A methodology to study bike handling of cyclists during individual time trials (ITT) is presented. Lateral and longitudinal accelerations were estimated from GPS data of professional cyclists (n=53) racing in two ITT of different length and technical content. Acceleration points were plotted on a plot (g-g diagram) and they were enclosed in an ellipse. A correlation analysis was conducted between the area of the ellipse and the final ITT ranking. It was hypothesized that a larger area was associated to a better performance. An analytical model for the bike-cyclist system dynamics was used to conduct a parametric analysis on the influence of riding position on the shape of the g-g diagram. A moderate (n=27, r=-0.40, p=0.038) and a very large (n=26, r=-0.83, p<0.0001) association were found between the area of the enclosing ellipse and the final ranking in the two ITT. Interestingly, this association was larger in the shorter race with higher technical content. The analytical model suggested that maximal decelerations are highly influenced by the cycling position, road slope and speed. This investigation, for the first time, explores a novel methodology that can provide insights into bike handling, a large unexplored area of cycling performance.
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