Okay, not totally cycling, but running is a good baseline for athletic performance, since it is less subject to technological contamination.From the Science of Sport blog
, height versus mass of runners who broke 27 minutes in a 10 km race (my plot):
The interesting thing is the trend is for bigger guys, weight has to be lower than the BMI trend line. This may correlate well with climbing ability: even at the same BMI, the best climbers may tend to be relatively shorter.
As most of the best times have been run by east Africans, and they tend to be smaller people, it may be somewhat skewed. Their body is definitely structured differently than the caucasian skeletal structure. I ran for a high level D1 program in college, and we had 3 Kenyans on our team. 2 were from the tribe that produced most of Kenya's world-class runners (all 3 were mid 28 minute 10,000 meter guys). They were much narrower, their legs much leaner, with small knots for calves. Even though they would work out in the weight room and be able to put up some decent numbers (for 130lb runners, that is) they just didn't carry any sort of bulk on their very narrow frames. American and European runners tend to be taller on average (and slower), which makes sense: the average height of an Ethiopian, Eritrean, or Kenyan is likely 5 foot 7 or 5 foot 8, compared with 6 foot for an average German male.
The problem is that there are differences in body physiology between races of people (beyond height and weight) that are hard to account for in a simple graph. It may be that the average sub 27-minute 10,000 meter runner is in that height/weight range, but given they are all east African, height/weight may not be the primary reason they are running so fast.