Singapore: It was third time lucky for Ashleigh Gentle in today’s PTO Asian Open. Having finished second twice so far this season on the PTO Tour in Ibiza and Milwaukee, the Australian had been gunning to get back to the top step and duly delivered around stunning course in Singapore.
Speaking about her win, the PTO World #1, who had been unbeatable at the 100km distance in 2022, but hadn’t quite found top gear yet at this distance in 2023, said:
“It feels very, very good. I’ve had a couple of second places this year so it’s pretty much a dream way to end my season. There was a big group of us in the swim that were swimming at a similar pace. But once I got out of the swim, I kind of accelerated and had a really good transition, so I found myself at the front very quickly.
“I realised that no-one came with me on the bike, so it was about focusing on my effort and doing the best that I could myself. Fortunately, I was able to catch Lucy and Sara and once I realised that they also didn’t come with me, it was just about putting my head down, trying to do consistent laps on the bike and just really focus on my effort then do as best as I could on the run. Today was probably my best race of the year and I’m really happy.”
Second placed Anne Haug was unlucky to be struck by a technical, when a spare inner tube got wrapped around the German’s rear wheel, costing her around 2:15 as she dropped back to fifth place. Talking about the incident the German said:
“First, I didn’t know what happened. I thought: ‘Did my tyre pop?’ And then I first had to figure out what the problem is. I just saw my spare tyre all over the place and then I had to unwind everything and, yeah, it was a bit confusing.”
“But it’s high performance sports, things happen and you have to figure this out and make the best out of it. I think Ashley was unbeatable today, so I made the best out of the day and, yeah, that’s what I always do.”
The fastest runner on a course that snaked around the Marina Bay Financial District, taking in Gardens By The Bay and Marina Barrage, was third placed American Chelsea Sodaro, who said afterwards:
“To be totally honest with you, I didn’t really know what to expect. I got quite sick during my last race about two months ago, and it took me a while to figure things out. So I’ve had three or four really solid weeks of training and I was optimistic. But you never really know until you’re out there. And obviously we saw these women are just unbelievable athletes. So you have to bring your A-game every time.”
“You know, I’ve had quite an up and down season and I have started to get legacy questions. People telling me things like, well, you’ll always have that win. And I think that this confirms that I am very much still here, still in my prime, and I’m really getting after it.”
How the race unfolded
As the race got underway with Singapore’s stunning skyline as its backdrop, PTO stars got the unique opportunity to swim in Marina Bay.
Despite the warm conditions, it was no surprise to see Lucy Charles-Barclay (PTO World #4) leading at the 1km split, but from there it was Sara Perez Sala (PTO World #25) who took charge – making this the first long-course event where Charles-Barclay hasn’t been first out the water.
The two had a gap of almost two minutes to pre-race favourite and PTO World #1 Ashleigh Gentle with PTO European Open winner Anne Haug (PTO World #3) 2:30 back.
Leaving transition in the shadow of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel, the athletes sped out onto the 80km bike course. The terrain proved more challenging than initially expected with multiple ascents of the Benjamin Sheares Bridge testing the athletes’ legs while giving us spectacular views of Singapore.
Gentle and Haug were the biggest movers early on, picking up the pace to catch Lucy Charles who was back in her usual position of 1st place early in the bike leg.
The Australian took the lead with around 45km to go and before too long, Haug was in second – when bad luck struck hard. A spare inner tube got wrapped around the German’s rear wheel, costing her around 2:15 as she dropped back to fifth place.
Ahead, Gentle continued to press her advantage and reached T2 first, 32-seconds head of a late-charging Imogen Simmonds (PTO World #22), who’d flown through the pack. The Australian also had 1:06 to Charles-Barclay with Anne Haug – back up to 4th place – 2:33 behind.
Following her 2nd place at the PTO US Open just a couple of weeks earlier, Gentle looked even stronger in Singapore, striding imperiously through the Gardens By The Bay – out of sight and out of mind.
Behind, Haug was the only athlete running similar paces to Gentle early on and, indeed, the German flew past Simmonds and Charles-Barclay. Meanwhile, as the run passed half way, Chelsea Sodaro emerged as the preeminent runner on course, having come off the bike in 9th place to power through the pack.
Never looking under pressure, Gentle underlined her PTO World #1 status, taking the win and $100,000 in 3:41:16 with a comfortable margin of 2:15. After her bike mechanical Haug was left to think what might’ve been but stayed cool to take second and $50,000. Meanwhile Sodaro put in the day’s fastest run split to clinch 3rd and $35,000.
Simmonds held on to 4th taking $20,000 while Charles-Barclay rounded out the top-five in her first race post-injury, claiming $14,000.
- Ashleigh Gentle – $100,000
- Anne Haug – $50,000
- Chelse Sodaro – $35,000
- Imogen Simmonds – $20,000
- Lucy Charles-Barclay – $14,000
- Amelia Watkinson – $10,000
- Sara Perez Sala – $8,500
- Radka Kahlefeldt – $8,000
- Sarah True – $7,500
- Jocelyn McCauley – $7,000
How to catch the PTO Open men’s race tomorrow
The men’s broadcast takes place tomorrow on Sunday 20 August, starting at 1500 local time (0900 CET), and will be broadcast live around the world to 195+ territories, courtesy of the PTO Tour’s partnerships with Warner Bros. Discovery. It will live on Eurosport 2 from 0900 CET as well as featured on a range of other international, regional and local broadcasters including DAZN, beIN Sports and SPOTV. In Singapore, the PTO Asian Open will also be shown ‘live’ on mewatch, Mediacorp’s digital streaming platform, and a race highlights show will also be broadcast on Channel 5, Mediacorp’s English language free-to-air channel. The men’s race broadcast starts at 1500 local time (0900 CET) on Sunday [20 August]. For more details visit https://protriathletes.org/events/how-to-watch/
Experienced amateurs to also take stage in Singapore
Alongside the 100km professional races, experienced amateurs will be getting their chance at the 100km distance in Singapore tomorrow, when they will be the first amateurs to swim in Marina Bay. There will also be two duathlon races over a standard 4.5km Run/32km Bike/4.5km Run and a longer 9km Run/64km Bike/9km Run. Meaning there will have been over 6,000 amateur participants competing over the weekend in the city, including tonight’s Music Run.
For further information:
Anthony Scammell – [email protected]
About the Professional Triathletes Organisation
The PTO is a new body, co-owned by the professional athletes, seeking to elevate and grow the sport of Triathlon and take it to the next level. Each PTO Open is raced over 100km (2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run). The PTO European Open on 6 May kicked off the 2023 PTO Tour and was followed by the PTO US Open in Milwaukee on 4-5 August, with this weekend’s PTO Asian Open in Singapore finishing things off. The season is underpinned by the new PTO World Rankings, helping to create a compelling season-long narrative in the sport for the first time.