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Friday, June 17, 2005

UT scientist reveals the secrets behind Lance

How does Lance do it? He's the six-time Grand Champion of the Tour de France which was done after coming back from advanced cancer. He's currently preparing for his last Tour de France which will start July 2nd. A scientist from University of Texas, Dr. Edward Coyle has measured the physiological changes in Lance since he was 20 years old. This month he has published a scientific paper about Lance which describes the physiological changes that took place in his body over the years.

Both WebMD and the New York Times provide a summary of Dr. Coyle's paper. Details of Dr. Coyle's research into Lance are available at his UT website.

Here's a summary of what made Lance a champion from Dr. Coyle's results:

An 8% improvement in mechanical efficiency and thus submaximal power when cycling appears to be a major factor in Lance's improvement from age 21 to 28 years.

He has learned how to reduce his body weight and body fat by 10 pounds (5 kg) prior to each of his victories in the Tour de France.

Lance also possesses is the 'drive' and 'mental toughness' needed to train very, very hard. Furthermore, he is intelligent and semi-scientific in his training making sure to focus on 'specificity', especially for France in July.

What really sets Lance apart from the other great athletes is his comeback from advanced cancer. Lance came back to Dr. Coyle 8 months after his cancer treatment ended and asked to see if there was any long-term damage. Dr. Coyle found nothing. There was no reason for Lance to stop competing.

Lance not only went back to competition, but went back with more training and determination. According to Dr. Coyle:

In the next two years his heart got even better, his lactic acid dropped further and, amazingly, his efficiency increased to 23 percent.

Let's hope that before Lance's retirement, he's able to win his 7th Tour de France this July. It won't be easy. You never know what can happen. Before he was diagnosed with cancer in 1996 he had to pull out of the Tour after coming down with bronchitis. Hopefully, his streak will continue for his 7th win. Good luck Lance!

Here's a brief Lance Armstrong Biography:

At age 13 (1985) Lance won the Iron Kids Triathlon. In 1991 he won the USA National Amateur Championship. In 1992 he took 14th place in the Olympic Road Race in Barcelona. In 1993 he took 1st place in the World Championships of Road Racing in Oslo. He also won one stage in the Tour de France. He won one stage of the Tour de France again in 1995. In the 1996 Tour de France he was forced out of the Tour in the sixth stage with bronchitis. He finished 12th place in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In the Olympic Individual Time trial, he finished 6th place.

Then in 1996 at age 25 a life changing event occurred. Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The cancer spread to his lungs, abdomen, and brain. He had brain surgery in October 1996 and received his last chemotherapy treatment in December 1996.

The aggressive form of chemotherapy worked. He was able to fully recover. In addition, he widen his interests beyond cycling. He formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation within months of his diagnosis to help others with their cancer struggles.

He returned to cycling and in 1998 he took 4th place in the World Championships Road Racing and 4th in the Time trial. Then in 1999 at age 27 he took his first 1st place victory at the Tour de France. He would string together 1st place Tour de France victories through 2004. The Olympics continued to prove a difficult challenge. In 2000, he was 13th in the Olympic Road Race and 3rd place in the Olympic individual Time trial.

This Lance Armstrong bio is based on information from several sources including, the scientific paper published by Dr. Coyle (pdf), and a 1996 Lubbock Online news article.

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  • Wow, what a great site. I will bookmark this site and return often. It's nice to see sites like this.

    Please visit my website and let me know what you think. Secret Confession

    By Blogger Admin, at 9:36 AM  

  • maybe because of his proper diet. good body exercise and super determination makes him to where he is now... "you can do it" attitude

    By Anonymous RunCoah Jen, at 12:25 AM  

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