Revista de Medicina Desportiva (English) September 2018 - Page 4

Rev. Medicina Desportiva informa, 2018; 9(5):2 Professor José Santos Sports director of the cycling team Boavista You are the sports director of the Boavista cycling team. For how many years have you been around? How many Tours (Volta) of Portugal have you done? Do you have any idea how many kms you already drove following behind the cyclists? My connection to cycling comes from my childhood, because of the affinities with my father, whose name was Império dos Santos, with the sport, and by the fact that he was a good cyclist. There is always an affective bond with our parents’ likes and skills. This year it was my 40 th Volta, two as a cyclist, six as a journalist and 32 as a sports director. About the total of kms, at an average of 40,000 per year, I think I already have over one million and a half of Kms on the road. Medical support has been improv- ing, but in the past... Cycling always lived under the culture of ancestral knowledge, based on passing from one generation to another of small recipes, most of them related to recovery and others, unfortunately, with magic potions to give more force. Currently, the teams have a medical team advising cyclists, even about their physical preparation. How can you feed and hydrate a cyclist on a 200-km stage? It’s an important job, especially on a sports event by stages. We know that, the better the level of hydration of the athlete, the better recovery will be. For a team of seven cyclists, like this year on the Volta, we’ve got about 200 bidons daily. Most 2 september 2018 of them are water, a fourth part of are salts (sports drink). The coolers should be very cold to provide the athlete with a better fresh hydration. Halfway through the stage, we also give gelatin, which goes with the food supplement. The food nowadays basically includes energy bars and gels, one or two bananas, and we still give ver- micelli with dry fruits or sweet rice. For a stage of more than 160 Kms we give two solid supplies, one taken from the start in the pockets of the sweater and the other is distributed at the hallway of the stage. At the end, one of the biggest con- cerns is hydration. First, they have of alkaline water, a recovery liquid and, sometimes, they have watermelon that helps as well. Cycling has been associated with doping... not quite, is it? Cycling has been over the years the pioneering sport in the fight against doping, and, because of this, it has been exposed too much. There are many sports that don’t yet have a biological passport, for example, and cycling has adopted this measure of control for many years. The anti- doping agencies take cycling as a guinea pig. There is a differentiated treatment between cycling and the other sports. As ann example of how cycling is treated differently was the investigation Operation Puerto, in Spain, which involved hundreds of athletes, including the best tennis players in that country, great foot- ball players, but only cyclists were penalized. It is said that not a syringe can be carried... It is prohibited for any doctor or paramedic of a cycling team to carry a syringe, which also shows, in some way, a different treatment in rela- tion to other sports. You can’t run after having a local injection. On this Volta to Portugal the teams were visited five times by the anti-doping teams: after completing the stage three times and twice very early in the morning. To no other sport this happens. This was aggravated by the fact that these doping controls dis- turbed rest, recovery and the func- tion of the teams, since they were carried during competition. In most of the cases, these checks ended around 23.00 hours, with interfer- ence of the cyclists’ dinner. And about supplements. Are they really needed? First, I think that a proper diet is the basis of a good recovery. Then, rest and the accomplishment of the training plan, and, only then, the supplements are the measures for good performance. Without the three points I mentioned in the first place, no matter how many supple- ments the athlete takes, they won’t supply his insufficiencies. The sup- plements are a good complement of an extended preparation plan. You must have a lot of stories on the cycling. Do you want to share some? Cyclists deserve my respect. Once, on the Tour of Asturias (Spain), it was very cold and there was snow, rain. In a dense fog, I detected a cyclist of my team, on a hill descent, he was stopped, but still on the bike, with one foot on the ground. His hands were freeze and he couldn’t feel his fingers. He had taken off his gloves and urinated on his hands to warm them.