Optimal pacing for optimal performance

In cooperation with the Department of Computer and Information Science (Prof. Dietmar Saupe)

Individual time trial is one of the most challenging disciplines in road cycling. Each rider conquers a given course all by himself in the shortest possible time. One of the biggest challenges for the rider is to strategically plan the effort based on the characteristics of the course and the individual physiological capabilities. A higher variation of the course profile makes it more difficult for the rider to find an optimal pacing strategy. Even in professional cycling, pacing strategies are based alone on experience and prior knowledge of coaches and athletes.

Within the Powerbike Project  (Prof. Dietmar Saupe) from the Department of Computer and Information Science, our aim is to develop computable optimal pacing strategies for individual time trials and arbitrary course profiles. By using methods of applied mathematics the pacing strategies are generated by models of the rider’s physiology, a physical model of the system bicycle-cyclist and an exact profile of the time trial course.

Our previous studies show that beginners and amateur level cyclists can improve their time trial performance on computer simulated real world courses in a laboratory setting. In future studies the pacing strategies will be validated in the field with national level and professional road cyclists.  The high practical relevance for this field of study is underlined by our cooperation partners the German Cycling Federation (“Bund Deutscher Radfahrer”) and the professional cycling team “Bora-hansgrohe”. This project is funded partly by the “Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaft” (BISp).“