Last week, the PTO launched their highly anticipated T100 Triathlon World Tour, along with the names of the 40 athletes contracted to the race series in 2024.
In this article, we look at the surprise omissions, the big names who look set to be targeting the IRONMAN Pro Series and which short course stars we had hoped to see race the T100.
The IRONMAN veterans
Whilst former IRONMAN World Champions Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt are undoubtedly two of the biggest names not racing the T100, the short course stars seem fully committed to chasing Paris Olympic gold instead this summer.
Another IRONMAN Champion, Patrick Lange, is perhaps the biggest name to reportedly turn down a T100 contract, with the two-time winner choosing instead to focus fully on the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.
Fan favourite Sanders, who finished 11th at the PTO Tour US Open and seventh at the PTO Canadian Open in 2022, was another athlete who committed to the IRONMAN Pro Series early on, although it is unclear if the Canadian was offered a T100 contract.
Joe Skipper, who has won some of the biggest races in the sport including IRONMAN Lake Placid last year, will be one of the favourites for the IRONMAN Pro Series title in 2024, but will face stiff competition from Lange, Sanders and a number of others.
The likes of Team BMC stalwart Chris Leiferman and IRONMAN World Championship podium finisher Braden Currie, neither of whom are set to be racing the T100, are two more athletes who will be contenders for the overall series crown.
From Down Under, professional cyclist Cam Wurf is another big name not on the T100 list, whilst fellow Australians Steve McKenna and Sam Appleton, plus Kiwi Mike Phillips are top calibre racers who are likely to race the IRONMAN Pro Series.
The surprise omissions
Out of all the young stars to miss out on a T100 contract, it was perhaps most surprising to see Mika Noodt not on the list, who despite injury setbacks in 2023 was hugely impressive when he did race.
The German, who won IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta and pushed Mathis Margirier all the way to the line at Challenge Vieux Boucau, finished fourth at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in 2022 and is extremely talented.
Whilst he is likely to get a wildcard if one becomes available, Noodt’s addition to the IRONMAN Pro Series would be a real boost for M-dot as the German is likely to figure prominently at the front of most races when fit.
Two other names who are undoubtedly deserving of a wildcard at some point in the season are Kyle Smith and Thor Bendix Madsen, with it coming as a real surprise to us that the entertaining Smith isn’t already on a contract.
Having finished in the top 10 at two PTO Tour races over the last years, including at the incredibly stacked PTO Tour European Open last year, Smith was at one point in the running for the New Zealand Olympic team and may still be focusing all his efforts on making the plane to Paris.
Bendix Madsen on the other hand is a talent cut from the same cloth as Magnus Ditlev, with the Team BMC pro already boasting two top 10 performances at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship to his name at just 24-years-old.
Finally, Tom Bishop, who was a brilliant second at Clash Miami last season and finished 12th at the PTO Tour European Open, will likely be wondering how costly two DNF’s at the PTO Tour events in Milwaukee and Singapore will have been.
On his day, the Brit is a force to be reckoned with over the 100km distance and with any luck, triathlon fans will get to watch him race a T100 event at some stage this season through a wildcard slot.
The short course stars
With PTO Tour Asian Open winner Blummenfelt focusing on the Olympics and Kona, whilst his Norwegian counterpart Iden is dialled in on qualifying for Paris, there are a number of other short course stars who won’t be racing the T100 Tour this year.
Most surprisingly, perhaps, is that not one of the current crop of French stars were signed, despite Leo Bergere, Vincent Luis and Pierre Le Corre all boasting a host of big middle distance victories on their resume.
Hayden Wilde is another athlete who many triathlon fans would have loved to see race on the T100 Tour after the Olympics. However, if the New Zealander does step up in distance this season, it looks most likely to be in his hometown of Taupo for a shot at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship title.
Of the current crop of established WTCS stars who might be looking to make a change after Paris, German Jonas Schomburg and Belgian Jelle Geens are two big names with middle distance experience, as is former Commonwealth Games champion Henri Schoeman.
Finally, another Norwegian duo, Casper Stornes and Vetle Thorn, impressed massively at IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells in December and could quite rightly have laid a claim to a shot over the 100km distance in 2024.
In all honesty, there are so many world class athletes capable of performing incredibly over the 100km distance that the PTO could easily have handed out a second set of contracts in 2024.