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October 2, 2020

Wildcard Process

The PTO has revealed plans to award 20 wildcards for the eagerly awaited PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA on December 6th.

Ten men and ten women will join 80 automatic qualifiers on the start line to form one of the strongest fields ever assembled to race for a ground-breaking $1,000,000 purse at the iconic motorsport venue in Florida.

The wildcards will be chosen by the non-athlete members of the PTO Board and announced the week commencing October 12th.

Tough decisions are guaranteed with Board members looking to include athletes who will elevate an already-stellar field and add to the competitiveness of the event.

PTO Executive Chairman Charles Adamo admitted as much, saying: “These will be very sought-after places and there will be some very difficult decisions to make, particularly as the ITU season has ended and many of the Olympic distance superstars like Nicola Spirig and Kristian Blummenfelt are relishing the opportunity to have a crack at the PTO 2020 Championship. In addition, the wildcard selection process will allow the PTO to invite some of the young and up-and-coming athletes, giving them a chance to cut their teeth in a championship field.”

While the top 40 men and top 40 women in the PTO World Rankings are automatically qualified, that leaves a huge pool of talent waiting and hoping for the call to join them Stateside in December.

Established stars and up-and-coming talents present an enticing mix to choose from…

Triathlon legend Tim Don is a former ITU Champion, a three-time Olympian and world record holder for the IRONMAN distance, but will that storied CV be enough to net him one of the prized wildcards?

Norwegian ace Kristian Blummenfelt is one of the fastest men in the sport over middle distance, but will that prowess earn him a spot in this red-hot field?

Olympic Silver medallist, Lisa Norden would love to fly the flag for Sweden having ushered in a golden era for the sport in her home nation, but will she get the call?

Meanwhile, Swiss icon Nicola Spirig, who pipped Norden to Olympic gold in London back in 2012, could add another tantalising twist to plot at the PTO 2020 Championship. Will Norden and Spirig get the chance to repeat their epic battle along the famed straightway at Daytona International Speedway®?

Could 2012 ITU World Champion and silver and bronze Olympic medal winner, Jonny Brownlee be joining his fellow Olympic medal winners, Javier Gomez and brother Alistair on the start line, renewing long-standing rivalries forged on the ITU circuit? And what of the hopes of Norway’s Gustav Iden, IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion in 2019?

What of the PTO Professionals who narrowly missed the automatic qualifying spots? Like PTO World No. 42, Sam Long, the young, brash American who left his competitors gasping for air in recent races at Bear Lake and Cozumel or PTO World No. 52, the gritty Canadian, Angela Naeth, with over 20 IRONMAN race victories, who continues to put up winning performances whilst battling Lyme disease. Worthy selections, but will they make the cut?

All those questions, and more, will be answered in less than a fortnight when the wildcard selections are announced.

As PTO CEO, Sam Renouf, notes, “With the top 40 PTO World Ranked athletes and the wildcard selections, the field for the PTO 2020 Championship will be the strongest field ever assembled for our sport. It will be exciting to see the best athletes doing battle for the spoils. The event will be epic and at the end of what has been a difficult year, it is great to be able to give these athletes the opportunity to put their prodigious talents on display.”

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