When we talk about cyclists, many of us probably think of short, skinny, underweight guys. The truth is cyclists come in all shapes and sizes.
Depending on their body measurements, cyclists specialize in different areas of cycling. The smallest and lightest become climbers, while the biggest and heaviest thrive in sprints and time trials. Those in-between become the so-called all-rounders.
Below we will look at the average body measurements of cyclists, how they differ between different types of cyclists, and who stands out on either side of the scale.
How much do professional cyclists weigh on average?
|Average weight||Median weight|
|Sprinters||73 kg / 161 lbs||72 kg / 159 lbs|
|All-rounders||71 kg / 157 lbs||72.5 kg / 160 lbs|
|Climbers||62 kg / 136 lbs||61 kg / 135 lbs|
|Time trialists||75 kg / 164 lbs||75 kg / 164 lbs|
|Overall||70 kg / 155 lbs||71 kg / 157 lbs|
On average, professional cyclists weigh 70 kilograms (155 lbs). However, their weight differs heavily based on their specialty. The difference between the lightest (climbers) and the heaviest group (time trialists) is 21%.
Climbers are the lightest of them all. They are small, skinny, easily-lost-in-the-crowd kind of guys. On average, they weigh only 63 kilograms (136 lbs).
It makes sense, as they battle mostly on the climbs (hence, the name) where every pound of extra weight is not welcomed. However, they have to find the right balance between being lightweight and still having enough muscles to actually be able to push the pedals up the hill.
All-Rounders are the second lightest group of cyclists. Their average weight is 71 kilograms (157 lbs), which is one kilogram (2 lbs) above the average professional cyclist’s weight.
As the name suggests, they are good on all kinds of terrains but are not specialized in any area of cycling. They have solid climbing abilities but can also contest in sprints.
All-Roundess is also shown through their weight. They are heavier than climbers but lighter than sprinters and time trialists. They fall somewhere in between but are closest to the average in their body measurements.
It is sometimes difficult to categorize individual cyclists because their physical characteristics place them in one category and their racing characteristics place them in another.
The more we go towards flat roads, the heavier the cyclists become.
Sprinters are the kings of flat roads. Their only chance of winning the race is in a sprint, as they are too heavy to be in contention when the road starts to rise. On average, they weigh 73 kilograms (161 lbs).
If you are doomed on not succeeding on climbs, at least make sure you’ll be successful in sprints. Sprinters don’t mind having some extra weight, as long as it benefits their power output. Normalized power is not important in sprints, it’s all about the max power there.
To achieve high power values, you have to be strong. But muscles are heavy. So sprinters try to find the right balance between having big muscles and not being too heavy. But if they have to choose, they rather have big muscles. They will take care of moving the extra body mass around.
The heaviest cyclists are time trialists. On average, they weigh 75 kilograms (164 lbs). Their job is to sustain high power over a prolonged period of time, which can be achieved only with big and powerful, but heavy muscles.
The job of a time trialist is to produce maximum power over a given period of time. The longer they can sustain high power, the better they will be.
These are similar requirements to those of climbers, but with one key difference. While climbers need to be light, time trialists don’t care about it as much. Most of the time trials are on flat roads, so having a few extra pounds of muscle is much more important than being light.
Who is the heaviest professional cyclist?
History is full of heavy cyclists, but measurements in the past have been questionable at best.
With the development of sport and digital technology, the collection of these values is now professionally managed. At the start of each season, riders step on the scales and teams record their weight. The results are then publicly available.
The heaviest active professional cyclist is Max Walscheid, a member of Team Cofidis. The German time trial specialist weighs 90 kilograms (198 lbs).
There were riders in the past that were even heavier than Walscheid.
Magnus Bäckstedt, who cycled professionally at the turn of the millennium, is commonly recognized as the heaviest cyclist in history. At the peak of his career, he weighed 95 kilograms (209 lbs).
Who is the lightest professional cyclist?
At the other end of the scale are the lightest riders. As mentioned before, they are all climbers because, with the few pounds they own, they can’t be anything else.
The lightest active professional cyclist is Remy Rochas, a member of Team Cofidis. The French national weighs only 51 kilograms (112 lbs).
There are quite a few cyclists who are around 50 kilograms and many more who weigh less than 60 kilograms.
However, after checking a ton of data, I haven’t found a single rider that would weigh less than 51 kilograms. It might just be, that Remy Rochas is the lightest professional cyclist in the sport’s history.
How tall are professional cyclists on average?
|Average height||Median height|
|Sprinters||179 cm / 5’10||179 cm / 5’10|
|All-Rounders||181 cm / 5’11||179 cm / 5’10|
|Climbers||176 cm / 5’9||175 cm / 5’9|
|Time trialists||184 cm / 6’0||185.5 cm / 6’1|
|Overall||180 cm / 5’11||179 cm / 5’10|
Height is considered a disadvantage in cycling, as tall people are less aerodynamic. However, taller people are often heavier, so they can produce more power than smaller and lighter cyclists.
Cyclists want to be as strong as possible at the lowest possible height. But height, unlike weight, cannot be changed, so they have no choice but to accept it and try to use it to their advantage.
Climbers are the least concerned about height. Their main tasks are done on climbs where the speed is much lower, so the aerodynamics are not as important as on the flat. However, climbers are still the smallest category of cyclists. On average, they are 176 cm (5’9) tall.
Maybe a bit surprisingly, height-wise climbers are followed by sprinters.
Sprinters are on average 179 cm (5’10) tall, making them the second-smallest group of riders. A few extra centimeters give them the extra power needed for sprints, but they are not so tall that they would have a big aerodynamic disadvantage.
The biggest difference between the shortest and the tallest rider is between time trialists (28 cm/11 in) and the smallest difference is between the all-rounders (22 cm/8.5 in).
The average height of all-rounders is 181 cm (5’11). They are on the tall side of cyclists, but aerodynamics is less important to them. Most of their races are decided by endurance and raw power, for which a slightly taller physique is very welcome.
The main goals of the season for all-rounders are one-day races. These are the longest races, where you race to exhaust your opponent. Obviously, it is easier to race if you are more aerodynamic, but lung and muscle capacity are also very important. With a bigger physique, the lungs and muscles are also bigger.
And then there are time trialists.
On average, time trialists are 184 cm (6’0) tall, making them the tallest group of cyclists. Their specialty – time trial – requires maximum aerodynamics, so height is a disadvantage. But they solve this by being extremely flexible, allowing them to blend in with bike as much as possible.
Time trialists are the most powerful cyclists in the world. Their absolute power might not be as high as sprinter’s, but they have an amazing ability to sustain high power over a prolonged period of time.
To be able to cope with this kind of effort, you need to have extremely strong muscles. And strong muscles are big muscles. And big muscles need a big skeleton to attach to. Luckily, time trialists have just that.
Who is the tallest professional cyclist?
Look at the peloton and one head is sticking out. Yeah, there he is – the tallest professional cyclist.
The tallest active professional cyclist is Max Walscheid at 199 centimeters (6’6). He is also the heaviest cyclist, which means he is the biggest active professional cyclist overall.
In the past, there were even taller cyclists than Walscheid.
Guillermo Brunetta was the tallest rider at 204 cm (6’8) for a long time. His “achievement” was later equaled by Conor Dunne, who is now best known as one of the presenters on GCN.
Who is the shortest professional cyclist?
On the other side of the scale, we have cyclists that must be searched with a magnifying glass. There are quite a few cyclists that contest for the title of the shortest professional cyclist, but only one can be a winner.
Well, in reality, there are three winners. But it sounds more dramatic if I say there can be only one.
The shortest active professional cyclists are Esteban Chaves, Remy Rochas and Miguel Angel Lopez. All are 164 cm (5’4) tall.
History books also record a few shorter cyclists, but they have already retired from the sport. In the 80s, a cyclist called Vicente Belda was measured at 154 cm (5’0). However, all historical data should be treated with some caution, as the measurements were not as controlled as they are today.
But we can say with certainty that Samuel Dumoulin was 159 cm (5’2) tall. The Frenchman retired in 2019, which means he was professionally measured several times during his career.
Seguid buscando. El prototipo de ciclista perfecto NO existe😍
— Aleix Serra (@chiodi17) June 13, 2021
Left: Conor Dunne and Samuel Dumoulin. Top right: Conor Dunne and Esteban Chaves.
Bottom right: Max Walscheid and Domenico Pozzovivo (165 cm).
What is the average BMI of professional cyclists?
|Average BMI||Median BMI|
Cycling is one of the sports where athletes are most careful about their weight. Every pound of body weight means a slightly slower time on climbs. But even if they want to be as skinny as possible, non of the cyclists is underweight.
The average BMI of professional cyclists is 21.6, which puts them right in the middle of the healthy weight range. Climbers have the lowest BMI (20.1), while sprinters have the highest (22.7).
A person with a body mass index (BMI) under 18.5 is considered underweight. Out of 120 cyclists I analyzed, only one has a lower value. Guillaume Maritn has a BMI of 18.4, which puts him in an underweight category, but only just.
– Under 18.5: Underweight
– 18.6 – 24.9: Normal weight range
– 25.0 – 29.9: Overweight
– Above 30: Obese
All the other cyclists are actually high above the limit value.
The closest to it are climbers, who might drop below it a few times during the season as their weight changes. After the longest and hardest races, cyclists tend to have a few pounds less than at the beginning, meaning their BMI also drops.
On the other side of the scale, we have sprinters. Those muscular guys are far from being underweight, they are much more likely to be placed in an overweight category.
The reality is, they can’t be considered overweight. They have a very low fat percentage. Muscle is much heavier than fat, so the BMI value somewhat obscures the real situation. Even if the value puts them in the overweight category, there is no way we can call them fat.
There wasn’t a cyclist that would cross an overweight limit value in my analysis. The closest to the BMI value of 25 was Caleb Ewan, with a BMI of 24.7. However, you can tell just by looking at him that he is far from fat.