Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between youth road cycling success and becoming a professional cyclist. Specifically, the authors sought to analyze (1) the differences in the success scores in youth categories between future professional (PRO) and future nonprofessional (NON-PRO) cyclists, (2) whether relative age effect influences youth road cycling career pathways, and (3) whether youth competition success could predict a future career as a professional cyclist. Methods: The number of points gathered in the annual national ranking of 1345 Italian cyclists in the U17, U19, and U23 categories were retrospectively analyzed. Participants were divided into 2 groups: PRO (n = 43) and future NON-PRO (n = 1302), depending on whether they reached the professional level. Results: PRO outperformed NON-PRO in all the youth categories considered (ie, U17, U19, and U23). Older cyclists within the same annual age group were not overrepresented in PRO and do not have an advantage over younger cyclists within all the competition years. The number of points gathered in youth competitions provides an indication of probability of becoming professional cyclists from U17 onward with the predictive value increasing with age category. Conclusions: Handling the transition to a new age group well (especially the U19-U23 transition), and therefore having success competing against older and more experienced cyclists, is an important factor for talent identification in youth cycling.

Do Race Results in Youth Competitions Predict Future Success as a Road Cyclist? A Retrospective Study in the Italian Cycling Federation

Gallo, Gabriele;Faelli, Emanuela;Ruggeri, Piero;
2022

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between youth road cycling success and becoming a professional cyclist. Specifically, the authors sought to analyze (1) the differences in the success scores in youth categories between future professional (PRO) and future nonprofessional (NON-PRO) cyclists, (2) whether relative age effect influences youth road cycling career pathways, and (3) whether youth competition success could predict a future career as a professional cyclist. Methods: The number of points gathered in the annual national ranking of 1345 Italian cyclists in the U17, U19, and U23 categories were retrospectively analyzed. Participants were divided into 2 groups: PRO (n = 43) and future NON-PRO (n = 1302), depending on whether they reached the professional level. Results: PRO outperformed NON-PRO in all the youth categories considered (ie, U17, U19, and U23). Older cyclists within the same annual age group were not overrepresented in PRO and do not have an advantage over younger cyclists within all the competition years. The number of points gathered in youth competitions provides an indication of probability of becoming professional cyclists from U17 onward with the predictive value increasing with age category. Conclusions: Handling the transition to a new age group well (especially the U19-U23 transition), and therefore having success competing against older and more experienced cyclists, is an important factor for talent identification in youth cycling.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1078945
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