Catching stars

PTO spices up Daytona mix with wildcard choices

An all-star cast for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA® got even stronger after the announcement of the first four wildcards for the huge showdown on December 6.

Vincent Luis, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Kristian Blummenfelt and Nicola Spirig have all been selected to join the 80 automatic qualifiers on the start line for the PTO 2020 Championship.

In the coming days a total of ten men and ten women will be awarded wildcards to spice up an already intoxicating mix. Their involvement would further strengthen what is already shaping up to be the strongest field of triathletes ever assembled.

At stake will be a landmark $1,000,000 million purse to crown one of the sport’s biggest weekends of the year, with the drama set to play out in front of a global TV audience.

The first four wildcards all bring different talents to the table and throw up some tantalising questions

VINCENT LUIS–AN IN-FORM POWERHOUSE

Luis is a two-time World Triathlon Champion and the reigning title holder following his victory at World Triathlon Hamburg in September.

The 31-year-old Frenchman is in red-hot form right now, having taken the Karlov Vary and Arzachena World Cups to add to that Hamburg win. He is likely to start as favourite to take Olympic gold in Tokyo next summer.

While he has been a dominant force recently and is superbly strong across all three disciplines, he has yet to test himself against elite middle-distance competition in a non-drafting event.

December at PTO 2020 Championship would be a new frontier for him, and an intriguing glimpse into what the future might hold as he challenges the sport’s greatest middle-distance athletes.

KRISTIAN BLUMMENFELT–A PROVEN THREAT

While the PTO 2020 Championship would take Vincent Luis into uncharted territory, that definitely isn’t the case for Kristian Blummenfelt.

The 26-year-old Norwegian should thrive on the flat and fast course having set the middle-distance world record in similar conditions in Abu Dhabi.

Blummenfelt combines the speed of an Olympic distance athlete with the strength required for the longer distances. He is renowned as one of the toughest competitors around, and one of the strongest cyclists in the sport.

It will be a bloodbath watching him challenge the likes of Lionel Sanders and Cameron Wurf on the bike and will be interesting to see the watts they put up as they push each other around the famed Daytona International Speedway.®

NICOLA SPIRIG–SUPERFRAU

Nicola Spirig is a legend in the sport of triathlon. The 4x Olympian won Gold in London in 2012, Silver in Rio in 2016 and has no fewer than six European titles.

Over her 20-year triathlon career, the Swiss Superfrau has always remained a formidable force in any race she enters, while at the same time, earning a law degree and raising three children. Her intense training regimes are the stuff of legend.

Because of her devoted family commitments, Spirig choses her races very selectively, and 2020 had her in full training mode for her fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo. When the Games were cancelled, Spirig looked to focus her attention on the possibility of racing at the PTO 2020 Championship and she will arrive in fighting form.

Many of today’s younger women athletes have not experienced the truly awesome power, strength and determination of an in-form Nicola Spirig on a triathlon course. They may very well be in for an eye-opening display of greatness.

GEORGIA TAYLOR-BROWN–THE YOUNG GUN

Brit Georgia Taylor-Brown was ten years old when Nicola Spirig competed in her first Olympics, but the 26-year old reigning World Triathlon Champion is prepared to follow in the footsteps of the Swiss legend.

Her impressive victory in Hamburg this year has her pegged as one of the favourites for Gold in Tokyo. But now the Manchester-born and Leeds-based athlete is prepared to rumble with the middle-distance greats at the PTO 2020 Championships and the world knows that very few survive a scrap with a Mancunian, unscathed.

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