Why do so many elite cyclists have a background in rowing?

And what can we learn from the way rowers train? Former head of high performance at British Rowing Mark Homer offers his expert guidance 

(Daniel Gould)

The opportunities to excel in more than one sport are few and far between, and in this age of increased professionalism and specialisation, such chances are becoming rarer. But there is one sporting switch that seems to be eminently possible and, in many cases, extremely successful. A swelling number of elite athletes are making the switch from rowing to cycling. The question is, why? What makes rowing and cycling apparently so complementary?  

Male and female athletes alike have transitioned from boat to bike very successfully, suggesting that years spent rowing can contribute to cycling excellence. Having worked as an exercise physiologist at British Rowing for 12 years, I have a solid understanding of rowing — and now I want to find out why being good with a pair of oars can equip you well for a career in the saddle, supporting or even enhancing your cycling performance. 

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