Research Papers

Cyclist Drag in Team Pursuit: Influence of Cyclist Sequence, Stature, and Arm Spacing

[+] Author and Article Information
Thijs Defraeye

MeBioS, Department of Biosystems,
KU Leuven,
Willem de Croylaan 42,
Heverlee 3001, Belgium
e-mail: thijs.defraeye@biw.kuleuven.be

Bert Blocken

Building Physics and Services,
Eindhoven University of Technology,
P.O. Box 513,
Eindhoven 5600, The Netherlands

Erwin Koninckx

Flemish Cycling Federation,
Globelaan 49/2,
Brussels 1190, Belgium
Research Centre for Exercise Physiology,
Department of Kinesiology,
KU Leuven,
Tervuursevest 101,
Heverlee 3001, Belgium

Peter Hespel

Research Centre for Exercise Physiology,
Department of Kinesiology,
KU Leuven,
Tervuursevest 101,
Heverlee 3001, Belgium

Bart Nicolai

MeBioS, Department of Biosystems,
KU Leuven,
Willem de Croylaan 42,
Heverlee 3001, Belgium

Jan Carmeliet

Chair of Building Physics,
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Zurich (ETHZ),
Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 15,
Zürich 8093, Switzerland
Laboratory for Building Science and Technology,
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa),
Überlandstrasse 129,
Dübendorf 8600, Switzerland

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Bioengineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNALOF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received March 10, 2013; final manuscript received July 9, 2013; accepted manuscript posted October 22, 2013; published online November 27, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Guy M. Genin.

J Biomech Eng 136(1), 011005 (Nov 27, 2013) (9 pages) Paper No: BIO-13-1125; doi: 10.1115/1.4025792 History: Received March 10, 2013; Revised July 09, 2013

In team pursuit, the drag of a group of cyclists riding in a pace line is dependent on several factors, such as anthropometric characteristics (stature) and position of each cyclist as well as the sequence in which they ride. To increase insight in drag reduction mechanisms, the aerodynamic drag of four cyclists riding in a pace line was investigated, using four different cyclists, and for four different sequences. In addition, each sequence was evaluated for two arm spacings. Instead of conventional field or wind tunnel experiments, a validated numerical approach (computational fluid dynamics) was used to evaluate cyclist drag, where the bicycles were not included in the model. The cyclist drag was clearly dependent on his position in the pace line, where second and subsequent positions experienced a drag reduction up to 40%, compared to an individual cyclist. Individual differences in stature and position on the bicycle led to an intercyclist variation of this drag reduction at a specific position in the sequence, but also to a variation of the total drag of the group for different sequences. A larger drag area for the group was found when riding with wider arm spacing. Such numerical studies on cyclists in a pace line are useful for determining the optimal cyclist sequence for team pursuit.

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Fig. 1

Virtual models of four different cyclists, obtained from laser scanning (frontal areas are given in Table 1)

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Fig. 2

Different body segments of the cyclist (a) front view (b) side view

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Fig. 3

Different sequences for cyclists riding in a pace line (cyclist is indicated by C)

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Fig. 4

Two different lower arm spacings for cyclists riding in a pace line for sequence 1 (left: normal, right: wide)

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Fig. 5

Computational domain for a single cyclist and boundary conditions

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Fig. 6

Percentage of drag area for the different body segments (ACD,segment/ACD,cyclist) for different individual cyclists at U = 60 km/h. The total drag area of each cyclist (ACD,cyclist) is presented in Table 1.

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Fig. 7

Drag area of different cyclists as a function of their position in the sequence (for the four sequences presented in Fig. 3). Position 0 indicates the drag area of an individual cyclist (see Table 1). (a) Drag area (b) drag area, scaled with the drag area of each individual cyclist (from Table 1).

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Fig. 8

Drag area of cyclists in different sequences as a function of their position in the sequence. The position of cyclist 1 is indicated by C1.

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Fig. 9

(a) Total drag area of all cyclists in the pace line for different sequences, for two lower arm spacings. (b) Average drag area of all cyclists at different positions in a sequence, for two lower arm spacings.

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Fig. 10

Streamlines, colored by velocity, for different individual cyclists at U = 60 km/h

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Fig. 11

Streamlines, colored by velocity, for four pace-line sequences at U = 60 km/h

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Fig. 12

Contours of velocity in a vertical center plane for four pace-line sequences at U = 60 km/h.




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