Yes there are some very intriguing ideas and studies done, who look outside the BOX when looking at cycling performance.
One nice one was done in Maastrich NL with the Rabobank group some years back.
In short: They where looking where there still is a difference between professional road cyclists and the amateur road cyclist.
The test all classical parameter from VO2 max and CP and so on an still did not found a clear difference , which may explain the still clear performance gap.
Not true they found some intriguing reactions.
2. Breathing pattern
Once more, Lucia and colleagues are the only researchers that have studied differences in
breathing pattern between professional and elite amateur road cyclists (37). Breathing pattern
in endurance athletes refers to parameters such as respiratory minute ventilation (VE in l/min),
tidal volume (Vt), breathing frequency and the ventilatory equivalent for oxygen (and carbon
dioxide). Chapter 2.1 elaborates on the parameters VE, Vt and breathing frequency, followed
by the ventilatory equivalent for oxygen in chapter 2.2.
2.1 Minute ventilation, tidal volume and breathing frequency
In general, during incremental exercise, minute ventilation increases due to both an increase
in Vt and breathing frequency (46). At high exercise intensities, however, a tachypnoeic
breathing pattern develops, in such a way that the rise in minute ventilation is mainly caused
by an increase in breathing frequency, where tidal volume shows a plateau (27). On the
contrary, some research has shown that training may result in a larger tidal volume and a
lower breathing frequency, the so-called lack of a tachypnoeic shift (37).
The study by Lucia on differences in breathing pattern between professional and elite amateur
road cyclists (37) shows that minute ventilation is significantly higher in amateur cyclists at
absolute submaximal exercise intensities (300, 350 and 400 watt). However, when VE is
compared at the point where lactate starts to accumulate (where professionals had a
significantly higher power output), VE is significantly higher in professionals (44), suggesting
that this group has a greater ability to perform better at high intensities. Furthermore,
breathing frequency is significantly higher in amateur cyclists during submaximal and
maximal exercise intensity (37), suggesting that these riders exhibit a tachypnoeic shift at
high intensities. Also remarkable is the significantly lower tidal volume at maximal intensity
in the amateur cyclists, where these riders show a plateau in tidal volume (figure 3).
The differences in both Vt and breathing frequency cannot be attributed to anthropometric
factors, but are probably due to the more demanding years of training and competition, carried
out by the professionals. Lucia accounts the lack of tachypnoeic shift in the professional
cyclists to metabolic factors and to an attenuated mechanical feedback from the lungs and
the lungs for a longer time, resulting in a higher oxygen extraction from the inhaled air (46).
Thus, the higher breathing efficiency of professional cyclists could partly explain their higher
level of performance.
The main problem is what we discuss so many time.
Researcher who do not know the history will find the same result again , or make the same wrong conclusions as others did many years back.
This findings are not new at all. Dempsey / Boutellier/ Spengler to name some of the great researchers in that field , documented this many many years before.
We, as a small group , developped many years back the assessment ideas where this is all involved,
Se below the section of a 5/1/5 assessment looking just at respiration
Courtesy of Andrea and Cesare from Ticino Switzerland