Cold plunges, high-street cryotherapy chambers and the much-publicised Wim Hof method have made freezing recovery therapies a hot topic. Can short, sharp exposures to very cold temperatures really benefit cyclists, or do the related risks – not to mention to the discomfort – outweigh any potential gains? 

“We use cold water immersion during the summer Tours and its chief benefits are body cooling in the heat and faster muscle recovery after exercise,” Loïc Cuigniez, medic with team Lotto-Dstny tells Cycling Weekly. “The cold baths induce an anti-inflammatory response, reducing secondary muscle damage and enhancing muscle recovery. Since heat also adds extra stress to the heart, the sooner the riders cool down, the better they recover.” 

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