Tornaghi M1, Bosio A1, Guardascione C2 ,Pecci C1, Connolly D1, Rampinini E1,3

1, HPL, MAPEI Sport (Castellanza, Italy);2, Team Lampre ISD (Milan, Italy);3,  Faculty of Exercise and Sports Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano (Milan, Italy)

Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) is a good indicator of the aerobic systems efficiency and it has been found to be related to Haemoglobin mass (Hbmass) (Heinicke et al., 2001). VO2max may increase after a period of intense training while Hbmass appears to remain stable during a season in endurance athletes (Prommer et al., 2008). No study has verified seasonal changes in both VO2max and Hbmass in competitive cyclists. The aim of this study was to verify seasonal changes of VO2max and Hbmass in professional (PRO) and Under 23 (U23) cyclists. Ten male PRO cyclists (age 28±4 yrs, heights 176±5 cm and body mass 66.0±5.0 kg) performed an incremental test to establish VO2max and peak power output (PPO), and Hbmass was measured using an optimised CO re-breathing method (Schmdit and Prommer, 2005). Each test was performed three times during the season (November-December, pre-preseason period START; January-February, before the competitive season, PRE and March-August, during the competitive season, MID). In addition, 12 male U23 cyclists (age 20±1, heights 180±7 and body mass 73.2±10.1 kg) underwent the same evaluations twice a year (January, PRE1 and PRE2 and May, MID1 and MID2) for 2 consecutive seasons. In PRO cyclists absolute and relative VO2max and PPO significantly increased (all p<0.023) during the season (VO2max: 70.0±4.5, 73.7±3.4 and 73.1±4.1 ml/kg/min at START, PRE and MID, respectively and PPO: 433±52, 456±28 and 460±24 W at START, PRE and MID, respectively). Hbmass remained stable (1034±133, 1026±95 and 1025±99 g at START, PRE and MID, respectively, p=0.805). U23 cyclists absolute and relative VO2max and PPO significantly increased (all p<0.022) during the two years (VO2max: 65.7±4.7, 67.3±4.9, 69.4±4.5 and 71.1±5.1 ml/kg/min at PRE1, MID1, PRE2 and MID2, respectively and PPO: 436±37, 456±39, 453±39 and 463±33 W at PRE1, MID1, PRE2 and MID2, respectively). Hbmass remained stable (1007±169, 996±146, 1019±163 and 1003±159 g for PRE1, MID1, PRE2 and MID2, respectively, p=0.225). This study confirmed that a preparation period increases aerobic efficiency, while demonstrating that Hbmass is stable in both PRO and U23 cyclists. Other physiological factors like cardiac output or plasma volume expansion must account for the VO2max increases observed. Given that Hbmass appears to be stable across competitive seasons, the CO re-breathing method may be a useful tool to detect the use of blood doping.

12th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS).

Bruges, Belgium, July 4-7, 2012

Book of Abstract Bruges, 17-1076