Hunter, A. M., St. Claire Gibson, A., Collins, M., Wilson, G. R., Lambert, M., & Noakes, T. D. (2001). Caffeine alters pacing strategies without improving 100-km cycling time-trial performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(5), Supplement abstract 944.

The effect of caffeine on a 100-km of intermittent intensity cycling time trial was assessed. Elite male cyclists (N = 8) ingested 6 mg/kg of adrenergic caffeine before starting and consumed maintenance doses of .33 mg/kg every 15 minutes of the ride. Within the 100-km, there were 1-km sprints after 10, 32, 52, 72, and 99 km, and 4-km sprints after 20, 40, 60, and 80 km. A control group performed the same protocol but with a placebo. The aim of the ride was to complete everything as fast as possible.

The caffeine group had significantly elevated levels of caffeine for the whole protocol. However, there were no differences between groups in 100-km performance or in the time and average power of the sprints. The caffeine group completed the first part of the task faster than the control group. Caffeine stimulated the cyclists to perform at a higher level in the initial stage of the task but then performance deteriorated accordingly.

Implication. Caffeine stimulates athletes to perform at higher levels but in endurance events interferes with pacing resulting in no overall performance improvement.

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