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Muscle typology of world-class cyclists across various disciplines and events

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Abstract
Purpose. Classical track-and-field studies demonstrated that elite endurance athletes exhibit a slow muscle typology, while elite sprint athletes have a predominant fast muscle typology. In elite cycling, conclusive data on muscle typology are scarce, which may be due to the invasive nature of muscle biopsies. The non-invasive estimation of muscle typology through the measurement of muscle carnosine enabled to explore the muscle typology of 80 world-class cyclists of different disciplines. Methods. The muscle carnosine content of 80 cyclists (4 bicycle motor cross racing (BMX), 33 track, 8 cyclo-cross, 24 road and 11 mountain bike) was measured in the soleus and gastrocnemius by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and expressed as a z-score relative to a reference population. Track cyclists were divided into track sprint and endurance cyclists based on their UCI-ranking. Moreover, road cyclists were further characterized based on the percentage of UCI points earned during either single- and multi-stage races. Results. BMX cyclists (carnosine aggregate z-score of 1.33) are characterized by a faster muscle typology than track, cyclo-cross, road and mountain bike cyclists (carnosine aggregate zscore of –0.08, -0.76, -0.96 and –1.02, respectively: P<0.05). Track cyclists also possess a faster muscle typology compared to mountain bikers (P=0.033) and road cyclists (P=0.005). Moreover, track sprinters show a significant faster muscle typology (carnosine aggregate z-score of 0.87) compared to track endurance cyclists (carnosine aggregate z-score of -0.44) (P<0.001). In road cyclists, the higher the carnosine aggregate z-score, the higher the percentage of UCI points gained during single-stage races (r=0.517, P=0.010). Conclusions. Prominent differences in the non-invasively determined muscle typology exist between elite cyclists of various disciplines, which opens opportunities for application in talent orientation and transfer.
Keywords
Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Cycling, muscle fiber type composition, elite, carnosine, spectroscopy, SKELETAL-MUSCLE, FIBER COMPOSITION, ENDURANCE, SPRINT, ROAD, PERFORMANCE, CARNOSINE, VELOCITY, POWER, DETERMINANTS

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Citation

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MLA
Lievens, Eline, et al. “Muscle Typology of World-Class Cyclists across Various Disciplines and Events.” MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, vol. 53, no. 4, 2021, pp. 816–24, doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000002518.
APA
Lievens, E., Bellinger, P., Van Vossel, K., Vancompernolle, J., Bex, T., Minahan, C., & Derave, W. (2021). Muscle typology of world-class cyclists across various disciplines and events. MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, 53(4), 816–824. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000002518
Chicago author-date
Lievens, Eline, Phillip Bellinger, Kim Van Vossel, Jan Vancompernolle, Tine Bex, Clare Minahan, and Wim Derave. 2021. “Muscle Typology of World-Class Cyclists across Various Disciplines and Events.” MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE 53 (4): 816–24. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000002518.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Lievens, Eline, Phillip Bellinger, Kim Van Vossel, Jan Vancompernolle, Tine Bex, Clare Minahan, and Wim Derave. 2021. “Muscle Typology of World-Class Cyclists across Various Disciplines and Events.” MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE 53 (4): 816–824. doi:10.1249/mss.0000000000002518.
Vancouver
1.
Lievens E, Bellinger P, Van Vossel K, Vancompernolle J, Bex T, Minahan C, et al. Muscle typology of world-class cyclists across various disciplines and events. MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE. 2021;53(4):816–24.
IEEE
[1]
E. Lievens et al., “Muscle typology of world-class cyclists across various disciplines and events,” MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 816–824, 2021.
@article{8679739,
  abstract     = {{Purpose. Classical track-and-field studies demonstrated that elite endurance athletes exhibit a
slow muscle typology, while elite sprint athletes have a predominant fast muscle typology. In
elite cycling, conclusive data on muscle typology are scarce, which may be due to the invasive
nature of muscle biopsies. The non-invasive estimation of muscle typology through the
measurement of muscle carnosine enabled to explore the muscle typology of 80 world-class
cyclists of different disciplines. 

Methods. The muscle carnosine content of 80 cyclists (4 bicycle
motor cross racing (BMX), 33 track, 8 cyclo-cross, 24 road and 11 mountain bike) was measured
in the soleus and gastrocnemius by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy and expressed as a
z-score relative to a reference population. Track cyclists were divided into track sprint and
endurance cyclists based on their UCI-ranking. Moreover, road cyclists were further
characterized based on the percentage of UCI points earned during either single- and multi-stage
races. 

Results. BMX cyclists (carnosine aggregate z-score of 1.33) are characterized by a faster
muscle typology than track, cyclo-cross, road and mountain bike cyclists (carnosine aggregate zscore
of –0.08, -0.76, -0.96 and –1.02, respectively: P<0.05). Track cyclists also possess a faster
muscle typology compared to mountain bikers (P=0.033) and road cyclists (P=0.005). Moreover,
track sprinters show a significant faster muscle typology (carnosine aggregate z-score of 0.87)
compared to track endurance cyclists (carnosine aggregate z-score of -0.44) (P<0.001). In road
cyclists, the higher the carnosine aggregate z-score, the higher the percentage of UCI points
gained during single-stage races (r=0.517, P=0.010). 

Conclusions. Prominent differences in the non-invasively determined muscle typology exist between elite cyclists of various disciplines, which opens opportunities for application in talent orientation and transfer.}},
  author       = {{Lievens, Eline and Bellinger, Phillip and Van Vossel, Kim and Vancompernolle, Jan and Bex, Tine and Minahan, Clare and Derave, Wim}},
  issn         = {{0195-9131}},
  journal      = {{MEDICINE AND SCIENCE IN SPORTS AND EXERCISE}},
  keywords     = {{Physical Therapy,Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation,Orthopedics and Sports Medicine,Cycling,muscle fiber type composition,elite,carnosine,spectroscopy,SKELETAL-MUSCLE,FIBER COMPOSITION,ENDURANCE,SPRINT,ROAD,PERFORMANCE,CARNOSINE,VELOCITY,POWER,DETERMINANTS}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{4}},
  pages        = {{816--824}},
  title        = {{Muscle typology of world-class cyclists across various disciplines and events}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000002518}},
  volume       = {{53}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}

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