Abstract details

Abstract-ID: 2129
Session: [PS-PL01] Cycling Economy: From Performance to Business
Lecture room: Ambassador
Date & time: 04.07.2012 / 17:00 - 18:30
Title of the paper: WINNING THE TOUR DE FRANCE: A SPORT SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE
Authors: Martin, D.
Institution: Australian Institute of Sport and Edith Cowan University
Department: Physiology
Country: Australia
Abstract text:

Introduction The Tour de France is the most popular bike race in the world attracting ~15million spectators annually. In 2011 cyclists raced 3,430 km (1100-1200k per week) in 3wks. Of the 198 professional cyclist that began the race only 167 finished. For the first time, the winner of the 2011 Tour was an Australia (CE). From a sport science perspective the story of how a competitive teenage mountain biker became a Tour de France Champion is interesting because CE was involved with sport science teams throughout his development; first at the Australian Institute of Sport and later with the MAPEI Sport Centre in Italy. The long-term relationship between CE and sport science allows many interesting questions to be addressed such as What is the physiological profile of a Tour de France Champion? What are the physiological demands of competition? What type of physical training leads to success? Physiology - Between 18-24yrs CE can be characterized as: 62-68kg; 172-173cm; 380-455 W and 6.1-7.3 W.kg-1 at VO2pk; 4.59-5.65 L.min-1 and 73-87 ml.kg-1.min-1 VO2pk. Economy (mean±SD; range) was 80.2±1.9; 77.5-82.5 W.(VO2 L.min-1)-1 or 401±10; 387-413W at 5 L.min-1 VO2. GE was 22.6 ±0.6; 21.8-23.4% and DE was 23.6±1.1; 21.9-25.4%. Maximum Mean Power for 30minutes (MMP30min) was consistently 390-400W or 6,0-6.3 W.kg-1. These results were amongst the highest values recorded within the population of AIS cycling scholarship holders. Additionally, CE’s aerobic power and his gross efficiency compared favourably to data published on other Tour de France Champions. Demands of Competition - CE frequently raced with a calibrated cycling power meter providing insight into physical demands of competition. In 1999, CE produced >6 W.kg-1 for more than 40min when climbing to victory in the Tour of Tasmania. Research examining energy intake and energy expenditure during stage races provided rationale for feeding strategies and recovery practices. Early on, CE revealed he could perform well in Time Trials and Hill Climbs. Training - As a young AIS scholarship holder CE engaged in a high volume training program (~30,000-35,000k per year). Training was primarily composed of long slow distance (4-6hr rides), “strength endurance” intervals (low cadence hill climbing), threshold intervals and MTB racing. CE was exposed to altitude training, resistance training, heat acclimatisation, and tapering. CE had a high capacity for training volume and possessed a very competitive attitude and a desire to learn. Overall, CE was exposed to a supportive but incredibly competitive and challenging environment. Because other professional cyclists possess physiological traits similar to CE, it is likely environmental influences contributed substantially to his recent victory in the Tour de France.

Topic: Training and Testing
Keyword I: Professional Cycling
Keyword II: Demands of Competition
Keyword III: Elite Physiology