This study examined the effects of carbohydrate ingestion on 20 km cycle time-trial (TT) performance in 14 well-trained cyclists (11 males, 3 females; peak oxygen uptake [VO2peak] 4.52 +/- 0.60 l/min; values are mean +/- SD). All subjects performed two experimental trials on their own bicycles mounted on an air-braked ergometry system (Kingcycle). Subjects were instructed to maintain the same training and dietary regimens before trials, which were conducted in a random order, 3-7 days apart, and at the same time of day for each subject. On the day of a trial, subjects reported to the laboratory and ingested an 8 ml/kg body mass bolus of either a 6.8 g/100 ml commercial carbohydrate-electrolyte (CHO) beverage (39 +/- 4 g of CHO), or a coloured, flavoured placebo. Ten min after finishing the drink, subjects commenced a 5 min warm-up at 150 W, before commencing the 20 km TT. The average power output (312 +/- 40 vs 311 +/- 38 W) and heart-rate (171 +/- 6 vs 171 +/- 5 beats/min for CHO and placebo, respectively) during the two rides did not differ between treatments. Accordingly, the performance times for the two TT's were the same (27:41 +/- 1:39 min:sec, for both CHO and placebo). We conclude that the ingestion of approximately 40 g of carbohydrate does not improve maximal cycling performance lasting approximately 30 min, and that carbohydrate availability, in the form of circulating blood glucose, does not limit high-intensity exercise of this duration.