Latest PTO 2020 Championship wildcards announced
Gustav Iden, Flora Duffy, Tim Don and Jessica Learmonth are the latest triathlon superstars to be selected as wildcards for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®.
The quartet now have the opportunity to take their places on the start line to bid for a record-breaking $1,000,000 purse before a global TV audience on December 6.
They all bring special attributes to the table, and add further lustre to what is shaping up to be the strongest field ever assembled by the sport.
Iden a hot property
The 24-year-old Norwegian Iden won his first World Cup gold in Karlovy Vary 2017 and followed up with a stunning breakthrough year in 2018. That brought further World Cup wins in Lausanne and Weihai.
In 2019 he then became the youngest IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion at just 23 years old, cementing his status as one of the hottest prospects in the sport.
Iden’s main focus right now may be on the Tokyo Olympics, but his proven history at middle-distance races and strength across all disciplines will make him a serious contender at the PTO 2020 Championship.
Duffy’s rich promise
Bermudian star Duffy, 33, also provides another exciting sub-plot to this huge event.
She is in red-hot form, coming off a recent victory at the Karlovy Vary World Cup and a dominant display in the Arzachena World Cup event in Sardinia last weekend. She posted the fastest swim, bike and run splits in the latter.
Duffy boasts a stunning CV which includes an astonishing three world championships in 2016 alone. She took the XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon, the ITU Cross Triathlon as well as the ITU World Championships.
Despite having just one race over middle distance to her name so far – a win in South Africa in 2019 – she is expected to have a big future in the format and undoubtedly possesses the talent to challenge the very best.
Don adds that special something
The term ‘decorated athlete’ meanwhile does not even begin to do justice to the career of the 42-year-old Londoner Don.
An ITU World Champion in Triathlon, Duathlon and Aquathlon, ‘The Don’ has been competing at the top level of the sport for the best part of 25 years.
He set a world record of 7:40:23 when winning IRONMAN Brazil in 2017, shortly before he fractured his C2 vertebrae in a horrific accident when he was hit by a car.
His remarkable recovery saw him dubbed the ‘Man with the Halo’, and his inspiring strength of character was rewarded after winning in his first professional race after the accident.
Don offers not only rich experience and uncanny natural ability to the field, but a fascinating back story which encapsulates everything that is great about triathlon.
Learmonth’s fire can burn bright
The 32-year-old Briton Learmonth has a long list of World Triathlon series podiums over the last three years, as well as two silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
She is the fastest swimmer in draft-legal racing and an aggressive cyclist, giving her every chance to make an immediate impact into middle-distance racing.
Of course, there is no guarantee of a straightforward transition despite her physical prowess. Her tendency to attack from the start, alongside her fiery personality, will make her a fascinating addition to a star-studded line-up.
The countdown to the PTO 2020 Championship continues this week with 12 more athletes still to be selected as wildcards.
Six more men and six more women will be chosen to join the 80 invitees on the start line. We will continue to bring those announcements to you in the coming days.