Sixteen male bicyclists and 16 control subjects were studied to assess whether the left ventricular hypertrophy of athletes is associated with changes in diastolic left ventricular function. The cyclists had a larger left ventricular internal diameter on echocardiography (55.2 versus 47.9 mm; p less than 0.001) and a disproportionate increase in wall thickness relative to the internal diameter (0.48 versus 0.41; p less than 0.01), indicating a mixed eccentric-concentric type of hypertrophy. Left ventricular inflow Doppler velocimetry showed similar results in athletes and control subjects for peak flow velocities in the atrial contraction phase (30 versus 32 cm/s; p = NS) and in the early diastolic rapid filling phase (71 versus 67 cm/s; p = NS). The similar ratio of both velocities, that is, 0.43 in the cyclists and 0.49 in the control subjects, suggests that left ventricular distensibility is unaltered in cyclists. It is concluded that the left ventricular hypertrophy observed in cyclists is not associated with changes in ventricular stiffness, as estimated from left ventricular inflow Doppler velocimetry.