Age and gender difference in non-drafting ultra-endurance cycling performance - the 'Swiss Cycling Marathon'

Abstract : Background
In recent years, there was an increased interest in investigating the gender difference in performance and the age of peak performance in ultra-endurance performances such as ultra-triathlon, ultra-running, and ultra-swimming, but not in ultra-cycling. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gender difference in ultra-cycling performance and the age of peak ultra-cycling performance in the 720-km 'Swiss Cycling Marathon', the largest European qualifier for the 'Race Across America'.
Methods
Changes in the cycling speed and age of 985 finishers including 38 women and 947 men competing in the Swiss Cycling Marathon from 2001 to 2012 covering a distance of 720 km with a change of altitude of 4,993 m were analyzed using linear regression.
Results
The gender difference in performance was 13.6% for the fastest cyclists ever, 13.9% ± 0.5% for the three fastest cyclists ever and 19.1% ± 3.7% for the ten fastest cyclists ever. The gender difference in performance for the annual top three women and men decreased from 35.0% ± 9.5% in 2001 to 20.4% ± 7.7% in 2012 (r 2 = 0.72, p = 0.01). The annual top three women improved cycling speed from 20.3 ± 3.1 km h−1 in 2003 to 24.8 ± 2.4 km h−1 in 2012 (r 2 = 0.79, p < 0.01). The cycling speed of the annual top three men remained unchanged at 30.2 ± 0.6 km h−1 (p > 0.05). The age of peak performance for the ten fastest finishers ever was 35.9 ± 9.6 years for men and 38.7 ± 7.8 years for women, respectively (p = 0.47).
Conclusions
The gender difference in ultra-cycling performance decreased over the 2001 to 2012 period in the 720-km Swiss Cycling Marathon for the annual top three cyclists and reached approximately 14%. Both women and men achieved peak performance at the age of approximately 36 to 39 years. Women might close the gender gap in ultra-endurance cycling in longer cycling distances. Future studies need to investigate the gender difference in performance in the Race Across America, the longest nonstop and non-drafting ultra-cycling race in the world.
keyword : Women Men Athlete Sport
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2013, 2 (1), pp.18
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Soumis le : vendredi 7 juin 2013 - 17:12:53
Dernière modification le : vendredi 8 juin 2018 - 14:50:17
Document(s) archivé(s) le : dimanche 8 septembre 2013 - 04:25:53

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Matthias Zingg, Beat Knechtle, Christoph Rüst, Thomas Rosemann, Romuald Lepers. Age and gender difference in non-drafting ultra-endurance cycling performance - the 'Swiss Cycling Marathon'. Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 2013, 2 (1), pp.18. 〈inserm-00831839〉

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