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Focus Daytona
January 8, 2021

PTO 2020 Championship: Let’s talk numbers

Paula Findlay and Gustav Iden claimed victory at the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®, but their respective journeys to the top step on the podium were far from straightforward.

With a stellar field of the world’s greatest triathletes battling it out for a landmark $1.150,000 purse, the Florida spectacular produced some intriguing numbers across the swim, bike and run.

We’ve delved to deeper into what happened at the PTO 2020 Championship to provide some statistical insight on how 20 athletes earned the biggest paydays of their careers to date.

Women’s race

Findlay fastest athlete ‘on land’

Paula crossed the finishing line in Florida in a time of 3:24:55, just over two and a half minutes clear of her nearest competitor Anne Haug.

The Canadian showed tremendous pace throughout the race, with 10th being the lowest position she occupied coming out of the swim.

She displayed her strength over the remainder of the race, powering her way to the front of the field on the bike leg and leading the run for the full 18km, despite Haug eclipsing her time for the final leg by nearly a minute and a half.

Polarising swims for Hall and Lewis

The race highlighted that the head of the standings after the first leg often holds little significance in the final results.

Lucy Hall exited the water in pole position after a rapid time of 24:16 for the swim, but by the end of the race she had slipped down to 28th.

Danielle Lewis meanwhile was at the opposite end of the spectrum. She was third from the back coming out of the water, completing the swim over eight minutes behind Hall. But by the end of the race she was just 40 seconds behind her rival in 29th.

PTO 2020 Championship: Let’s talk numbers

Morrison’s stellar performance on the bike

There were some athletes who may feel that a better balance across the three disciplines could have led to a higher finish.

Kimberley Morrison was thrilled with her commendable 13th place, with her bike split just 11 seconds slower than winner Findlay.

“I got a little excited when I saw inspiring names on the name board after each lap; [Nicola] Spirig, [Holly] Lawrence, [Lucy] Hall,” she recalled.

“I knew I was putting time into very good company. The last couple of laps were all about upping my cadence to get ready to run.”

Had she managed a similar pace across the first and last legs though, Morrison would have certainly been in contention for a win in Florida.

The Brit admitted her start to the swim had been disappointing, and that due to fatigue she was struggling to match her planned run time as she eventually recorded a pace of 7:02 minutes per mile on the final leg.

“The swim start was essential for this fast-paced race,” she explained. “The swim wasn’t my highlight, although I have spent many strokes in our ‘endless pool’, swim start practice has been tricky to come by this year.

“We dialled sub 6:30 minute miles [for the run] however this didn’t fit my piece of the puzzle on the 6th of December.

“I ran as quick as I could bare for 18km and it got me to the finish line delighted with 13th.”

The triumphant Findlay, Fenella Langridge (7th) and Elisabetta Curridori (9th) were the race’s ‘overperformers’, with their respective finishes transcending what was expected of them based on previous results.

PTO 2020 Championship: Let’s talk numbers

Men’s race

Consistency key for Iden

Iden clawed his way back from 22nd exiting the water to claim victory at the PTO 2020 Championship, clocking an outstanding time of 3:05:06 – nearly a minute ahead of second-placed Matthew Hanson.

Despite his impressive performance, the Norwegian was not the fastest over any individual discipline, proving that a strong and steady pace can prove to be a winning strategy.

George Goodwin’s race also highlighted that a consistent, competitive pace across the three legs will lead to a successful finish.

The Brit displayed his capability across all three disciplines as he finished third in Florida, evidenced by the fact that he was the only athlete to manage a sub-25-minute swim, a sub-100-minute bike leg, and a sub-one-hour run.

PTO 2020 Championship: Let’s talk numbers

Slow swim hampers Sanders

Finishing seven seconds behind Goodwin in fourth was Canadian Lionel Sanders, who following the swim was close to the back of the field, recording a time of 25:54 as he began the bike leg in a lowly 50th position.

However, the 32-year-old would go on to be the fastest competitor ‘on land’ as he blitzed the combined run and bike leg times of the top three finishers by roughly a minute.

A strong finish proved to be a profitable strategy for the top-placed athletes, with the quartet of Iden, Hanson, Goodwin and Sanders all clocking run times within the top five performers for the final leg.

Cramp leaves Hoffman frustrated

One athlete who came away disappointed after the PTO 2020 Championship was Ben Hoffman.

The 37-year-old American failed to break into the top half of the field as he suffered from cramp during the first two legs of the race, ultimately finishing in 38th place with a time of 3:24:37.

“I would not say that a lot went well for me on race day in Daytona, as I was experiencing some odd cramping early in the swim and had to reduce my kick and overall effort in the water to ward off full incapacitation,” he explained.

“In the early stages of the bike, I still struggled with the same sensations, primarily in my hamstrings and glutes, and it was not until the run that I finally got a little rhythm back and felt ok to push again.

“It was a disappointment, especially after a decent training block and a good lead up to the race made me excited to push hard against the best on a big stage.

Although he was not able to compete with the leaders, Hoffman was full of praise for the event and was pleased he was able to complete the race despite his discomfort.

“If anything, seeing the race unfold first-hand only fired me up for future PTO events, as it was truly a world-class race,” he stated.

“As far as what went right for me, I would certainly highlight the choice to keep going even after things went downhill quickly.

“I am a big fan of finishing what I have started, as long as it does not create a bigger injury or problem.”

PTO 2020 Championship: Let’s talk numbers

Regret for Gomez despite strong start and finish

Javier Gomez, who recorded the fifth fastest run time of the day, might well have challenged for the win had it not been for his disappointing bike leg.

The Spaniard was just outside the top five following the swim, but dropped down to 24th after recording a time of 1:44:31 for the bike leg – over three minutes slower than Iden. He could only recover well enough to finish 11th despite making up ground in the run.

Hanson – whose run time of 57:21 for the 18km leg was the fastest of the day – and Goodwin were two athletes who punched above their weight at the race with their podium finishes exceeding what was expected.

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