Road sprint cyclist activities
involves explosive burst(s) that could span from few seconds up to 2 minutes.
Anaerobic metabolic pathways, namely the adenosine triphosphate phosphocreatine
ATP-PCr pathway and the glycolytic pathway will be main energy system use in such
intensity and duration (Coppin et al. p 232. 2012). Sprint
cyclist also, requires the capability to sustain high intensity energy (aerobic
and anaerobic) demand for many kilometres (Menaspà, p 37.
2013). In addition, there is also a very intense last 10
minutes of a race prior to the sprint, in other to stay with the peloton (Menaspà, p 37. 2013). The factors
associated with the sprint performance are physical, technical and tactical Menaspà, (2015). “A sprint
cyclist is a road bicycle
racer who can finish a race very
explosively by accelerating quickly to a high speed” (Menaspà  et
al. 2015). “Often using the slipstream of another cyclist or group
of cyclists tactically to
conserve energy” (Menaspà
 et al. 2013).
Martin et al. 2007 concluded that sprinting performances qualities are
determine based on the interaction of power production, resistance, and the
ability to switch the energy systems.

To design an effective training programme, it is vital to
comprehend the physical demands and element pertaining to an athlete’s specific
sport, in this case a road sprint cyclist. An understanding of these demands
would place both coach and athlete in a better position to facilitate safe and
effective training (Menaspà, p 38. 2013), not only will this improve
performance but also reduce or prevent injury too. With many races set
specifically for road sprinters; “7 out
of ten 21 stages within Grand Tours” (Menaspà,
p 35. 2013). Thus, the ability to
sprint is an important aspect and would place cyclist in better position in
terms of performance result.

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According to Lucia et al. (1998)
cyclists of certain specialties have comparable body features. Sprint cyclist
and flat terrain cyclist were found to have similar anthropometrics “usually taller and heavier” (Lucia et
al., 2001; Sallet et al. 2006). Yet, significantly different to other
specialist riders (Peinado et al. 2011). Several
studies have concluded that cyclist performance is not only reliance to the
physiological demands made, but also their morphology has a great correlation
to the effort made during forward movement, and to some extend dictate a
cyclist role within a team in competitions (Peinado et
al. 2011). Cyclists often employ tactic to conserve energy approximately by
25% by positioning themselves at the rear of a peloton prior to start of a
sprint to mitigate aerodynamic drag. Hence why, the ability to generate high
speed swiftly is key to narrowing a gap, breaking away or sprinting to finish (Mujika
et al. p 284. 2016). However, this tactic
can be disadvantageous since the cyclist must increase speed in a short span to
pass the leading riders to emerge victorious (Martin et
al. p 15. 2007). Other variables to factor in too are bike position; i.e. standing
or seated (Menaspà, p
38. 2013).

Sprint cycling is classified as
non-impact activity, but due to the high repetitive actions cyclists are also susceptible
to injuries such as anterior knee pain and posterior leg pain (calf and
hamstring) (Adams p 8. 2014). Studies has found cyclist on average will pedal
5700 times per leg in an hour. As duration and intensity increase biomechanical
faults with be exposed. Poor ergonomic too will lead to sprains and strains in
joints and muscles respectively (Adams p 8. 2014). Muscle injuries do in most
cases lead to strength asymmetry (Rannama et al. 2015). It has been reported
that ankle plantar flexors activity in pedalling power is reduce with higher
Cadence of 120 rpm. However, there are studies that concluded bilateral
asymmetry of muscle strength were non-significant in other sport related
movements (Rannama et al. p 248. 2015).

Design in the 1970s, the Wingate test, sometimes called the
Wingate anaerobic test, is a use to measure the strength, power, and endurance
of a sportsperson. It is conducted on a static bike, built exclusively to test
anaerobic power in a lab based setting. It has the facility to measure energy
data, in form of watts based on the cyclist maximal pedal effort for a given
time (Ungvarsky, et al. (encyclopedia) 2016). The 30
Wingate test has been widely used to measure anaerobic capacity and has a very
strong correlation in short sports that required all-out efforts (Calbet et al. p 308. 1997). An athlete’s fitness
status will determine their anaerobic threshold. For example, Gastin et al. (1994)
in their study noted that more time (60 seconds plus) was needed to determine
maximal oxygen deficit in a highly conditioned endurance and sprint sportsperson
(Calbet et al. p 308. 1997).

Prior to doing any
cardiovascular assessment, gastrocnemius and soleus strength would be established.
Because the individual has already elapsed the soft tissue healing time of 6 –
8 weeks, 5 stages of rehab has been exhausted. According Houglum, second
edition, p 49 (2005) at 6-week muscle tissue contraction ability is 90% normal.
Therefore, calf strength will be assess as stipulated by Daniels-Worthingham’s
– manual muscle testing grade (Harris- Love et
al. p 545. 2014).

The Wingate test offer
specificity in terms of return to sport ergometer, in line with Zemková and Hamar p 168. 2004 recommendations. Great for functional muscle activation pattern
for sprint cycling setting (Coppin et al. p 235. 2012). Compare to Cunningham
speed test; which is a non-cycling based anaerobic assessment, high foot impact
with steep gradient that places the foot in dorsiflexion. Therefore, stretching
(eccentrically) and extremely loading the calf muscles. Wingate, is non-impact
and less strenuous to the ankle plantar flexors; the production of power in
cycling is ultimately reliance on the kinetic chain muscles interactions; data
has shown the knee generates 49% of the pedalling power, 32% at the hip and the
ankle 9% (Martin et al. p 7. 2007).  Nonetheless, it does not offer all the
environmental factors in real life setting. Cyclist will encounter arrays
of terrains and competitive situations, due to contemporary race types. For
example; Tour de France stage performances are; flat terrain, mountain and high
mountain (Peinado et al. 2011). The
Wingate test is very costly therefore, it’s not always at disposal of athletes.
However, from a safety perspective the Wingate is far safer than most test, because
speed is dictated by the athlete, where as in Cunningham speed test it is fixed
at high for some, Magaria step test 1966, tripping risk is high, especially on sportsperson
returning from injury lacking agility, balance and co-ordination.

Research has found the
glycolytic (anaerobic) and ATP-PCr energy systems accounts for 56% and 28%
respectively during a 30 second Wingate test (Coppin et
al. p 232. 2012). The Wingate test is supposed to measure anaerobic capacity,
this percentile could raise doubt on reliability. The ATP-PCr energy system;
which can last between 3 to 15 seconds, cannot be bypass because it is initial
energy pathway during activity (Zupan et al. p 2598. 2009). The validity of the
results obtain from has been questionable at times due to conflicting mechanism
of testing; for example, Maud and Shultz 1989 in their research used the resistance
of 7.5% in relation body weight. This was deemed low by Coppin et al. 2012.
They instead used 8.5% which resulted in higher peak power and mean power. In
fact, research has shown a significant correlation in resistance and peak
power; increase resistance well above the 8.5% led to increase peak power but a
diminish mean power.

In 2001. Martin et al in their
studies of determinants of maximal cycling power; reported crank lengths do not
have any effect on power during maximal sprints. However, a variation of 50 mm
or more in crank length couple together with high pedalling rate can have
positive influence in maximal power production (Martin et al. p 6. 2007). While
it has being widely hypotheses that maximal power to be main determinant of
sprint performance. However, in a study conducted by Dorel et al (2005)
reported a significant correlation with power output in relation to cyclist
frontal area and sprint performance (Menaspà,
p. 35 2013). These findings may invalidate any results obtain from Wingate test
in terms of sprint performance. Sprint
cyclist produced around 8 to 12% more power in standing position during the
early phase of a Wingate sprint test (Martin et al. 2007).

 

The most critical components of cycling
fitness are cardiovascular, power, muscular endurance, and body composition (Zupan et al. p 2598. 2009). Anaerobic exercise is the
exertion of energy without the consumption of oxygen; lasting up to
approximately 90 seconds (Wilmore et al. 2004). According to Calbet et al.1997
concluded, the Wingate test of 80 to 90% of the oxygen deficit incurred is
valid as an estimate of the anaerobic threshold. The ability to sustain
anaerobic pathway efficiently will lead to the athlete’s success (Zupan et al.
p 2598. 2009). However, it is worth pointing out that road sprint cyclist will
rely heavily on aerobic pathway in some Grand Tours due to elevated terrains or
extreme distances (Menaspà et al. p 339.
2013).

 

It measures “Anaerobic threshold is calculated dividing mean power by the cyclist
body weight (kg). Anaerobic power is gained by dividing peak power by body
weight (kg). Peak power is the highest power output recorded during the test (Simpson et al. 2017). Fatigue Index percentage was
calculated by the following equation: Peak P (W) – Minimum P (W) ÷ Peak P (W)
x 100. Fatigue index represents the percent decrease in power output from the
beginning of the test to the end of the test. Total work was computed by
multiplying average watts by test duration” (Simpson et al. 2017). From these
measurement sprint cyclist performances could be predicted. A
research conducted on cyclists both under 23-year old; professional and a
novice non-professional competing internationally, shown that sprinters with
the ability produce peak power of 15.2 W.kg and an average power output of 12.9
W.kg in 14 seconds have every possibility to attain victory (Martin et al. 2007).

Wingate test effects short term
changes on an individual; systolic blood pressure is raised in comparison to
resting condition before the test, 2 hours post Wingate test, systolic blood
pressure was decreased in comparison to pre-test state (Rosa et al 2015). Blood
lactate concentration is usually raised, Wingate subjects recorded higher
values in comparison “out-out” tethered running in of the studies
(Zemková and Hamar p 168. 2004). The
Wingate is the most common used assess to fatigue index a normative data percentage
has been primed for correlation 38% for male and 35% for female.

In conlusion, the data obtained
from the initial assessment could be use as reference values in future
assignment; to determine fitness baseline for programme design and to gauge
anaerobic fitness progression and performance. Wingate anaerobic test is specific
cycling, simple to administer, easily to replicate for consistence, reliable
and consuming. Data collected will be used in conjunction with Athlete Wingate comparison
tables (Martin et al. p 2600-2 2007), to see where he places within the table. For
example, as the athlete progress in training we may add resistance percentage to
increase peak power and vice versa.

Despite the specificity, Wingate
test is only for anaerobic energy because it is an all-out sprint test. Menaspà et
al. 2013 discussed high qualities of
aerobic and anaerobic capacity are paramount in sprint cycling. Marcus Speed
(2014) in his research found that sprint intensity training is very effective
in improving endurance performance. However, this must be accompanied with
aerobic training too, if not the slow twitch fibres may go through glycolic
adaptation. Underline all would be cyclist centred SMART principle.