The Professional Triathletes Organisation has announced a stellar pro women’s field for the very first PTO US Open in Dallas, Texas on the 17 September, where a strong American contingent will be hoping to do well on home soil.
After some phenomenal racing at the PTO Canadian Open in July and the Collins Cup in August, the competitors in Dallas will be going full gas from the gun for a chance to take home a slice of the $1 million prize purse up for grabs.
Both the winner and runner up from the PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton will be racing, with Ashleigh Gentle and Paula Findlay travelling to the US with the intention of upsetting the likes of Taylor Knibb and Jackie Hering on home turf.
The race will also feature Lucy Charles-Barclay, the recently crowned World Long Course Champion in Samorin who will be looking to build on her win in Slovakia after a difficult first half of the season.
Findlay faces Gentle rematch
Findlay will be looking to finally get the better of Gentle in Dallas after coming up short at the PTO Canadian Open in July. In Edmonton, Findlay was more than two minutes adrift after Gentle’s lightening quick run leg put her clear of the field.
However, Findlay may be heading into the US Open quietly confident, as she managed to close the gap down to Gentle significantly between Edmonton in July and the Collins Cup in August. In Samorin, both Findlay and Gentle won their matchups and whilst they weren’t directly competing against each other, their results show a significantly smaller gap between the pair.
Both the PTO Canadian Open and the Collins Cup were raced over 100km, with a 2km swim followed by an 80km bike, before finishing with the 18km run leg. At the Canadian Open, Findlay was 2:23 behind Gentle, whilst at the Collins Cup the gap was just 19 seconds.
In the time between Edmonton and the Collins Cup, Findlay has really doubled down on her run leg to close the gap to Gentle. Back in Edmonton in July, the Australian put 4:27 into Findlay over the 18km run to take the win, whilst the gap in Samorin was almost half that at 2:15. If Findlay can come off the bike with a gap, keeping away from Gentle may be easier than it was in Edmonton.
The American contingent
After unfortunately having to withdraw from the Collins Cup last month due to injury, Knibb will be eager to prove that she is one of the best racers on the circuit. Having just raced twice in 2022, the bronze medallist from the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships will relish the chance to compete on home soil, with four other strong American women by her side.
Following the announcement of the start list, Knibb emphasised how important racing at home was to her, stating: “I’m really excited the PTO Tour is coming to the US in its first season. The chance to race in our home country is a huge opportunity for all of the American women taking part and having seen the success of the first couple of PTO Tour events in Edmonton, Canada, and then last month’s Collins Cup, I can’t wait to get involved.”
Knibb’s replacement at the Collins Cup, 2022 IRONMAN Texas winner Jocelyn McCauley will also be hoping to mix it up at the front, after 11th place at the PTO Canadian Open in July. McCauley was also the only American female not to finish third and last in her Collins Cup match.
McCauley also spoke following the start list announcement about the view athletes now have of the PTO races and the importance these events now hold, saying: “The PTO Tour is a great addition to our calendar and speaking to all the professional athletes during the season, the dates have quickly established themselves as ‘must race’ events – in terms of the event support and production, atmosphere, prize money and profile that the global broadcast delivers. Which is all helping our athlete-owned organisation, the PTO, take the sport to the next level”.
Don’t count out Lucy Charles-Barclay
After an incredible first race back at the World Long Course Championships in Samorin last month, Charles-Barclay will hope to take the PTO by storm in Dallas against a top field. With 13 of the top 25 ranked PTO women in the field, she’ll have her work cut out, but will undoubtedly be seen as a threat to all.
Currently ranked 5th in the PTO rankings, Charles-Barclay could overtake Kat Matthews as the top ranked Brit following a good result in Dallas. Her performance in Samorin actually saw her leapfrog Gentle, Knibb and Findlay in the rankings, so she heads into the US Open as the top-ranked female.
Alongside Charles-Barclay in Dallas are four other British women who will be looking to fight it out for PTO points and a share of the prize purse. Holly Lawrence is racing after winning her matchup at the Collins Cup, whilst Fenella Langridge, Ruth Astle and India Lee are also set to compete in the lone star state.