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  • Author: Alain Groslambert x
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Mechanisms of Performance Improvements Due to a Leading Teammate During Uphill Cycling

Theo Ouvrard, Alain Groslambert, Gilles Ravier, Sidney Grosprêtre, Philippe Gimenez, and Frederic Grappe

Purpose: To identify the impact of a leading teammate in front of a cyclist on psychological, physiological, biomechanical, and performance parameters during an uphill maximal effort. Methods: After familiarization, 12 well-trained competitive cyclists completed 2 uphill time trials (UTTs, 2.7 km at 7.4%) in randomized order; that is, 1 performed alone (control condition) and 1 followed a simulated teammate during the entire UTT (leader condition). Performance (UTT time) and mean power output (PO) were recorded for each UTT. For physiological parameters, mean heart rate and postexercise blood lactate concentration were recorded. Psychological parameters (rating of perceived exertion, pleasure, and attentional focus) were collected at the end of each trial. Results: Performance (UTT time) significantly improved by 4.2% (3.1%) in the leader condition, mainly due to drafting decrease of the aerodynamic drag (58% of total performance gains) and higher end spurt (+9.1% [9.1%] of mean PO in the last 10% of the UTT). However, heart rate and postexercise blood lactate concentration were not significantly different between conditions. From a psychological aspect, higher pleasure was observed in the leader condition (+41.1% [51.7%]), but attentional focus was not significantly different. Conclusions: The presence of a leading teammate during uphill cycling had a strong impact on performance, enabling higher speed for the same mean PO and greater end spurt. These results explain why the best teams competing for the general classification of the most prestigious and contested races like the Grand Tours tend to always protect their leader with teammates during decisive ascents.

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Acute Responses to Repeated-Sprint Training in Hypoxia Combined With Whole-Body Cryotherapy: A Preliminary Study

Thibaud Mihailovic, Alain Groslambert, Romain Bouzigon, Simon Feaud, Grégoire P. Millet, and Philippe Gimenez

Purpose: This study aimed to investigate acute psychophysiological responses to repeated-sprint training in hypoxia (RSH) combined with whole-body cryotherapy (WBC). Method: Sixteen trained cyclists performed 3 sessions in randomized order: RSH, WBC-RSH (WBC pre-RSH), and RSH-WBC (WBC post-RSH). RSH consisted of 3 sets of 5 × 10-second sprints with 20-second recovery at a simulated altitude of 3000 m. Power output, muscle oxygenation (tissue saturation index), heart-rate variability, and recovery perception were analyzed. Sleep quality was assessed on the nights following test sessions and compared with a control night using nocturnal ActiGraphy and heart-rate variability. Results: Power output did not differ between the conditions (P = .27), while the decrease in tissue saturation index was reduced for WBC-RSH compared to RSH-WBC in the last set. In both conditions with WBC, the recovery perception was higher compared to RSH (WBC-RSH: +15.4%, and RSH-WBC: +21.9%, P < .05). The number of movements during the RSH-WBC night was significantly lower than for the control night (−18.7%, P < .01) and WBC-RSH (−14.9%, P < .05). RSH led to a higher root mean square of the successive differences of R-R intervals and high-frequency band during the first hour of sleep compared to the control night (P < .05) and RSH-WBC (P < .01). Conclusions: Inclusion of WBC in an RSH session did not modify the power output but could improve prolonged performance in hypoxia by maintaining muscle oxygenation. A single RSH session did not deteriorate sleep quality. WBC, particularly when performed after RSH, positively influenced recovery perception and sleep.