Five of Australia’s top long course triathletes will lay it all on the line in Daytona, Florida this weekend, as the Professional Triathlete’s Organisation (PTO) Championship rolls into town.
After an unusual season that saw many athletes forced onto an extended racing break before the return of racing to Australia late in the year, the long course season will culminate in the PTO Championships at the iconic Daytona Speedway in Orlando, Florida this weekend with a US$1.115,00 prize purse on offer.
Ranked #1 in the women’s field, Queensland’s Sarah Crowley headlines a stacked women’s field in what is shaping up to be the biggest event on the race calendar this season.
Rolling into Daytona off the back of a 3rd place in September’s Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships in Cairns and a 2nd only weeks earlier at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast, there’s little doubt that Crowley is a podium contender this weekend.
However, she won’t be out there solo with fellow Australian’s Renee Kiley and Carrie Lester also making the trip to Daytona this weekend. Kiley heads into Daytona in flying form after a breakout season that saw her record her first professional Ironman podium earlier this year at the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships. The California-based Lester will be looking to draw upon her experience to make an impact on the field after a break from racing through 2020.
Despite many choosing to sit out of the Championships due to the effects of the pandemic, the PTO Championships still boasts an exceptionally tough field. Reigning Ironman World Champion Anne Haug (GER) is set to make an appearance on the starting line come Saturday, while Great Britian’s Holly Lawrence and New Zealand’s Amelia Watkinson will fly into Daytona in dangerous form off the back of their recent respective Ironman 70.3 and Ironman wins.
Colorado based duo Sam Appleton and Joe Gambles will lead the charge for the Australian men this weekend. With both Appleton and Gambles well accomplished over the half Ironman distance, the pair head into racing a serious threat to their opposition.
They’ll be up against a class field, with Britain’s Brownlee brothers Alistair and Jonathan headed to Daytona to contest the title, alongside well-known versatile athletes Javier Gomez (ESP), Ben Kanute (USA). France’s Vincent Luis will also take to the starting line in Daytona, with the Frenchman currently in world class form after sweeping the most recent spate of World Triathlon events.
The PTO Championships will be contested over a 2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run on Saturday December 6 in Daytona, Florida, USA.