A recent study by University of the West of Scotland (UWS) reveals that Tour De France cyclists live considerably longer than the general population.

The report which looked specifically at the ‘yellow jersey’ wearers has found that the athletes live an average of 20 years longer than the life expectancy of other people in their country of birth.

Due to the challenging nature of the Tour de France, participants undergo extreme training regimes, giving them one of the highest levels of exercise across elite athletes.

The research, which is the first of its kind to look at all of the two hundred and ninety four cyclists who have ever worn the famous ‘yellow jersey’, examined the riders date of birth, current age, or age of death. From the sample, one hundred and sixty four of the cyclists were still alive, with one hundred and twenty nine having died. This data was compared to the longevity at birth in five-year blocks for the country of origin for each athlete, and found that the age of death was 20 years older than the equivalent age of mortality for the general population.

For those riders still alive forty six of them had already passed the expected mortality age for the population in their country of birth and overall had already lived 22 years longer than that predicted for people born in the same year.

Professor Richard Davidson, School of Health and Life Sciences at UWS said: “To date there are only a few studies that have examined longevity in elite athletes with very high volumes of exercise.

Although it is widely accepted that exercise is good for you and can reduce incidence of hypokinetic diseases, it has also been suggested that excessive exercise may be harmful to health and actually shorten life. The findings of this study confirm that participating in high levels of exercise, such as that required by athletes in the Tour De France, does considerably increase life expectancy.”

The findings of this this latest research also indicate that elite cyclists live longer than the findings that previous similar studies have suggested.

Main photo: Supplied by UWS