemented throughout the year and on an ongoing basis for the selected monitored group of athletes.

Discipline specific testing

Rather than applying differing testing protocols to for each discipline, the application of a broad spectrum of sport specific tests allows for the development of an event specific profile for each discipline. The advantages of this system is the ability to identify athletes suited to other disciplines, especially when higher number of athletes are entering the sport through a specific discipline such as BMX (as planned by the development initiatives). Athletes can then be guided to participate in events that suit their specific skill set.

Summary of tests and interventions Peak power output / VO2 peak test

Principle During this test, we measure power output, oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate, lactate turnpoint,

fat / carbohydrate crossover point and metabolic efficiency. These values provide an almost comprehensive analysis of key physiological variables relating to performance as well as providing physiological parameters used to prescribe training intensity. A peak power output test, utilizing the correct protocol has the highest correlation with performance in the field. What does the test consist of? The peak power output test is an incremental test in which the cyclist will begins cycling at a power output of 100 W. The power output will be increased by 20W every minute in a continual ramp until the cyclist is not able to continue. This is the same test that has been used in other labs for elite cyclists (Lucia / Mujika / Padilla etc). The test will last between 30 and 45 minutes (including the warmup period).

40 km Time trial Test

Principle This test is a sustained maximal effort of approximately 60 minutes duration. These time periods are similar to the sustained maximal power output required during competition time trials and during prolonged climbs during races. Research has shown that the power output and heart rate values during a 40km TT have a high correlation with the maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) heart rate and power output. This is the intensity that can be sustained for prolonged period such as alpine climbs and time trials. Average values for heart rate and power output during this time trial test can be compared to the peak values obtained from the peak power output / VO2 peak test to obtain a relative intensity index (discussed below). What does the test consist of? The time trial test will be performed on a simulated 40km time trial course on a laboratory ergometer using the athletes own bicycle. The athlete will perform a maximal effort.

Field Tests
Principle Laboratory testing is often a foreign setting to the elite athlete. It is therefore important to correlate laboratory values with race performance and in addition, on the bike performance. To this end we suggest to additional testing procedures. Repetitive 30 second maximal sprint protocol In brief, this test is performed in the field by the athlete. 10 Maximal effort 30 second sprints are separated by 5 minute rest intervals. This test provides an index of maximal sprinting performance (1st performance) as well as the rate of fatigue and recovery during the repetitive efforts. Maximal vertical ascent (VAM) test. The athlete is asked to perform a single maximal effort climbing performance of approximately 15 minutes or longer (if possible). The vertical rate of ascent, measured in meter per hour (m/hr) is a well documented variable to assess climbing performance.

Biomechanical Bike Setup

Principle The cyclists position relative to the various contact points can dramatically alter performance and comfort. Cycling biomechanics is an often overlooked aspect in the professional cyclist. Dr Jeroen Swart is an internationally recognised expert in the field of cycling biomechanics. What does the test consist of? At SSISA we use scientifically validated biomechanical principles to optimise the cyclists position. In addition we are able to measure mechanical pedalling efficiency using the computrainer spin scan and thereby make small adjustments while monitoring the effects of these changes on various components of the cyclist pedal stroke. We are the worlds first laboratory to utilise and document this feature in an

Computrainer spinscan

internationally peer reviewed scientific journal. A further service, Vicon motion analysis (an infrared 3D scanning device) is available to provide the highest calibre athletes with the most accurate bike setup tool.

Lamberts and Lambert sub-maximal cycle test.

Principle An important consideration during training is allowing an optimal balance between training load and recovery. Excessive training or insufficient recovery can lead to overtraining or fatigue, which result in a loss of performance. The Lamberts and Lambert sub-maximal cycle test is a propriety test developed by Robert Lamberts at ESSM and designed to identify overtraining and fatigue before they occur. In addition the test allows the relationship between power and heart rate to be monitored, a crucial element used in the monitoring of training status. When will the test be performed? This test can be performed using any accurate power meter and indoor trainer. Our proposal is that the Lamberts and Lambert sub-maximal cycle test is be performed by the national squad members at least once every 2 weeks. The test includes a warm-up and will take a maximum of 20 minutes after which normal training can be continued. Therefore the test will have a minimal impact on the cyclists normal training routine. The results of the test will be sent to SSISA by email from the cyclists base in Europe and will be analysed by us. Feedback on each riders data will then be given to the High Performance Director to make a decision whether to alter the cyclists training program or race schedule.

Body composition measurement

Principle Cycling performance, and in particular climbing performance, is critically dependant on optimal body composition. We can perform body composition testing using skin fold measurements at each testing visit or through DEXA scanning. What does the test consist of? Skin fold testing is performed using a small measuring calliper which measures the thickness of the subcutaneous adipose tissue at 7 key areas.

Dexa scanning is a non-invasive test during which the athlete lies on a flat surface under the scanner. The test takes approximately 15 minutes and provides a comprehensive report on body composition as well as showing distribution of various tissue types. This test is considered the gold standard in body composition measurement.

Example of the costing of a performance camp:

No of Days

Description Travel &accomadation requirements 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Specialists/consultants 2.1 Psychologist group workshop 2.2 Dietician group workshop Assessments 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Monitoring program Online athlete monitoring Pre Season Medical (including Resting ECG and basic bloods) Biomechanical and Spin scan analysis Vo2 Max 40 km time trial Body composition Flexibility Report 6 month cycle Domestic flights cyclists Accomadation cyclists (including breakfast and supper) Top up meal (2 per day) Day Lunch Accomadation Sport scientists Vehicle Hire


2800 800 30 100 800 1600 2000 2000

2 3 3 2 3

1250 2000 700 450 100 100 400 6000

Thereafter a camp report will follow.