Information acquisition differences between experienced and novel time trial cyclists

Manhal Boya, Tom Foulsham, Florentina Hettinge, David Parry, Emily Williams, Hollie Jones, Andy Sparks, David Marchant, Paul Ellison, Craig Bridge, Lars McNaughton, Dominic Micklewright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: To use eye-tracking technology to directly compare information acquisition behavior of experienced and novice cyclists during a self-paced 10 mile (16.1 km) time-trial. Method: Two groupsof novice (N=10) and experienced cyclists (N=10) performed a 10-mile self-paced time-trial (TT) on two separate occasions during which a number of feedback variables (speed, distance, power output, cadence, heart rate, and time) were projected within their view. A large RPE scale was also presented next to the projected information and participants. Participants were fitted with a headmounted eye tracker and heart rate monitor. Results: Experienced cyclists performed both time-trials quicker than novices (F1,18=6.8, P=.018) during which they primarily looked at speed (9 of 10 participants) whereas novices primarily looked at distance (6 of 10 participants). Experienced cyclists looked at primary information for longer than novices across the whole time-trial (24.5±4.2% vs. 34.2±6.1%, t18=4.2, P<0.001) and less frequently than novices during the last quarter of the time-trial (49±19 vs. 80±32, t18=- 2.6, P=0.009). The most common combination of primary and secondary information looked at by experienced cyclists was speed and distance respectively. Looking at ten different primary-secondary feedback permutations, the novices were less consistent than the experienced cyclists in their information acquisition behavior. Conclusion: This study challenges the importance placed on knowledge of the endpoint to pacing in previous models, especially for experienced cyclists for whom distance feedback was looked at secondary to, but in conjunction with, information about speed. Novice cyclists have a greater dependence upon distance feedback, which they look at for shorter and more frequent periods of time than the experienced cyclists. Experienced cyclists are more selective and consistent in attention to feedback during time-trial cycling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1884-1898
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number9
Early online date1 Sep 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sep 2017


  • Performance
  • Pacing
  • Cycling
  • Vision
  • Cognition
  • Decision

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