gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Austria

Clinical Patterns and Injury Exposure Rates in Elite Road Cycling Are Changing over the Last Decade

Meeting Abstract

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm054

doi: 10.3205/11esm054, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0544

Published: October 24, 2011

© 2011 Vera Ivars et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: Different factors such as the recent bicycle technical improvements and the new training tools and conditioning protocols might have an incidence of injury occurrence in professional cycling. This issue has been not yet investigated.

This work was aimed at analyzing changes in injury clinical patterns and incidence within a group of elite cycling racers still in active and comparing injury rates with those reported for an historical group competing in 80’s and early 90’s.

Material/Methods: Injury/cyclist ratio was 1.32 in the HG and 2.13 in the CS. Traumatic injuries increased from 39.5% (HG) to 53.9% (CS) (p<0,05). This increased did not mean greater severity. AIS severe traumatic lesions decrease from 49.9% in the HG to 10.5% in the CS. Tendinopathies around the knee (32.6%) and at the Achilles’ tendon (15.4%) were the most common overuse injuries in the HG. Patellofemoral pain due to overuse decreased from 28.8% (HG) to 6.1% (CS). Muscle injuries implying absence of competition were only seen at the low back (13.4%) in the HG. Contrary, 50.7% of overuse injuries were due to muscle lesions in the CS group: 29.2% at the low back and 21.5% in muscles of the lower extremity. In HG racers, the rates of risk for traumatic injury were 0.104 per year/cyclist, and 0.003 per 1000 km of training and competition. This figures increased to 0.287 and 0.009 respectively in the CS group. The injury rates for overuse showed a lower increment.

Results: Professional cyclists still in active are exposed to a double risk of traumatic injuries than those competing in the 80’s and early 90’s. However, these lesions have less severity. Overuse injuries had a complete different clinical pattern in the current active cyclist; there were much more muscle injuries and less tendinous lesions than in the historical group.

Conclusion: Prevention programs should be reevaluated and focused on this new clinical nature of injuries.


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