Edward -- The issue is not "stomping vs. not stomping"; and it is not about how mu ch energy one uses in a sprint or endurance ride or climb - each using so mewhat different muscle fiber types. Short bursts of high energy use glyc ogen, actually stored within muscle cells, as their primary fuel. Less in tense efforts lasting longer use liver-stored glycogen and a variety of o ther energy sources and chemistries.
And they would use those sources whether a person pedaled in exact circle s or triangles ... provided we are talking about a reasonable stroke. Uns chooled riders who just thump, often with the added pain inducing factors of bad bike fit or position, will not only get poor results from the ene rgy expended, they're likely to cause injury.
What I'm really getting at is the if one looks at the difference in a gro up of relatively skilled cyclists, are the better riders getting power al l the way around? or at more than one key part of the stroke? or only at one part of the stroke? That was Coyle's essential question and the resul ts of several studies reveal that the only part of moving the pedals that really counts is pushing down. Forcefully, but yes - smoothly. Pulling up ain't doin' nuthin for power. period.
In fact, Coyle, McGregor, et al., suggest that the emphasis on 'pulling u p for power' may actually be ergolytic, physically detrimental and reduci ng power output.
Bob Hillery "I like art and the elegance of style, but if I have to make decisions, s how me the numbers ..."