Endurance Sports – Cycling

Every July in France the sporting world comes to a standstill as the annual Tour de France takes place. This year was the 104th running of the event which covered 2200 miles over 21 stages. This would be tough enough except that much of the route includes racing across the Alps, the Pyrenees and other mountainous areas. The race is a true test of endurance and this year’s overall winner Chris Froome did not manage to win a stage. For the entire race he had to sit with steely determination in the pack and make sure his performance wouldn’t fall away.

The aerobic levels of fitness of every rider during this event is immense. Even on days when they are not tackling some hideous mountain route, or some very long lowland route, they will be holding a time trial to see how quickly they can a race over a dozen miles.

Col d’Izoard – Just a Gentle Climb for 7 km

A good example of the climbs the riders have to tackle is the Col d’Izoard. The final 7km of the climb involves tackling a relentless gradient of 1:10. The slope never gives a break and over the last 3km the competitors are surrounded by a moon type landscape with barren features. By the end of the 3 weeks all racers are at the edge of their fitness levels as the severe nature of the course has actually caught up with them.

Cycling in recent years has experienced a massive boom in certain countries and as well as the longer events being popular so are the shorter events that are held indoors. These indoor tracks are known as Velodromes. These arenas have banked oval tracks with the rider’s teams often having stations on the inside of the track.

There are a number of different races over a variety of distances, but they are actually split between the sprints and the endurance. The sprint races are divided into the sprint, the team sprint, the Keirin and the Track time trial. The endurance races are naturally held over the longer distances and can be split into the Individual pursuit, the team pursuit, the scratch race, the Madison, the Omnium and the Miss and Out. Few riders make a successful transition from the track to the Road except for Bradley Wiggins who started on the track winning golds at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games in the individual and team pursuits. From 2008 he turned his attention to the roads and he managed to win the 2012 Tour de France plus another gold at the 2012 Olympics but this time on the road in the time trial. In 2016 he won another Olympic gold but this time in the team pursuit.

Sir Chris Hoy – a Body Made for Anaerobic Endurance

Another successful cyclist has been Sir Chris Hoy who won 6 Olympic Gold medals on the track between 2004 and 2012. The big difference between himself and Wiggins is that Hoy’s medals came in the sprint events. Gold medals were won in the sprint, the Keirin and the time trial. Both cyclists showed monumental levels of endurance with Sir Chris Hoy’s heavy powerful body frame relying on vast supplies of anaerobic fitness, while Sir Bradley Wiggins possessed a slighter frame relying mainly on his large levels of aerobic fitness.

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