70.3 World Champion adds PTO 2020 title in Florida
Bronze for George Goodwin as young British talent excels in Daytona
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Two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee was the betting favourite to take victory at Sunday’s PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona, but it was two relative youngsters, aged 24 and 25 respectively, that carried British hopes into the final stages on the Daytona International Speedway.
While positions 2nd to 12th were separated by just two minutes, it was 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Gustav Iden, who would leave everyone chasing him, while the fireworks went on behind.
The race started to script, usually the way where the swim is concerned, with Henri Schoeman (RSA) leading the way, but unable to break clear as the familiar names were comfortably up at the front and just seconds back, including both of the Brownlee brothers, Thomas Davis and Adam Bowden.
Rodolphe Von Berg and Gustav Iden were around 75 seconds back at this stage, but a three and half minute deficit for Lionel Sanders and Sam Long was not the ideal start to their day. At least they had each other for company… and would prove they were far from out of contention.
Unlike the women’s race, which visually appeared to quickly fall into a natural (and legal, from a draft perspective) rhythm, with more men right up at the head of the race, there was plenty of braking taking place to try and maintain the 20 metres distance – and several instances, including those mentioned by race commentary – that appeared to be pushing that requirement to the limit. Vincent Luis and Jonathan Brownlee were two athlete awarded penalties, two minutes to serve on the run course.
The situation wasn’t helped by a lapped rider, Michael Weiss, passing race leader Brownlee on the bike and then being unable to pull clear.
Florian Angert (GER), Magnus Ditlev (DEN), Sam Appleton (AUS) and Rudy Von Berg (USA) were among the athletes to spend time at the front of the race, while behind, Sanders and Long were narrowing the deficit. A big group arrived at T2, within a minute of each other…
Von Berg was first to hit the run course and was soon joined by Appleton. A slow transition from Alistair Brownlee gave initial concern as to how much the ride had dented his run legs, but a couple of kilometres later he was back and took the lead.
Any thoughts that this might be game over were quickly extinguished, as no sooner had he taken the lead, he was at the side of the track, trying to stretch his calf against the pit wall. Game over. Potential impacts on Tokyo 2021 will be of more significant concern to the Performance team at British Triathlon, watching on.
It wasn’t (quite) time for Gustav Iden to crush everyone – he was still making up time from T2 – but it did give the exciting, and unexpected sight of Thomas Davis taking the lead on the second lap of the run. Aside from always wanting to race, he always gives it full gas and that brave approach has certainly helped his progression over the past couple of seasons. This will be yet another “I’m not there quite there yet… but I do belong in this company” moments.
Gustav passed by Davis and Appleton in fine style – and from that point on, the winner was never in doubt.
While Davis was having a great day, so too was George Goodwin, the recent winner of the Outlaw X Triathlon. Getting his pacing spot on, he was moving through what was at this point a close battle for the remainder of the top-10 positions, and at one point looked like he could potentially claim silver, before Matt Hanson ran even faster than Iden, to leave the Brit is third, nine seconds ahead of Lionel Sanders.
Close racing beyond the top-10 with a seriously deep field and plenty of surprises – on that basis, not too much to complain about. Unfortunately some viewers (personally, I was not impacted at all), have their live stream fail right at the finish on the men’s race which will have been frustrating for them – but for the PTO too, who have also posted on the matter:
Perfect? No. But in a year which most, myself included, will be very happy to see the back of, the inaugural PTO Championship was a very welcome addition.
Plenty more still to come from Challenge Daytona soon.
PTO 2020 Championship / Challenge Daytona – Sunday 6th December 2020
2km / 80km / 18km
1st ($100k) – Gustav Iden (NOR) – 3:05:06
2nd ($70k) – Matthew Hanson (USA) – 3:05:57
3rd ($50k) – George Goodwin (GBR) – 3:06:09
4th ($35k) – Lionel Sanders (CAN) – 3:06:16
5th ($30k) – Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) – 3:06:41
6th ($25k) – Sam Appleton (AUS) – 3:06:58
7th ($23k) – Henri Schoeman (RSA) – 3:07:16
8th ($20k) – Vincent Luis (FRA) – 3:07:21
9th ($18k) – Sam Long (USA) – 3:07:28
10th ($17k) – Andreas Dreitz (GER) – 3:07:45
12th ($13k) – Thomas Davis (GBR) – 3:07:57
15th ($9k) – Adam Bowden (GBR) – 3:09:16
30th ($2.5k) – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 3:15:12
41st ($2.5k) – Kieran Lindars (GBR) – 3:29:17
DNF – Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
DNF – Tim Don (GBR)
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