The study says by studying the physiology of such athletes, one can learn what training and dedication can accomplish.
What Edward F. Coyle found about Armstrong was that from 1992-1999 "the characteristic that improved most (was) an 8-percent improvement in muscular efficiency and thus power production when cycling at a given maximal oxygen uptake."
Combining the increased muscular efficiency with a planned 7-percent reduction in body weight and fat leading up to each Tour de France race, "contributed equally to a remarkable 18-percent improvement in his steady-state power per kilogram" output, the Coyle study said.
Coyle's study appears in the June issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.
The study said the findings could be "important because it provides insight, although limited, regarding the recovery of 'performance physiology' after successful treatment for advanced cancer."