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19.10.2013


Tour de France cyclists live six years longer

Going by the amount of reports on doping use during the Tour de France, you'd expect that the competitors are more likely to have a shorter life than us ordinary mortals. But according to researchers at Paris Descartes University, the opposite is the case. Their epidemiological study, soon to be published in European Heart Journal, suggests that cyclists who take part in the Tour de France live at least 6.3 years longer than the average French male.
Going by the amount of reports on doping use during the Tour de France, you'd expect that the competitors are more likely to have a shorter life than us ordinary mortals. But according to researchers at Paris Descartes University, the opposite is the case. Their epidemiological study, soon to be published in European Heart Journal, suggests that cyclists who take part in the Tour de France live at least 6.3 years longer than the average French male.

Research done by Eloi Marijon and Xavier Jouven has been covered extensively in newspapers and news websites, but thatís not going to stop us from covering it once again.

The researchers gathered data on 786 French cyclists who took part in the Tour de France between 1947 and 2012 and who had already died. The researchers then compared the mortality rate among the cyclists with the mortality rate among the French male population.

The researchers divided 'their' cyclists into three groups. The first group was composed of cyclists that had competed during the period 1947 to 1970, when the most important doping substances used in the Tour de France were cocaine and amphetamines. The second group of cyclists competed in the period 1971-1990, when the main form of doping was anabolic steroids. The third group cycled between 1991 and 2012, the EPO and growth hormone era.

In all of the periods the standardised mortality ratio of the cyclists was over 50. That means that the cyclists lived longer than the average male population. Expressed in years, cyclists lived at least 6.3 years longer than the average French male.


Going by the amount of reports on doping use during the Tour de France, you'd expect that the competitors are more likely to have a shorter life than us ordinary mortals. But according to researchers at Paris Descartes University, the opposite is the case. Their epidemiological study, soon to be published in European Heart Journal, suggests that cyclists who take part in the Tour de France live at least 6.3 years longer than the average French male.


Going by the amount of reports on doping use during the Tour de France, you'd expect that the competitors are more likely to have a shorter life than us ordinary mortals. But according to researchers at Paris Descartes University, the opposite is the case. Their epidemiological study, soon to be published in European Heart Journal, suggests that cyclists who take part in the Tour de France live at least 6.3 years longer than the average French male.


When the researchers looked at the causes of death among the cyclists they found two big effects. The cyclists died noticeably less from cancer [Neoplasms] and cardiovascular disease.

According to British cardiologists, who commented on the French study at the request of the editors of the European Heart Journal, part of the explanation for the unusually long lifespan of Tour de France cyclists is that all participants in the race may have an extremely healthy genetic makeup. [Eur Heart J. 2013 Sep 3. [Epub ahead of print].] Another part of the explanation is that the intense training regimes that are an integral part of the lives of competitive cyclists protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease. It would seem that genetics and training factors together outweigh the negative effects of doping.

Source:
Eur Heart J. 2013 Sep 3. [Epub ahead of print].

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