Study aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in the power output and major morphological characteristics during the competition phase. We hypothesised that substantial overloads occurring during this stage cause a decrease in body mass, fat and power output levels in the cyclists.
Material and methods: Nine members from an affiliated Professional Cycling Group ActiveJet Team were observed during the period between January and September. Their mean age was calculated as 25.1 ± 1.6 years. Each month the main somatic features were determined and the BMI and Rohrer index were measured. The level of adipose tissue was checked using the Tanita BC-418 Ma and the Schoeberer Rad Messtechnik SRM training system was employed to record the maximum level of power output. The following tests were used to collect data: Shapiro-Wilk and ANOVA (assessment of the distribution of variables), Duncan (assessment of the changes of variables), and Pearson correlation coefficient (assessment of power dependence and morphological features). A significance coefficient of α = 0.05 was assumed.
Results: The research of the studied group revealed a steady decrease in the body mass and fat percentage but no significant differences in power output levels. Its peak was reached in the middle of the starting phase (1195.3 ± 222.3 W) and the lowest level was noted during the last month of our observation (1114.1 ± 152.1 W; D = 81.2 W, p = 0.088). Correlations were found between body mass, fat composition and power output levels: moderate for mass (r = 0.383-0.778) and fat (r = 0.352-0.629) content to power output and small negative for height to power output. In most cases, however, they were either weak or low (r = -0.017-0.339).
Conclusions: Significant changes in the morphological characteristics (body weight 70.2 ± 6.4-69.2 ± 5.9 kg, p < 0.001; BMI 21.4 ± 1.9-21.1 ± 1.7, p < 0.001; Rohrer index 1.18 ± 0.11-1.16 ± 0.10, p < 0.001; fat 9.2 ± 3.2-8.2 ± 2.3, p < 0.001) and no differences in power output combined (1151.0 ± 272.4-1114.1 ± 152.1 W, p = 0.434) with medium correlations of these determinants (body height - 2.53-0.354; body weight 0.383-0.778; fat 0.352-0.629) indicate the significance of motor characteristics in road racing cyclists. Thus levels in its competency and performance outcomes are determined to a greater extent by factors other than the somatic characteristics.