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Dead Champions--short lives for TdF winners since WWII(6 posts)

Dead Champions--short lives for TdF winners since WWIIContinental
Jul 1, 2003 7:46 AM
The group picture of former TdF winners posted yesterday seemed to be missing quite a few former champs. Here are the ages at death for TdF winners since the full race resumed in 1947. The grueling demands of professional cycling take their toll early. Gino Bartali must have been one tough human.

1st TdF victory, Name, Country, Age at death
1947 Jean Robic, France 59
1948 Gino Bartali, Italy 85
1949 Fausto Coppi, Italy 40
1951 Hugo Koblet, Switzerland 39
1953 Louison Bobet, France 58
1957 Jacques Anquetil, France 53
1960 Gastone Nencini, Italy 49
1973 Luis Ocana, Spain 48
"grueling demands"ms
Jul 1, 2003 7:58 AM
Do those grueling demands include doping? I often have wondered about the effect of doping on the longevity of professional riders. Although Tom Simpson's demise from doping was swift and dramatic, my belief is that the widespread use of various substances in the pro peloton over the years probably has taken its toll on many riders later in life. Of course, Bartali's longevity is explained by the fact that he was a saint -- or close to one in the eyes of the faithful. Even the Pope (Pius XII) was on his side.
fixed beat theorybigrider
Jul 1, 2003 9:50 AM
This overweight smoker told me that everyone has a fixed number of beats in their heart and he wasn't wasting any by exercising.

Actually I don't think you can draw too many conclusions from the list. If you factor in how many of the champions are still living (this would drive the average life expectancy of TDF Champs much higher). Also, in the list there were two suicides, one malaria victim, cancer, and a heart attack. I find the two suicides a bit unusual and is not in the norm, but if you factored their ages after all the tdf winners in their era died it probably would be a reasonable age.
Actually, the reverse is trueBonked
Jul 1, 2003 10:13 AM
Athletes do have increased HRs during training but, due to the increase in their overall fitness, their hearts actually beat less over an extended period of time than someone who is sedentary. I don't think that the "fixed beat theory" holds any water, but decreasing the amount of work a heart does over a lifetime can be significant. A heart beating an average of 70 bpm beats 36.8 million times a year while a heart at 60 bpm only beats 31.5 million times a year. Over a lifetime, that adds up big time! (You also have to keep in mind that many sedentary people hate HRs higher than 70 and many athletes have HRs below 60.)
I like your theory!TWD
Jul 1, 2003 11:12 AM
By this logic, I'm going to live a long time. My morning resting heart rate is about 37 bpm (can get it as low as 35 for short periods if I really concentrate on breathing easy and relaxing).

Maybe if I sleep longer I'll live longer. I don't use up very many beats sitting at a desk all day at work. Sure I burn up a few during my rides, then make them back up by keeping the heart in shape.

Ahhh, if it were only that simple!
re: Dead Champions--short lives for TdF winners since WWIIgeeker
Jul 1, 2003 6:25 PM
Supposedly, ex-NFL football players show a tendency of short lifetimes. So it isn't just cycling (or endurance sports).