Four weeks ago the USA’s Collin Chartier won IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant in Canada.
He may have started Sunday’s PTO US Open ranked #28, but an unexpected victory in the Lone Star State will, by some margin, go down as the greatest day of his triathlon career to date. With a $100,000 first prize, it will certainly be the biggest pay day of his life to date.
Honours even in the (hot) water
With water temperatures reported as circa 27°c, of course, no wetsuits today for the 2km swim in Lake Carolyn.
Unlike the swim at the PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton, there was a big line of swimmers at the front of the race. The athletes were perhaps backing off a couple of percentage points having seen the difficulties that some of the elite women got into late in their race on Saturday.
Aaron Royle (AUS) was first to the exit steps in 26:38, but immediately behind were the likes of Sam Laidlow (FRA), Ben Kanute (USA), Daniel Bækkegård (DEN). Vetle Bergsvik Thorn (NOR), Josh Amberger (AUS), Nick Kastelein (AUS), Tom Bishop (GBR) and plenty more… a total of 20 athletes within 22 seconds.
Among the key names a little further back were Frederic Funk (+1:00), Magnus Ditlev (+1:09), Sebastian Kienle (+2:30), Lionel Sanders (+2:37) and Sam Long (+2:42).
With so many athletes close starting the bike, it was going to take a lap or so of the seven loop circuit to see the shape of the race become clear.
‘Flo’ rider – Angert takes control on the bike
As he did in Edmonton (though minus the injured Alistair Brownlee this time), Sam Laidlow was the first to make a move on the bike. 20km in and he was alone at the front, with Florian Angert nine seconds back, but with a further 30 seconds to the main chase pack. Still outside the top-20, Sam Long and Lionel Sanders were nonetheless the fastest riders on course and, as expected, enjoying the pure power time-trial friendly bike terrain.
Jumping forward another 20km to the midway point (40km) of the ride, and it was still Laidlow leading the way. Angert was still close behind in second (+0:06), but the chasers were now just over a minute down, a group including Mika Noodt (GER), Bækkegård, Bishop, Sam Appleton (AUS), Royle, Kyle Smith (NZL), Chartier (USA), Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP), Ditlev and Long.
Lionel Sanders was still just over 20 seconds back on that group and would be hoping to make the same catch soon that Long already had.
Heading into the final quarter of the ride and Team ERDINGER athlete Angert was now leading the way. Second recently at the World Triathlon Long Distance Championships (over the same 100km distance), he is consistently strong across all disciplines.
The German was 29 seconds clear of early leader Laidlow, but the chasers were now led by bike powerhouses Long and Ditlev, with only Chartier and Bækkegård remaining in that select quartet. Little more than a minute down on Angert, it was still all to play for, especially with the mercury rising.
The attrition continued over the final stages. Bækkegård couldn’t stay with the chasers, Laidlow was caught by Ditlev / Long / Chartier, and as they completed the 80km / seven laps and headed into transition, the leading situation was:
- Florian Angert leading solo
- Magnus Ditlev and Sam Long in 2nd/3rd (+1:00)
- Collin Chartier and Sam Laidlow in 4th/5th (+1:10)
- Daniel Bækkegård in 6th (+2:08)
- Lionel Sanders, Thor Bendix Madsen, Kristian Hogenhaug in 7th/8th/9th (+2:31)
No stopping the Chartier express
Long absolutely blitzed through T2 with by far the quickest transition amongst the leaders. He wanted to drop Ditlev immediately, and set off in pursuit of Angert.
37th out of the swim, could Yo Yo Yo take the $100k prize cheque and the biggest win of his career to date? The heat was on – and Long looked as though he was trying to drink everything in sight during the first kilometre.
With five laps to complete, the athletes would soon be very used to the US Open run course. It’s almost pan flat, but after that fast paced bike ride and temperatures approaching 100°F, not too many would be wishing for more hills.
Long took the lead shortly before the end of lap one and at this early stage, was looking strong in doing it too.
Two laps in and Long was leading Ditlev by 16 seconds, both athletes running at exactly the same pace, separated only by that fast transition from the U.S. athlete. Chartier was also having a stellar day, and had moved past Angert into third, 33 seconds behind Long, with just under 11km of running remaining.
Further back, the news wasn’t so good for Sanders who was now in eighth, having been overtaken by Aaron Royle and Kristian Hogenhaug. Mika Noodt was closing fast too, meaning No Limits would need to turn things around pretty sharpish even to retain a top ten position.
The leading trio – Long, Ditlev, Chartier – were matching each other almost to the second, and into the second half of the run, there was les than 30 seconds between them. This race was going to go deep into the final stages. Pushing so hard, in such tough conditions, the potential for things to change rapidly at any moment was always there too.
The start of lap four seemed to act as a springboard for Chartier, who upped his pace, moved past Ditlev into second place and set off in pursuit of Sam Long. Now coached by Mikal Iden, the influence of Norway was now present, even in the absence of Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt. It was all heading towards a stars and stripes battle on home turf in Texas. With 5km to go they were shoulder-to-shoulder. Fantastic racing!
Chartier was on a mission – he pushed on and he didn’t look back, and never looked like being headed as he powered away, laser focussed on the finish line. Long and Ditlev would be racing to the line for second, but first place was in his pocket.
Ditlev secured the silver in the final few hundred metres – but the day belonged to Chartier.
PTO US Open 2022 Results – Pro Men
Sunday September 18, 2022 – 2km / 80km / 18km – Dallas
- 1. Collin Chartier (USA) – 3:17:17
- 2. Magnus Ditlev (DEN) – 3:17:59
- 3. Sam Long (USA) – 3:18:09
- 4. Sam Laidlow (FRA) – 3:20:29
- 5. Florian Angert (GER) – 3:21:14
- 6. Kristian Hogenhaug (DEN) – 3:21:28
- 7. Aaron Royle (AUS) – 3:21:33
- 8. Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) – 3:22:27
- 9. Mike Noodt (GER) – 3:22:36
- 10. Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP) – 3:22:56