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New study provides more evidence that drinking coffee gives your cycling a boost

Professor Bruno Gualano reckons a few cups can save minutes in a time trial

Most of us like a coffee before, during or after a bike ride – sometimes all three – and now, another study has been published that suggests we’re doing the right thing, concluding that caffeine boosts cycling performance.

We’ve reported on similar findings here on before, and the latest study, from the University of São Paulo, put three groups of male competitive cyclists through a time trial.

> It’s official – caffeine makes you ride harder and faster

Metro reports that professor of physiology Bruno Gualano, who is a cyclist and coffee aficionado himself, split the riders into those with a low caffeine intake of one cup or less a day, moderate intake of two cups, and high intake of three cups or more.

The subjects undertook three time trials, stopping when they had burnt off 450 calories – the first after taking a 400mg caffeine tablet that was equivalent to drinking four cups of coffee, the second after taking a placebo, and the third after taking nothing.

Professor Gualano found that almost without exception, the best performances came when the riders were pumped with caffeine, and suggested it could shave minutes off a time trial in race conditions.

The average subject was 2.2 per cent faster when taking the caffeine pill compared to the placebo, and 3.3 per cent faster compared to taking nothing at all.

He added that the improvement in performance was similar between those with a high daily caffeine intake, and those in the group with minimal consumption.

The potential performance enhancing benefits of coffee are well-known – indeed, until 2004 it was banned above a limit of 12 microgram/ml in urine, said to be equivalent to around eight cups of espresso, and in 2010 then WADA president John Fahey suggested reintroducing a ban on it.

> WADA president to urge re-banning of caffeine

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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