Document Detail

Improved muscular efficiency displayed as Tour de France champion matures.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15774697     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This case describes the physiological maturation from ages 21 to 28 yr of the bicyclist who has now become the six-time consecutive Grand Champion of the Tour de France, at ages 27-32 yr. Maximal oxygen uptake (Vo(2 max)) in the trained state remained at approximately 6 l/min, lean body weight remained at approximately 70 kg, and maximal heart rate declined from 207 to 200 beats/min. Blood lactate threshold was typical of competitive cyclists in that it occurred at 76-85% Vo(2 max), yet maximal blood lactate concentration was remarkably low in the trained state. It appears that an 8% improvement in muscular efficiency and thus power production when cycling at a given oxygen uptake (Vo(2)) is the characteristic that improved most as this athlete matured from ages 21 to 28 yr. It is noteworthy that at age 25 yr, this champion developed advanced cancer, requiring surgeries and chemotherapy. During the months leading up to each of his Tour de France victories, he reduced body weight and body fat by 4-7 kg (i.e., approximately 7%). Therefore, over the 7-yr period, an improvement in muscular efficiency and reduced body fat contributed equally to a remarkable 18% improvement in his steady-state power per kilogram body weight when cycling at a given Vo(2) (e.g., 5 l/min). It is hypothesized that the improved muscular efficiency probably reflects changes in muscle myosin type stimulated from years of training intensely for 3-6 h on most days.
Edward F Coyle
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Comparative Study; Journal Article     Date:  2005-03-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)     Volume:  98     ISSN:  8750-7587     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Appl. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2005 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-05-16     Completed Date:  2005-08-19     Revised Date:  2013-09-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8502536     Medline TA:  J Appl Physiol (1985)     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2191-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Human Performance Laboratory, Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Education, Bellmont Hall 222, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
Aging / physiology*
Bicycling / physiology*
Body Constitution / physiology*
Energy Metabolism / physiology*
Lactic Acid / blood
Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
Physical Endurance / physiology*
Physical Exertion / physiology
Physical Fitness / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
50-21-5/Lactic Acid
Comment In:
J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005 Oct;99(4):1630-1; author reply 1631-2   [PMID:  16160032 ]
J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005 Oct;99(4):1628-9; author reply 1629   [PMID:  16160031 ]
J Appl Physiol (1985). 2008 Sep;105(3):1020; author reply 1021   [PMID:  18779269 ]

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