PTO Tour Series
The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) truly hit the headlines in early 2020 after a number of false starts with a high-profile launch amid much excitement.
It did so billing itself as: “A not-for-profit entity that supports the body of professional triathletes and seeks to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who strive to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who participate in triathlon, from the seasoned age grouper to the newbie.”
Since then the PTO has set about elevating elite professional triathlon to new heights in a bid to make the sport sustainable for the long-term. It aims to replicate the success of golf and tennis via the PGA Tour, the ATP Tour and the WTA Tour.
Prior to that high-profile (re)launch in early 2020, PTO had already provided a huge statement of intent for the future by publicly making a play to purchase IRONMAN Group from Wanda Sports Group. That though came to nothing and eventually IRONMAN was purchased by Advance Publications in July 2020 for a reported $730million.
Despite the triathlon calendar in 2020 being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PTO provided invaluable support through troubled times to support the events which did take place by boosting prize money.
As well as providing support for other events the PTO will also look to stage a small number of high-profile events of its own each year, with the 2022 schedule adding two new ones to the mix. The United States Open and Canadian Open will debut in 2022, while The Collins Cup made a very successful bow in 2021…
The Collins Cup
The flagship event of the PTO, the inaugural Collins Cup had initially been planned for 2020 before the COVID pandemic struck. It was then delayed again before finally taking place on August 28, 2021. It had been a long journey, with the Collins Cup concept first released in September 2016.
A team event, we saw Team Europe take on Team USA and Team Internationals, with each containing 12 of the world’s finest triathletes at the purpose-built x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.
Eventually Team Europe prevailed in an event which saw 12 races taking place on the same day – each with an athlete from each team. The races took place with a 2km swim, an 80km bike and an 18km run.
The 2022 event will take place in Samorin once again – on August 20 and 2021 – with a total prize pool of $1.5million. It will then go on the road from 2023 onwards with the venue rotating each year.
New events in 2022
The PTO announced its 2022 schedule in December 2021, and there are two new major events on it.
The Canadian Open will take place in Edmonton on July 23 and 24, while the United States Open debuts in Dallas, Texas on September 17 and 18. Each event will have a total prize pool of $1million.
European and Asian Opens will be added to the PTO calendar from 2023 onwards.
PTO Race For The Rankings
The PTO’s annual Race For The Rankings is a bonus programme which offers leading triathletes the opportunity to significantly boost their annual earnings from the sport.
A $2million prize pool is split between the top 100 athletes in the PTO World Rankings at the end of each year. The rankings are based on a proprietary algorithm developed by the PTO in conjunction with respected triathlon statistician Thorsten Radde.
PTO 2020 Championship
With The Collins Cup cancelled in 2020, the PTO staged its first ever major event at the iconic Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
Run in conjunction with Challenge Daytona, the event attracted stellar PRO fields and took place on Sunday December 6, 2020.
Canada’s Paula Findlay took the women’s race with Norwegian star Gustav Iden dominating in the men’s event.
The prize pool for the event was a cool $1.15million – by comparison around four times that offered by the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship the previous year.
Investors – who is funding the PTO?
The good news for the PTO, its athletes and the wider sport of triathlon is that the organisation has significant and highly credible backing.
As part of that January 2020 launch, the PTO announced a major partnership with Crankstart Investments. What is Crankstart Investments you ask? It is the fund fronted by well-known British venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz OBE.
Moritz, a former journalist, is also a partner in globally recognised Sequioa Capital and has been an active cyclist and swimmer.