The Elimination Race in Track Cycling: Patterns and Predictors of Performance
Keywords:performance analysis, multi-event, statistical analysis, machine learning
AbstractThe track cycling Omnium is a multi-event competition that has recently been expanded to include the Elimination Race (ER), which presents a unique set of physical and tactical demands. The purpose of this research was to characterise the performance attributes of successful and unsuccessful cyclists in the ER, that are also predictive of performance. Video recordings of four international level ERs were analysed. The performance attributes measured related to the cyclists’ velocity and two dimensional position in the peloton. The average velocity of the peloton up to lap 30 (of 50) was relatively high and consistent (52.2±1.5 km/h). After lap 30, there was a significant (p<0.001) change in velocity (49.9±2.4 km/h), characterised by more fluctuations in lap-to-lap velocity. Successful ER cyclists adopted a tactic of remaining in the middle of the peloton, in the lower lanes of the velodrome, thus avoiding the risk of elimination at the rear and the extra effort required to remain on the front of the peloton. Unsuccessful cyclists tended to reside in the rear and upper (higher) portions of the peloton, risking elimination more often and having to ride faster than those in the lower lanes of the velodrome. The physiological demands of the Elimination Race that are determined by velocity, vary throughout the Elimination Race and the pattern of movement within the peloton is different for successful and unsuccessful cyclists. The findings of the present study may confirm some aspects of race tactics that are currently thought to be optimal, but they also reveal novel information that is useful to coaches and cyclists who compete in the Elimination Race.
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