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Thread: Genetics?

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    Genetics?

    What do you people think, are genetics important in profesional cyclists?

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    I can't remember which pro said it, but the idea was to become a pro, you had to ride your bike a lot and choose your parents very carefully

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    That and epo
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

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    Some people are built in a way that lends itself very well to cycling. Large lungs obviously help. Also a big one is people with longer femurs typically make better cyclists because its basically a longer lever pushing down through the pedal stroke.

    Of course...no genetics make any difference if you don't ride your bike a lot. And eat the meat of fast animals

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    Of course genetics play a factor in a cyclist's potential, but whether they reach their full potential is based on training

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    And how to know are someone's genetics good or bad? Or you can just see it trought results?

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    Of course. Body size (height, not weight) and shape are driven heavily by your genetic makeup. Other genetic factor play a huge role as well. For example, there is a great story of a Finish cross country skier who won Olympic gold in the 60's. He would crush people. Everyone said he doped. However, it turns out that he had a genetic mutation that increased his red blood cell volume. In fact, analysis of his family help to identify the erythropoietin receptor and subsequently EPO.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    What do you people think, are genetics important in profesional cyclists?
    just as, if not more important than anything else...no amount of training will ever get most of us to the elite level.

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    The "work hard" gene is paramount!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    What do you people think, are genetics important in profesional cyclists?
    Genetics, support system, starting young, and cycling culture are factors as well. Nairo Quintana (who got 2nd in the TDF) was pretty close to not getting discovered at all. His parents were peasants who couldn't even afford race fees.

    Pretty sure this was his 2nd season on a >$30 bike. But he did a 2000 foot climb to 10k elevation every day for 3 years (age 15-18) but for transport, not training. So it's not all nature, there's some nurture, and in his case some unusual circumstances.
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    Are there some tests in clinics which can showe.g. how good is capacity of cyclist's lungs, etc. Maybe that test on running track?

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    It goes something like this: genetics determine your potential, while hard work determines how close you get to your potential.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    Are there some tests in clinics which can showe.g. how good is capacity of cyclist's lungs, etc. Maybe that test on running track?
    Is lung capacity that relevant?.... I read somewhere that since the whole aerobic system from lungs to muscles is "in series", the limiting factor is more likely how much oxygen your blood can transport. Even at max, most people are still breathing out a fair amount of unused oxygen.

    Also, In order for EPO to make a difference, presumably there would have to be more oxygen available from the lungs than you can make use of without it.

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    So genetics are really big factor in endurance sports like mtb or road cycling... Yeah, you have to be lucky

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    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    So genetics are really big factor in endurance sports like mtb or road cycling... Yeah, you have to be lucky
    yes and no. For the most part, at our level, people use genetics as a reason to give up hard training.

    I'm a coach in our local high school league, so i get to see a large spectrum of kids, and their natural abilities. For the most part I see kids that have the correct profile (light weight, medium height, low body fat, etc.) and some who need to develop it (a lot of kids need to lose fat).

    But all the kids who are at the front of the fields work pretty hard and have A LOT of years of racing/training behind them. Genetics alone will not do it. Not at the front end of the Varsity field at least. Mainly because all those kids have good genes, so hard work and time on the bike (within season and from previous years) becomes the differentiator.

    I know of one kid who went from high school straight to a Cannondale contract and doing U23 World Cups. Genetics? Probably. But you also can't ignore the fact that he's been racing MTBs (and XC skiing) with big hours (at 7000+ elevation) since he was 12.

    I also know another kid who's on the BMC road development squad racing in Europe and doing well. He was in same Cat 4 group with me when he was 14 years old. His progression was slow and steady but it just never stopped. To me he initially didn't have the right body build, but the time he put on the bike just morphed his body into the classic cyclist body (5'11" 130). He also developed into an excellent pack rider due to all his race experience (over 100 race starts by the time he was 18). I've chatted with his parents and they are not athletes by a long shot; but the dad was a race official which probably ignited his son's participation in racing (and vice versa). So here's a kid who's made it to the elite level, with a lot of nuture rather than nature, IMO .
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 07-31-2013 at 08:46 AM.
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    Very good and interesting reply, but, can you tell me is that BMC rider successful? Does he have podiums?

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    It takes both hard training and genetically inherited characteristics that offer advantages in a given sport. What I have always found interesting is how different sports favor different body types. All the great training in the world isn't going to make a short skinny 140 pound kid a great NFL linebacker, or a muscular 6'5" 250 pound kid into a TDF Yellow Jersey winner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    Very good and interesting reply, but, can you tell me is that BMC rider successful? Does he have podiums?
    He just won "best young rider" at Cascade classic.

    2012 Results (from BMC dev team website):

    Tour de l'Abitibi overall and winner of Stages 2 and 3
    1st overall, Tour du Pays de Vaud
    1st, Stages 1 and 2a, Tour du Pays de Vaud
    1st, King of the Mountains classification, Tour du Pays de Vaud
    3rd, prologue, Tour du Pays de Vaud
    2nd, U.S. national junior time trial
    3rd overall, Trofeo Karlsberg (GER)
    10th, GC, Regio Tour
    10th, world championship TT (juniors)

    But like I said in a previous post, unusual cirmcumstances. How many kids are racing at 10 yrs old, rides cat 4s at 14 (just pack fodder then), and has 100+ races in by 18 yrs old??
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    testing for potential

    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    Are there some tests in clinics which can showe.g. how good is capacity of cyclist's lungs, etc. Maybe that test on running track?
    Some, but not all, physiologists believe that VO2max in a reasonably trained cyclist is one testable benchmark that can be used to determine the potential for success in bike racing. VO2max acts as a upper limit to your FTP and is partly determined by genetics. But having a high VO2max does not guarantee success, you still have to work to get your FTP to move up toward the VO2max ceiling. And then there are skills, tactics, desire, nutrition etc that all come in to contribute to success as well as the 'physical' attributes.

    IMO, for the hobby racer, I think the more important genetic factor is how rapidly the racer adapts to training load and how rapidly they recover. I don't know of a test for this...

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    Genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    Are there some tests in clinics which can showe.g. how good is capacity of cyclist's lungs, etc. Maybe that test on running track?
    There are some gene tests that are claimed to show how good at sports you could be. There was a really interesting TV program (BBC Horizon: The Truth About Exercise) about it a while ago. It's well worth watching.

    The Truth About Exercise from Chef Central on Vimeo.



    You can pay for these tests but it's unclear how detailed they are.:

    Genetic Testing For Response To Exercise Training

    There are various laboratory tests that you can do for lung capacity, lactate threshold via blood samples, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) etc. It's also possible to carry out muscle biopsies to see your percentage of fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibres, although that's invasive.

    http://roadcyclinguk.com/riding/a-da...ate-tests.html

    Depending upon where you live there may be somewhere nearby that will offer lab testing where you can assess your performance. Eg:

    http://www.loughborough-sports-scien...g-fitness.html

    Power testing is something that you can do yourself, either on a stationary bike or out on the road using a power meter. From there you can track your improvements in power output and training zones over time. You can also use your power profile to compare against the training peaks power profile chart.

    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articl...profiling.aspx

    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articl...ew-coggan.aspx

  21. #21
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    My genetics says I'm only good for sex...but if I always took advantage of that - I'd bonk halfway into every ride.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Accex View Post
    Very good and interesting reply, but, can you tell me is that BMC rider successful? Does he have podiums?
    He is riding for BMC, even without "results" I deem that successful. Not everyone can play NFL ball, but everyone can enjoy a game of football. If you are judging success as winning everything, you have a harsh reality coming

    just getting into that level is quite an accomplishment

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    yes and no. For the most part, at our level, people use genetics as a reason to give up hard training.

    I'm a coach in our local high school league, so i get to see a large spectrum of kids, and their natural abilities. For the most part I see kids that have the correct profile (light weight, medium height, low body fat, etc.) and some who need to develop it (a lot of kids need to lose fat).

    But all the kids who are at the front of the fields work pretty hard and have A LOT of years of racing/training behind them. Genetics alone will not do it. Not at the front end of the Varsity field at least. Mainly because all those kids have good genes, so hard work and time on the bike (within season and from previous years) becomes the differentiator.

    I know of one kid who went from high school straight to a Cannondale contract and doing U23 World Cups. Genetics? Probably. But you also can't ignore the fact that he's been racing MTBs (and XC skiing) with big hours (at 7000+ elevation) since he was 12.

    I also know another kid who's on the BMC road development squad racing in Europe and doing well. He was in same Cat 4 group with me when he was 14 years old. His progression was slow and steady but it just never stopped. To me he initially didn't have the right body build, but the time he put on the bike just morphed his body into the classic cyclist body (5'11" 130). He also developed into an excellent pack rider due to all his race experience (over 100 race starts by the time he was 18). I've chatted with his parents and they are not athletes by a long shot; but the dad was a race official which probably ignited his son's participation in racing (and vice versa). So here's a kid who's made it to the elite level, with a lot of nuture rather than nature, IMO .
    Great answer, BTW

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    He is riding for BMC, even without "results" I deem that successful. Not everyone can play NFL ball, but everyone can enjoy a game of football. If you are judging success as winning everything, you have a harsh reality coming

    just getting into that level is quite an accomplishment
    Yes, I think that too, but, I wanted to know can that rider with worse genetics than others riders, but with (probably) same or approximately same amount of training be better than some rider who has better genetics

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    Genetics?

    This interview on The Verge covers the topic of genetics and sport:

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/8/1/457...tic-excellence

    It's about this new book: "The Sports Gene" by David Epstein

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Sports-Gen...he+sports+gene

    It looks like an interesting book. I'm going to buy it I think.

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