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Cyclists warned about caffeine supplements after two young riders fall ill

Two young competitors under 18 became ill during an event last weekend, with one requiring hospital treatment.

Image: Shutterstock/Jacob Lund

CYCLING IRELAND IS warning junior cyclists against using caffeine supplements to enhance their performance after two young riders fell ill at an event last weekend.

Following “recent serious incidents”, the cycling body issued a statement yesterday saying inappropriate caffeine use poses a risk for riders under the age of 18.

While there are a range of performance benefits for adult athletes across many sports in caffeine consumption, there are very serious concerns that are particularly relevant in relation to younger athletes.

It’s understood two young competitors under 18 became ill during an event last weekend, with one requiring hospital treatment.

The warning comes just a week after a conference in Dublin heard more young men are buying contaminated sports supplements online.

Risks

While not wishing to comment on any particular incident, Cycling Ireland spokeswoman Heather Boyle said cyclists under the age of 18 need to be aware of the risks of caffeine supplements.

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She told TheJournal.ie that inappropriate caffeine use can pose a range of problems for young cyclists, including increased heart rate, an alteration of fine motor control and over-arousal, which can have a negative impact on race preparation, recovery and sleep.

Too much caffeine can cause heart palpitations and when you’re under 18, your heart hasn’t fully developed yet.
Caffeine can cause young cyclists to go out too hard and then they don’t recover well. It can also lead to wakefulness and sleep deprivation, which affects recovery.

Caffeine supplements come in the form of drinks, sports gels, powder and over-the-counter tablets.

Caffeine isn’t a banned substance, but Boyle said Cycling Ireland is looking at setting up educational workshops for young riders to highlight the risks when it’s consumed inappropriately.

Read: Unregulated, unlicensed and unsafe: Teens warned about abusing gym supplements

Read: What should you eat before training? 4 tips for going to the gym early in the day

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