Holsworth Research Initiative

Our research focusses on exercise, physical activity and rehabilitation.

Staff highlight

The impact of the cycling stage on the running stage of triathlon

Dr Rodrigo Bini is a trained biomechanist and an ESSA Accredited Exercise Scientist working as a Lecturer at the La Trobe Rural Health School.  He is co-leader of the Human Performance theme for the Holsworth Research Initiative. His research interests lie in the biomechanics of exercise and sports, with special attention to cycling and running, and internal body loads during resisted training exercises and occupational tasks.

Dr Rodrigo Bini has received funding from the Holsworth Research Initiative in the La Trobe Rural Health School to investigate how to improve athletes’ performance as they move between the cycling and running stages of a triathlon – this is the stage where athletes cycle into the transition zone, change from their bike shoes to their running shoes, and then commence their run.

The cycle-to-run transition

How badly is athletic performance affected in this time? According to the Peak Performance website, French researchers found that 70% of national-level triathletes remained up to 10% below their average running velocity over the first kilometre of the run phase. This means an athlete who can maintain performance during this time will gain a crucial edge over their competitors!

Evidence not anecdote

There is a wealth of advice available for athletes and coaches on how to move between these stages, but much of this advice is based on anecdotal evidence and personal experience. It is unclear whether these performance issues are due to  muscle fatigue, oxygen or glycogen dips, blood redistribution or ‘neural catch up’.  There is a lack of evidence-based research in this area.

As Dr Bini explains:

This review will help triathletes and coaches base their strategies on research-based evidence rather than anecdotal evidence and personal experience.

Enabling sports people to perform better

As a first step, Dr Bini will review the existing studies on pedaling cadence, intensity, drafting, shoe-cleat position, training, and bike fitting, and use this body of research to make recommendations for triathletes and their coaches.

This research is a result of the Holsworth Research Institute aim:

Optimising function and performance for individuals and enabling sports people to perform better and compete more successfully.

We look forward to providing updates on this research in a future post.