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Effects of cycling alone or in a sheltered position on subsequent running performance during a triathlon

Abstract : Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the responses during a triathlon in which cycling was performed alone, as well as in a drafting position. Methods: Eight male triathletes of international level performed a sprint-distance triathlon (0.75-km swim, 20-km bike, 5-km run) on two different occasions, one completely alone (TA), the other as a drafter during the bike leg of the event (TD). The speed during drafted cycling remained at all times identical to the no-draft situation. Results: The results revealed that expiratory flow (VE), oxygen uptake (VO 2), heart rate (HR), and blood lactate concentrations ([La-]) were significantly lower when drafting on the bike as opposed to biking alone (112.1 vs 162.2 L • min-1 , 55.2 vs 64.2 mL • min-1 • kg-1 , 155 vs 166.8 beats • min-1 , and 4.0 vs 8.4 mmol • L-1 , respectively). The results also showed that running alter biking in a drafting situation (for similar bike speeds) significantly improved the running speed compared with that of the no-draft modality (17.8 vs 17.1 lcm • 11-1). Furthermore, VE, VO 2 , HR, and [La-] were significantly higher during TD run compared with TA run (161.6 vs 141.4 L • min-1 , 70.9 vs 67.1 mL • min-1 .kg-1 , 175.3 vs 167.9 8 beats • min-1 , and 8.1 vs 7.6 mmol • L respectively). Conclusions: These results showed that drafting allows triathletes to save significantly on energy during the bike leg of a triathlon and creates the conditions for an improved running performance, with higher benefits for the strong runners.
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Christophe Hausswirth, Didier Lehénaff, Patrick Dréano, Kai Savonen. Effects of cycling alone or in a sheltered position on subsequent running performance during a triathlon. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 1999, 31 (4), pp.599-604. ⟨hal-01765345⟩



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