The Cycling Physiology of Miguel Indurain 14 years after Retirement.
USP Araba Sport Clinic, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain.International journal of sports physiology and performance (Impact Factor: 2.66). 08/2012; 7(4).
Age-related fitness declines in athletes can be due to both aging and detraining. Very little is known about the physiological and performance decline of professional cyclists after retirement from competition. To gain some insight into the aging and detraining process of elite cyclists, 5-time Tour de France winner and Olympic Champion Miguel Indurain performed a progressive cycle ergometer test to exhaustion 14 years after retirement from professional cycling (age 46 yrs; body mass 92.2 kg). His maximal values were: oxygen uptake 5.29 l.min-1 (57.4 ml.kg-1.min-1), aerobic power output 450 W (4.88 W.kg-1), heart rate 191 bpm, blood lactate 11.2 mM. Values at the individual lactate threshold (ILT): 4.28 l.min-1 (46.4 ml.kg-1.min-1), 329 W (3.57 W.kg-1), 159 bpm, 2.4 mM. Values at the 4 mM onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA): 4.68 l.min-1 (50.8 ml.kg-1.min-1), 369 W (4.00 W.kg-1), 170 bpm. Average cycling gross efficiency between 100 and 350 W was 20.1%, with a peak value of 22.3% at 350 W. Delta efficiency was 27.04%. Absolute maximal oxygen uptake and aerobic power output declined by 12.4 and 15.2% per decade, whereas power output at ILT and OBLA declined by 19.8 and 19.2%. Larger declines in maximal and submaximal values relative to body mass (19.4-26.1%) indicate that body composition changed more than aerobic characteristics. Nevertheless, Indurain's absolute maximal and submaximal oxygen uptake and power output values still compare favorably with those exhibited by active professional cyclists.
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ABSTRACT: To investigate the physiological basis of continued world-class performance of a world-class rower who won medals (3 gold and 2 bronze) at five consecutive Olympic Games. From the age of 19 to 40 years, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), peak heart rate, blood lactate and rowing ergometer performance were assessed annually. During the first years of his elite career (from age 19 to 24) VO2 max increased from 5.5 to ~5.9 l min (78 ml min kg) and his average power during 6 min maximal rowing increased from 420 to ~460 Watts. Although his maximal heart rate declined by ~20 bpm during the 20 year period, maximal aerobic power, evaluated both as VO2 max and 6-min test performance, was maintained until the age of 40. Furthermore, peak lactate levels remained unchanged and average power output during 10 sec, 60 sec and 60 min ergometer test were all maintained at ~800 Watts, ~700 Watts and ~350 Watts, respectively, indicating that he was able to preserve both aerobic and anaerobic exercise performances. Echo cardiographic analyses revealed a left ventricular mass of 198 g and left ventricular end-diastolic diameter of 5.8 cm. This longitudinal case indicates that until the age of 40 years a steady increase in the oxygen pulse may have compensated for the significant decline in the maximal heart frequency. Furthermore, the maintenance of aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacities allowed this Olympic athlete to compete at the highest level for almost two decades.Medicine and science in sports and exercise 03/2014; 46(11). DOI:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000331 · 3.98 Impact Factor
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