The Tour de France (TDF) is the world\u2019s premier cycling event. It\u2019s 2,277 miles of grueling road\u00a0\u2014\u00a0and it puts every competing cyclist\u2019s body to the test.\nWhich left us wondering: What\u2019s the magic formula that makes these master cyclists tick? What is it about a TDF cyclist\u2019s physique that allows him to cycle so hard for so long?\nTake a look at Tour frontrunners Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, and Rui Costa. Together, they average five feet 11 inches in height, 143 pounds in weight, and 30 years in age. For the level of athleticism these men have reached, these stats seem unremarkable \u2013 just on the skinny and tall side of average. The majority of this year\u2019s TDF athletes fall between five foot six and six foot two, ranging between 128 and 181 pounds.\nThe Cyclist\u2019s Body: A Breakdown\n\nPredictably, a cyclist\u2019s body is different from the ideal body type for a runner or a swimmer, but the formula isn\u2019t as straightforward as you might think.\nUnlike runners and swimmers, cyclists don\u2019t have a hard-and-fast ideal body type. If we consider what separates cyclists from their athlete counterparts, we\u2019ll see that cycling is more forgiving of height, weight, and even age than other sports are.\nRELATED:\u00a0Cycling FAQs with Matt Tinkey, Cycling Performance Specialist\nDistance-runner body type\nDistance runners tend to be light and lean. They need to be smaller, in terms of both height and weight. The more mass runners have to lift, the harder they have to fight gravity, and the less efficient they\u2019ll be over time.\nSwimmer body type\nSwimmers, on the other hand, benefit from longer torsos and wingspans. Depending on the stroke, a swimmer\u2019s arms or legs do most of the propelling. And since swimmers are positioned horizontally, the length of their bodies is an automatic advantage when reaching for the finish.\nRELATED:\u00a05 Essential Nutrition Tips for Swimmers\nRower body type\nRowers also tend to be bigger. Rowing utilizes every major muscle group in your body. Starting with the legs a rowing stroke also requires a strong back, hips, and arm muscles. It\u2019s easy to imagine that more weight might drag the boat down, but it\u2019s actually more important to have the bigger muscle mass.\nSo, How Does a Cyclist\u2019s Body Compare?\nCyclists seem to fall in a category of their own. The stereotypical cyclist has muscular legs and a skinny upper body. Strong legs are definitely an important factor in successful cycling, but cyclists have more room in the height and weight categories.\nWhether taller or shorter, every cyclist is spinning on the same bike, so stride length isn\u2019t necessarily a benefit. And the aerodynamics of cycling are different than that of any other sport. This year\u2019s TDF athletes tend to fall on the leaner side, but weight can actually be an advantage in areas that involve downhill cycling \u2014 the more mass you have, the more speed you\u2019ll gain when heading downhill.\nAt the end of the day, training and experience are more important to successful cycling than your natural physique. No matter what your body type, don\u2019t discourage yourself from taking up or getting serious about cycling. The height and weight requirements for the sport are loose and ill defined. You\u2019ll just need the patience and stamina for long distances and slower muscle buildup.