After a stellar year which saw her clinch victories at both the PTO Canadian and US Opens, Australian Ashleigh Gentle finished 2022 at #3 in the PTO World Rankings.
Talking to TRI247 as she reflected on the campaign, the Olympian explained her decision to miss the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in St George, Utah and commended the PTO for assembling the best fields in the sport.
PTO vs IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds
When quizzed on the reasoning behind her absence at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in 2022 when she also had the important matter of a wedding to prepare for back home, Gentle was candid with her answers.
She told us: “At the PTO events, there isn’t anyone missing, it is a world class field, with the best athletes at the distance turning up and performing at the events.”
To further prove her point, in St George the podium was Taylor Knibb, Paula Findlay and Emma Pallant-Browne, all of whom Gentle had got the better of throughout the course of the 2022 PTO Tour in Miami and Edmonton.
For Gentle, the strength in depth that the PTO Tour can offer, along with its importance with regards to world rankings and prize money, makes it a worthwhile substitute for the IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds.
“Apart from the title of being ‘world champion’, the PTO Tour has everything you need to feel like you’re one of the best in the world if you win. There’s nobody missing and you’re racing the strongest athletes in middle distance triathlon.”
2023 Worlds dilemma
Next year, the PTO Tour heads to Asia, where Singapore will host the PTO Asian Open on August 19-20. A week later, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships take place in Lahti, Finland for the first time.
Gentle, whilst unable to confirm if she would either be racing or missing the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, did however flag up the potential issues that could keep her away.
She explained: “Obviously the race is just a week after the PTO Asian Open in Singapore, and the World Championships are in Europe, which is quite a lot of travel for race week and also two very different climates for racing.”
Wherever she races in August, Gentle will be one the main athletes to beat in middle distance triathlon this season.