In 2009, the International Triathlon Union created a new triathlon race format: The World Triathlon Series (WTS), for which only athletes with a top 100 world ranking are eligible. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of the three disciplines on performance within all the WTS Olympic distance races within two Olympic cycles, and to determine whether their relative contribution changed over the years. Methods: For each of a total of 44 races, final race time and position as well as split times (and positions), and summed time (and position) at each point of the race were collected and included in the analysis. Athletes were divided into 4 groups according to their final race placing (G1: 1st–3rd place; G2: 4–8th place; G3: 8–16th place and G4: ≥17th place). Two-way multivariate ANOVAs were conducted to compare the main effects of years and rank groups. For females, there were significant differences in the swim and bike segment only between G4 and the other groups (p
range from 0.001–0.029), whilst for the run segment each group differed significantly from each other (p
< 0.001). For males, there were significant differences in swim only between G4 and the other groups (p
range from 0.001–0.039), whilst for the running segment each group differed significantly from the others (p
< 0.001). Although we found running to be the segment where there were significant differences between performance groups, it is apparently important for overall success that a good runner be positioned with the first cycling pack. However, bike splits were not different between either of the four male groups or between the first 3 groups of the females. At this very high level of performance, at least in the males, the bike leg seems to be a smooth transition towards running.
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