Links between the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) and World Triathlon were strengthened this week with news that the World Triathlon Multisport Championships will take place alongside the PTO’s Collins Cup from 18-21 August 2022.
The venue of course is the x-bionic® sphere sports complex, just 25km from the historic capital of Slovakia, Bratislava
What is the Multisport Championships?
First introduced in Penticton, Canada in 2017, the idea behind this event is to bring together many of the non short-course triathlon championship events to one ‘festival’, potentially allowing athletes to race across multiple formats.
Exactly which disciplines have been part of each festival has varied (and of course, COVID has played its part too in recent years), but for 2022 in Slovakia, the events will include:
- Long Distance Triathlon (Elite and Age-Group)
- Aquathlon (Elite and Age-Group)
- Aquabike (Age-Group)
Duathlon, plus Cross (off-road) events in both Triathlon and Duathlon are already on the calendar with a separate Multisport Championships event in Targu Mures, Romania in June.
Thus, the full ‘Multisport’ portfolio of World Championships will be across two venues in 2022.
Who is organising?
There should be some familiar hands at the wheel so to speak:
“The event will be hosted by Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO). The highly experienced Challenge Family team, who have delivered their flagship race The Championship at the same venue for the past five years, as well as the 2021 World Triathlon Multisports Championships in Almere, Netherlands have been appointed Event Delivery partner.”
The long and short(er) of it
World Triathlon’s ‘Long Distance’ Triathlon World Championships has varied in distances over the years.
While 3km / 120km / 30km has probably been the most frequent offering, in 2021 – and for only the second time ever – the championship was held over the full iron-distance at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam.
That race saw Kristian Hogenhaug (DEN) and Sarissa De Vries (NED) take the titles.
As with Almere, the championship format is being flexible to the organising environment, and so the Long Distance will actually be slightly shorter than a regular half this time around. That means the 100km format (2km / 80km / 18km) of the Collins Cup and the new PTO Tour races in Canada and the USA.
The outline schedule, as far as we can see, will be:
- Thursday 18 August: Aquathlon (Elite, U23, Junior, Para, Age Group)
- Saturday 20 August: The Collins Cup
- Sunday 21 August: Long Distance WC (Elite and AG) / Aquabike WC (AG only) / PTO Age Group race
The Word Triathlon Long Distance Championship event will offer a $90,000 Pro prize purse, with a further $10,000 on offer for the Elite Aquathlon race. Given his history in the event and its location, you would have to guess that we’ll be seeing Richard Varga making this weekend an A+ one on his 2022 schedule.
An event running alongside the Collins Cup isn’t totally new. In 2022, Challenge Family’s The Championship took place on Sunday after Saturday’s Collins Cup, with Lucy Hall and Florian Angert taking the victories.
Having that event over the same format and course a day later, will certainly add incentive to any Collins Cup team selected reserves to make the trip to Slovakia, in the knowledge that they will be guaranteed a high-profile race, be it on Saturday (Collins Cup) or Sunday (World Triathlon LD Champs). Sunday’s races will also be broadcast live on TriathlonLive.
It will be interesting to see if anyone considers taking on both… ?!
First off, it’s always good to see parties working together. In this case, it’s World Triathlon, PTO and Challenge Family. There is an awful lot going in the sport right now, and a consistent narrative has been that if there was more cooperation, everyone will benefit. Big tick on that front.
The addition of the Multisport events will also, quite naturally, bring in additional spectators and general vibe to the venue. With ‘The Championship‘ returning to its late May time slot in 2022, there was a gap, and thus many of the athletes racing (Thursday or Sunday), will quite naturally be out on the course and around the venue following the Collins Cup on Saturday.
Will it impact the PTO’s own age-group race? That’s an interesting one. On one hand, if a group / family is travelling to the event with a mix of age-group ‘qualified’ and others not, then the door is open to both to race on Sunday.
The flip-side might be that athletes who may have been considering the PTO’s age-group race, will now be looking to race in the World Championship event instead.
Does that matter? Perhaps not. While it was in a different context, the PTO Marketing Chief Tim Godfrey recently said when asked about which events will be the biggest draw in 20 years’ time:
“If we have consolidated our events and we have a very successful event structure and our athletes are doing well, they are earning the money they should be, our broadcasters are happy and we are developing and pushing forward the sport, it doesn’t really matter to us.”
If we can apply a similar approach to the amateur ranks, in overall terms, I believe there will now be significantly more age-group athletes racing in Samorin in late August than before this announcement. As to which particular event and sign-up form they go through, well, time will tell.
Having significantly reduced entry prices recently, the PTO’s age-group event was unlikely to be a major revenue driver in terms of P&L anyway. If there are now significantly more age-group athletes racing in Samorin overall, but they ‘lose’ some of them to the Championship event, I think that will still be considered a major win.
What they said
Marisol Casado, World Triathlon President and IOC member, said:
“I want to thank all the parties involved in this event. I think partnering with the PTO, x-bionic®sphere and the Challenge Family will result in an event that will be a great spectacle for all the athletes and spectators as well as for the city and the region. Athletes will be able to watch many of the world’s very best long-distance triathletes in action during the weekend. We are all ready to offer all the athletes the best experience possible and to make this an unforgettable event”.
Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO added:
“We are excited to welcome World Triathlon and the athletes who’ve qualified for the 2022 World Triathlon Multisport Championships to race alongside the PTO’s flagship event, The Collins Cup.
“With the inclusion of age group racing to the Collins Cup for the first time giving amateurs the opportunity to meet and race alongside the world’s best PTO professionals from Team Europe, Team US and Team Internationals, the addition of the 2022 World Triathlon Multisport Championships to the event demonstrates the confidence in the organisation of PTO events as well as the fabulous venue that is the x-bionic®sphere.
“The additional events will add to the festival nature of the event, uniting the sport through celebration of its top athletes and will be watched by millions to help build a wider fan base.”