VeloViewer work with professional cycling teams on data capture and processing for the management of strategy and progress during training and races.  The company has been approached by a UCI world tour team to work on pacing and strategy for the time-trials. This would involve modelling the rider-bike system and virtually optimising strategy for a variety of course profiles and environmental conditions. While the mechanics of the cycling system are well understood, the appropriate way to model the physiological response of the rider is unknown.


The challenge:

The aim of the project was to investigate, develop and validate an appropriate physiological model for cycling simulation.

What we did

CSER staff first conducted a review of relevant physiology and optimisation publications and identified models that might be effective. Veloviewer provided large sets of power data of a single rider for the development of the model.  The images below demonstrate some of the results explored during the project. A cycling course was input to an optimisation system based on the physical behaviour and physiological constraints of a cycle and rider. From this, a pacing strategy could be refined. The strategy was exemplified as a series of power outputs to maintain during different portions of the course. The ‘exertion’ of the ride (how much of an energy reserve they have) determined a power output that was possible for the rider, and duration.

The results

The initial aim of the project was to investigate, develop, and validate an appropriate physiological model for cycling time trial simulation. As new knowledge was gained through the course of the project the scope of the task and needs of the client changed. This was due to limitations realised on implementation such that the original aim was no longer achievable. However, the company highly valued the contact with the SHU researcher for the purposes of discussing the task, the problems of model implementation in their commercial service, exploring potential solutions, and realising their limitations.

They say

It’s been a really useful experience working with you on this and it’s a shame that I’ve not been able to take the original idea forwards, but there’s still opportunity in the future to progress things. I’ll certainly get you involved if any of the teams have bespoke ideas that need investigation and proper academic involvement.”

Ben Lowe, Veloviewer

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