The men’s line up for the inaugural PTO European Open men’s race in Ibiza will bring together seven of the top ten ranked athletes in the world on 6 May, including number 1 ranked Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), #3 Magnus Ditlev (DEN) and #4 Sam Laidlow (FRA).
The only top ranked athletes missing are those that have opted to instead race IRONMAN 70.3 North American Championship St. George and, of course, #2 Gustav Iden (NOR), who is chasing his Paris 2024 Olympic dreams.
When the four wildcards are added tomorrow (Thursday 13 April), the PTO European Open will have the most exciting race line up of the year to date.
Blummenfelt, the Olympic Champion, has an incredible range, able to win at any distance. The 100km race format, covering 2km swim, 80km bike and an 18km run is likely to suit the big Norwegian in this early season clash.
The race offers crucial world ranking points and a $600,000 prize purse. It’s also co-hosted alongside the 2023 World Triathlon Multisport Championships, so the athletes can expect some big, knowledgeable crowds of fans in Ibiza Town.
There’s likely to be a lot of interest in Laidlow after his Kona heroics, but he’s arguably less proven over the shorter distances than some of the others on the start list. He’s also stated that he’s aiming for IRONMAN Lanzarote and Roth as his key races for the first half of the year.
Ditlev leads the powerful Danish charge, which also includes Daniel Baekkegard, Miki Moerck Taagholt and Kristian Hogenhaug.
The Australian duo of #7 ranked Max Neumann and #11 Aaron Royle should also feature highly. New Zealand’s Kyle Smith got a start following his third place finish at the Arena Games Finals at the London Aquatics Centre.
From a British perspective, Tom Bishop has made the most of his points scoring efforts in Miami (second place) and a win in Puerto Varas to get into the top 30 and get a start in Ibiza. He’s joined by David McNamee, who was fifth in Miami and remains Britain’s only ever male Kona podium finisher.
Who’s not there
PTO 5th ranked athlete, Lionel Sanders and #6 Sam Long will be in St. George rather than Ibiza and #14 Collin Chartier won’t be in Ibiza either. However, other USA athletes including Ben Kanute, Rudy Von Berg and Jason West will be part of the PTO line up.
There’s no Joe Skipper (GBR), either. Currently ranked #15 he could have been been there if he had wanted to. He will start his season at IRONMAN Texas on 22 April.
At the moment, there’s no Alistair Brownlee (GBR) or Jan Frodeno (GER), but their names could be added along with another two male wildcard selections tomorrow.
The inaugural European Open opens the PTO season. It’s the first of three PTO Tour events in 2023 and the stacked men’s field has been announced following the confirmation of the women’s line up yesterday.