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Concept: Road bicycle racing


This investigation examined the impact of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate (MC) on physiological indices of oxidative stress, inflammation and muscle damage across 3 days simulated road cycle racing. Trained cyclists (n = 16) were divided into equal groups and consumed 30 mL of MC or placebo (PLA), twice per day for seven consecutive days. A simulated, high-intensity, stochastic road cycling trial, lasting 109 min, was completed on days 5, 6 and 7. Oxidative stress and inflammation were measured from blood samples collected at baseline and immediately pre- and post-trial on days 5, 6 and 7. Analyses for lipid hydroperoxides (LOOH), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-8 (IL-8), interleukin-1-beta (IL-1-β), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and creatine kinase (CK) were conducted. LOOH (p < 0.01), IL-6 (p < 0.05) and hsCRP (p < 0.05) responses to trials were lower in the MC group versus PLA. No group or interaction effects were found for the other markers. The attenuated oxidative and inflammatory responses suggest MC may be efficacious in combating post-exercise oxidative and inflammatory cascades that can contribute to cellular disruption. Additionally, we demonstrate direct application for MC in repeated days cycling and conceivably other sporting scenario's where back-to-back performances are required.

Concepts: Inflammation, Cycling, C-reactive protein, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Road bicycle racing, Cherries, Montmorency cherry, Road cycling


Abstract This study analysed the evolution of the physical potential of a twice top-10 Grand Tour cycling finisher (Tour de France and Vuelta a España) whose training was monitored between the ages of 18 and 23 years. The world-class cyclist’s power output (PO) data and training indices were analysed over six years to determine the evolution of his record power profile and training load (TL), which were estimated by using the session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) method. The total annual duration and TL increased through six seasons by 79% and 83%, respectively. The record POs in all exercise intensity zones improved over the six years. The increases in TL, monotony (+34%) and strain (+162%) from the junior category to the world-class level significantly correlated with an improvement in his aerobic potential, which was characterised by an increase in the record POs between 5 min and 4 h. This case study of the performance level and training parameters of a world-class cyclist provides comprehensive insight into the evolution of a cyclist to the top level. Furthermore, determining the record power profile of this athlete over six competitive seasons illuminates the maturation of the physical potential of a top-10 Grand Tour finisher.

Concepts: Cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale, Road bicycle racing, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Bernard Hinault, Stephen Roche


Despite the ever-increasing popularity of bicycle racing, the high perceived risk of acute injuries and the recent media attention, studies of acute injuries in road cyclists are rather scarce. The goal of this study is to evaluate the incidence, aetiology and patterns of acute injuries in non-professional competitive road cyclists during cycling races in Flanders.

Concepts: Road bicycle racing


Cycling is a not weight-bearing activity and is known to induce bone resorption. Stage races are really strenuous endurance performances affecting the energy homeostasis. The recently highlighted link, in the co-regulation of bone and energy metabolism, demonstrates a central role for the equilibrium between carboxylated and undercarboxylated forms of osteocalcin. Aim of this study was to understand the acute physiological responses to a cycling stage race in terms of bone turnover and energy metabolism and the possible co-regulative mechanisms underlying their relationship. We studied nine professional cyclists engaged in 2011 Giro d'Italia stage race. Pre-analytical and analytical phases tightly followed academic and anti-doping authority’s recommendations. Bone and energy metabolism markers (bone alkaline phosphatase, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b, total and undercarboxylated osteocalcin, leptin and adiponectin) and related hormones (cortisol and testosterone) were measured, by Sandwich Enzyme Immunoassays, at days -1 (pre-race), 12 and 22 during the race. The power output and the energy expenditure (mean and accumulated) were derived and correlated with the biochemical indexes. During the race, bone metabolism showed that an unbalance in behalf of resorption, which is enhanced, occurred along with a relative increase in the concentration of the undercarboxylated form of osteocalcin that was indirectly related to the enhanced energy expenditure, through adipokines modifications, with leptin decrease (high energy consumption) and adiponectin increase (optimization of energy expenditure). The exertion due to heavy effort induced a decrease of cortisol, while testosterone levels resulted unchanged. In conclusion, during a 3-weeks stage race, bone metabolism is pushed towards resorption. A possible relationship between the bone and the energy metabolisms is suggested by the relative correlations among absolute and relative concentrations trends of undercarboxylated OC, adipokines concentrations, BMI, fat mass (%), power output and the derived energy expenditure.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone, Metabolism, Physiology, Hormone, Alkaline phosphatase, Race stage, Road bicycle racing


Abstract Bromelain, a mixture of proteases obtained from pineapples, has been demonstrated to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation, enhancing recovery. This investigation aimed to establish if markers of muscle damage and testosterone were influenced by acute bromelain supplementation in competitive cyclists taking part in a six-day cycle stage race. Fifteen highly trained cyclists [age: 22, [Formula: see text] = 1.2 years, height: 1.79, [Formula: see text] = 0.01 m, body mass: 68.69, [Formula: see text] = 1.97 kg] were supplemented with either bromelain (1000 mg·day(-1)) (n = 8) or a placebo (n = 7) across six days of competitive racing in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Blood was collected from each cyclist on days one, three and six of racing and analysed for creatine kinase (CK), myoglobin, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and testosterone. CK activity (P < 0.001, d = 17.4-18.8), LDH activity (P < 0.004, d = 0.5-2.5) and myoglobin concentration (P < 0.007, d = 3.4-4.8) were elevated from pre-race on days three and six of racing in both groups. Testosterone concentrations were significantly lower on the final day of racing (P = 0.03, d = 1.3) and there was a trend for bromelain to maintain testosterone concentrations across the race period (P = 0.05, d = 1.04-1.70) when compared to placebo. Fatigue rating was lower in the bromelain group on day four of racing (P = 0.01). Consecutive days of competitive cycling were associated with increased markers of muscle damage and a reduction in circulating testosterone across the race period. Bromelain supplementation reduced subjective feelings of fatigue and was associated with a trend to maintain testosterone concentration.

Concepts: Enzyme, Muscle, Race, Lactic acid, Lactate dehydrogenase, Racing, Race stage, Road bicycle racing


In cycling, the Union Cycliste International (UCI) World Tour points system provides a basis to assess the development of riders by longitudinally monitoring accumulated points. The main aim of the present analysis was to compare the annual aggregation of points of Grand Tours (GT) contenders during the years before and the year after achieving an overall top-ten (T10) placing in a GT for the first time.

Concepts: Time, Union Cycliste Internationale, Tourism, Road bicycle racing, Tour de France, Grand Tour, Giro d'Italia, UCI ProTour


An investigation of whether body water changes during the Giro d'Italia affected average maximal mean power (MMP) of different time durations and to establish whether phase-angle and body cell mass (BCM) are related to MMP in elite cyclists. Approximately 2 h after each stage of the race, a bioelectrical impedance analysis was performed on 8 cyclists and analysed according to bioelectrical impedance vector analyses. Additionally, MMP of different time durations were recorded during each stage. Body mass increased (p<0.001), vector-length shortened (p<0.001) and MMP15 (maximal mean power for 15 s; p=0.043) decreased in the course of the Giro d'Italia. The shortening of the vector was negatively related to MMP10 (r=- 0.749, p=0.032) and MMP15 (r=- 0.735, p=0.038) during stage 16 (heavy mountain-stage) and MMP60 (r=- 0.751, p=0.032), MMP300 (r=- 0.739, p=0.036) and MMP1800 (r=- 0.769, p=0.026) during stage 19 (time-trial). Additionally, the baseline phase-angle and BCM were associated to MMP15 best (r=0.781, p=0.022 and 0.756, p=0.030, respectively). In the course of the Giro d'Italia, MMP15 decreased, indicating progressive fatigue. The vector-length shortening and to some extent the body mass increase indicate that cyclists gained body water during the race. This gain was positively associated with performance during the last stages, possibly due to improved thermoregulation. Furthermore, phase-angle and BCM, shown to be linked to cellular function and to represent metabolic active tissue, reflect individual MMP of short duration in professional road cyclists.

Concepts: Time, Mass, Common cold, Road bicycle racing, Tour de France, Bicycle racing, Grand Tour, Giro d'Italia


The purposes of this study were as follows: 1) to analyse the influence of training in road cycling or cross-country mountain biking on sagittal spinal curvatures, pelvic tilt and trunk inclination in cyclists of both cycling modalities; 2) to evaluate the specific spinal posture and pelvic tilt adopted on the road bicycle and cross-country mountain bike; and 3) to compare the spinal sagittal capacity of flexion and pelvic tilt mobility as well as hamstring muscle extensibility among road cyclists, cross-country mountain bikers and non-cyclists. Thirty matched road cyclists, 30 mountain bikers and 30 non-cyclists participated in this study. The road cyclists showed significantly greater thoracic kyphosis and trunk inclination than did the mountain bikers and non-cyclists in a standing posture. On the bicycle, the road bicycling posture was characterised by greater lumbar flexion and more significant anterior pelvic tilt and trunk inclination compared with the mountain biking posture. The thoracic spine was more flexed in mountain biking than in road cycling. Road cyclists had significantly greater hamstring muscle extensibility in the active knee extension test, and showed greater anterior pelvic tilt and trunk inclination capacity in the sit-and-reach test, compared with mountain bikers and non-cyclists.

Concepts: Vertebral column, Cycling, Flexion, Bicycle, Road bicycle racing, Mountain bike, Mountain biking, Cross-country cycling


Requests for medical assistance during an amateur road cycling race, which included 56,700 cyclists over 6 consecutive races between 2006 and 2011, were analysed with the aim of improving injury prevention and medical coverage. Medical assistance was requested by a small percentage of participants (1.7±1.0%), but the actual number seeking assistance was quite high due to the large total number of participants (162±51). 0.17% of all participants did not finish the race for medical reasons. No fatal injuries were recorded. The incidence rate of requests for medical assistance was 0.108/1000km, and the incidence of withdrawal was 0.011/1000km of the race. Of all medical requests, those due to direct trauma caused by falls accounted for 63%, requests for overload injuries accounted for 4% and requests for non-traumatic complaints accounted for 22% of the total; 11% of requests were not classified. Weather conditions may affect the type and the incidence of requests: requests for traumatic injuries increase if raining; requests for heat-related illnesses if hot. Prevention techniques are aimed at guaranteeing and promoting health and safety and should be implemented by both the race organisers and the cyclists.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Injury, Cycling, Race, Accident, Road bicycle racing, Bicycle racing, Road cycling


Road cycle racing is characterised by significant variability in exercise intensity. Existing protocols attempting to model this aspect display inadequate variation in power output. Furthermore the reliability of protocols representative of road cycle racing is not well known. There is also minimal data regarding the physiological parameters that best predict performance during variable power cycling. The aims of the study were to (i) determine the reliability of mean power output during a new test of variable power cycling, and (ii) to establish the relationship between physiological attributes typically measured during an incremental exercise tests and performance during the variable power cycling test (VCT).

Concepts: Statistics, Psychometrics, Cycling, Test method, Reliability, Tests, Road bicycle racing, Bicycle racing