Pacing strategy during Olympic Cross-Country Mountain Bike: effects of performance level, age and sex
Objectives: the aim of the present study was to verify the pacing strategy during a season of a Cross-Country Mountain Bike (XCO-MTB) and the effects of performance level, age and sex. Method: Overall, 802 paces in 4 age-sex categories were analyzed: male elite (EliteM; n = 272), female elite (EliteF; n = 170), male under-23 (U23M; n = 247) and female under-23 (U23F; n = 113). Races were divided into initial lap (IL); middle one (M1); middle two (M2) and final lap (FL). The athletes were divided into high performance (HP); intermediated performance (IP) and low performance (LP). The magnitude-based inference and the effect size were assessed to check the changes clinically important. Results: it was observed a similar fast-start strategy for all categories. Both HP EliteM and EliteF athletes showed higher speed in FL than LP (EliteM - ES = 0.5; 90%CI -0.8 to -0.2; very likely and EliteF - ES = 1.0; 90%CI -1.4 to -0.6; almost certain). The U23F athletes showed higher speeds in IL than EliteF (ES = 0.21; 90%CI -0.1 to 0.5; likely), however in FL the speeds was lower in U23F (ES = 1; 90%CI -1.3 to -0.6; very likely). Conclusion: the fast-start strategy is typically used during a XCO-MTB race independently of performance level, age or sex. HP Elite athletes are able to maintain higher speeds in the FL. U23F athletes used to do a more variable pacing strategy with more aggressive fast-start strategy and lower speed in FL than EliteF.
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