This study aimed i) to analyse the performances and gender-related differences at the off-road triathlon (1.5-km swim, 30-km mountain biking, and 11-km trail running) world championships of elite males and females since its inception in 1996, and ii) to compare gender-related differences between off-road triathlon and conventional road-based triathlon. Linear regression analyses and ANOVA were used to examine performance trends and gender differences. Elite male time performances stabilized over the 2005-2009 period, but in contrast elite female time performances still improved, especially for the run leg. Gender differences in time performance were lower in swimming compared to mountain biking and running, while in power output were greater for mountain biking than for swimming and running. In addition, gender differences in cycling were greater for off-road compared to conventional on road triathlon. The specific aspects of mountain biking (e.g. level and terrain) may explain, in part, the significant gender differences recorded in cycling for off-road triathlon. Future studies will need to focus on the physiological bases of off-road triathlon and how they differ from conventional triathlon.
Key words: Swimming, Mountain biking, Running, Gender Differences, Xterra
Lepers & Stapley J Sports Sci (2010)