Analysis of sprint cross-country skiing using a differential global navigation satellite system

Erik Andersson, Matej Supej, Øyvind Sandbakk, Billy Sperlich, Thomas Stöggl, Hans-Christer Holmberg
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2010, 110 (3): 585-95
The purpose was to examine skiing velocities, gear choice (G2-7) and cycle rates during a skating sprint time trial (STT) and their relationships to performance, as well as to examine relationships between aerobic power, body composition and maximal skiing velocity versus STT performance. Nine male elite cross-country skiers performed three tests on snow: (1) Maximum velocity test (V (max)) performed using G3 skating, (2) V (max) test performed using double poling (DP) technique and (3) a STT over 1,425 m. Additional measurements of VO(2max) during roller skiing and body composition using iDXA were made. Differential global navigation satellite system data were used for position and velocity and synchronized with video during STT. The STT encompassed a large velocity range (2.9-12.9 m s(-1)) and multiple transitions (21-34) between skiing gears. Skiing velocity in the uphill sections was related to gear selection between G2 and G3. STT performance was most strongly correlated to uphill time (r = 0.92, P < 0.05), the percentage use of G2 (r = -0.72, P < 0.05), and DP V (max) (r = -0.71, P < 0.05). The velocity decrease in the uphills from lap 1 to lap 2 was correlated with VO(2max) (r = -0.78, P < 0.05). V (max) in DP and G3 were related to percent of racing time using G3. In conclusion, the sprint skiing performance was mainly related to uphill performance, greater use of the G3 technique, and higher DP and G3 maximum velocities. Additionally, VO(2max) was related to the ability to maintain racing velocity in the uphills and lean body mass was related to starting velocity and DP maximal speed.

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