Menaspà P1 , Rampinini E1, Bosio A1, Carlomagno D1, Riggio M1, Sassi A1

1, Human Performance Laboratory, Sport Service MAPEI, Castellanza, Italy

This study analyzes the anthropometric and physiological characteristics of junior cyclists within different cycling specialties and different performance levels. One hundred and thirty-two junior riders (16.8 ± 0.6 years, 177 ± 6 cm, 66.3 ± 6.7 kg) were tested for anthropometric, aerobic and anaerobic parameters. Cyclists were classified within specialties [uphill (UH) flat terrain (FT) all terrain (AT) and sprint (SP)] and performance levels, based on a seasonal ranking [low level (LL) medium level (ML) and high level (HL)]. The results of the two-way analysis of variance showed that FT and SP have greater body dimensions than UH and AT (P<0.001). Concerning the relative aerobic parameters, AT and UH have higher values (P<0.001) than FT and SP [maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max ): 69.4 ± 3.6, 67.5 ± 5.0, 62.8 ± 4.5 and 61.9 ± 4.1 mL/kg/min, respectively] while absolute parameters resulted higher for FT and AT (P≤0.008). The relative power produced in the 5 s test was higher (P<0.001) for AT and SP than FT and UH (16.7 ± 1.1, 16.6 ± 0.6, 14.9 ± 1.7 and 14.4 ± 1.7 W/kg, respectively). Concerning the performance level, only the age and the aerobic parameters resulted differently within levels (VO2max : HL=67.3 ± 4.9, ML=65.5 ± 5.1 and LL=63.3 ± 5.2 mL/kg/min), with the highest values for HL (P≤0.007). In conclusion, juniors are specialized in the same way as professional cyclists and the aerobic characteristics are confirmed as significant in the performance level assessment.

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Jun;22(3):392-8.