‘It’s a bit of a Rubik’s Cube’ – PTO chief on 2024 calendar challenges ahead of big reveal

How have the PTO been impacted by IRONMAN's Pro Series?

News Director
Last updated -

Tuesday will finally see the long-awaited full PTO Tour calendar for 2024 unveiled.

We know three events so far – the Asian Open in Singapore, the European Open in Ibiza and the Lake Las Vegas Open – with five more to be added.

It all means a packed – and potentially lucrative – calendar for middle and long-distance athletes. But has the delay in finalising it partially been caused by the PTO [Professional Triathletes Organisation] being wrong-footed by IRONMAN’s announcement of their new Pro Series last October?


Taking a step back

That’s a question we put to the PTO’s CEO Sam Renouf, who answered: “It certainly surprised us, rather than wrong-footed us, I’d say.

“It did allow us to take a step back and relook at the calendar from a scheduling perspective. And that’s one of the many reasons why we’ve been a little bit late, because you can appreciate it’s a bit of a Rubik’s Cube, to put it candidly.”

Already we have only a week between the women’s IRONMAN World Championship in Nice and the PTO European Open, with a similar gap between the PTO’s Lake Las Vegas event and the men’s IMWC in Kona.

The PTO will be contracting athletes – probably 20 women and 20 men – and are almost certain to stipulate a certain number of races.

But Renouf added: “Without doubt the athletes that do the PTO Tour will clearly be doing Kona and Nice. And we encourage that.

These are phenomenal events and certainly in the case of Kona, it is the legacy of the sport.

“We could say, hey, this is non exclusive, but then just schedule the events on top of each other. We haven’t. We’ve gone out of our way to do the opposite. So it allows the athlete to sort of pick and choose.”

‘We’re doing our job’

And Renouf also insists that the increased choice, competition and prizemoney for the top athletes is good for the sport as a whole.

He told us: “We’re thrilled that the competition that we have generated caused Ironman to launch the Pro Series.

And as we very genuinely said when they announced it, this is a fantastic thing for the sport.

“We were set up to help professional triathletes and so if the things that we’re doing cause other people to put more media money and more prizemoney into the market, then we’re doing our job.”

The PTO's CEO Sam Renouf
The PTO’s CEO Sam Renouf [Photo credit: PTO]

Good to talk

Given the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ nature of the calendar we wondered how much co-operation goes on between the various organisations – and not just the PTO and IRONMAN.

Renouf explained: “Ironman, to their credit, they’re not just in triathlon anymore. They are almost as focused on trail running and like everyone else are very busy. But there is, I would say, a reasonably regular dialogue between the organisations, both at a management level from an operating side, and then at the athletes level.

“We’re also talking through how we can work with World Triathlon particularly. There is a close relationship there now for two reasons. One, we absolutely recognise their role as the governing body of the sport, that’s very important.

“And then secondly, with the creation of the PTO Tour as a world championship, it’s kind of an opportunity for long distance racing to come back under the fold of World Triathlon.

“Previously they’re focused very much on short distance – they might sanction a little bit of long distance, but they tend to leave it to the private operators. Whereas for us, it’s bringing it back under one banner, which we think is important because sports should all be co-ordinated.

“How are we ever going to get cut through if the whole sport is fragmented and talking in little pockets?”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
Discover more
Beginner Triathlete Race Day Checklist
Triathlon Race Day Checklist – A Beginners Guide
Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee 2023 - Photo Credit José Luis Hourcade / Challenge Walchsee 2023
How to pace a hilly half distance triathlon – Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee race day tips
sumarpo triathlon swimming wetsuit
Wetsuit buying guide – How to choose the best wetsuit for triathlon, open water swimming, SwimRun and cold water
Challenge Family Roth
Five things you need to know about the Challenge Roth bike course
Riixo Recovery compression calf sleeves sports recovery
How to relieve sore muscles and recover faster between training sessions
latest News
Sophie Coldwell WTCS Cagliari 2024
Sophie Coldwell heartbroken and “angry” after missing out on Olympic Games triathlon spot at Paris 2024
Jonathan Brownlee / Jonny Brownlee - World Triathlon Cup Arzachena 2022
Olympic Games Triathlon: Jonny Brownlee reacts after missing out on Paris 2024 spot for Team GB
Team GB triathlon paris olympics 2024 yee taylor brown potter dickinson
Olympic Games triathlon: Which athletes have qualified so far for Paris 2024?
Team GB triathlon paris olympics 2024 yee taylor brown potter dickinson
The Brownlee brothers Olympic Triathlon era is OVER for Britain as Sam Dickinson gets final spot for Paris 2024
Kate Waugh WTCS Grand Finals Pontevedra 2023
Olympic Games Triathlon: Georgia Taylor-Brown and Kate Waugh get British spots for Paris 2024 but Sophie Coldwell misses out AGAIN
triathlon on your terms
Never miss out with our triathlon alerts & digest. Get a dose of adventure & inspiration with Boundless.
Invalid email address
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

Share to...