Saturday, February 7, 2015
Performance in pro cycling
Ever wonder what separates pro endurance athletes from their amateur counterparts? First of all there's of course time to train. Working for a living and training requires the delegate art of balancing time. Beyond that here's the most notable differences in the physiology of top pro endurance athletes when compared to amateurs.
Interestingly, multiple studies show peak VO2max values are not that much different from non pro athletes, then again as I’ve written about in the past VO2max is quite genetic and can only be trained or enhanced about 10%. Seasoned pro's separate themselves during submaximal efforts. Importantly, lactate threshold profiles. Pros can maintain power levels upwards of 90% of their VO2max in comparison to around to 80% for amateurs. Even at these higher levels pros can sustain these levels longer and can still utilize some fat for fuel while nonprofessionals at 80% burn through their carb stores at a higher rate. Amateur's also have a more rapid rise in oxygen consumption at threshold.
The translation of all this means pros have more resistance to fatigue and greater efficiency allowing them to train day to day at higher intensities. All this is more centered around cycling due to
the measuring ability of power meters but the physiology is still the same for any endurance based sport.