PTO Tour presents race venues and changes name to "T100"
Since Ironman presented their new series in the fall of 2023, everyone has been waiting for an official announcement from PTO. Tuesday afternoon, the news came with a name change from "PTO Tour" to the more straightforward "T100" (from the distances 2-80-20), along with 7 spectacular race venues plus a Grand Final at an as-yet-undisclosed location. T100 also takes over the official Long Distance World Championship, transforming the World Triathlon LD Championships into a series, similar to the WTCS in short distance.
The 40 qualified men and women have been selected from the highest-ranking athletes in PTO's World Ranking System, committing to participate in 5 out of 7 races plus the final event. However, the requirements are more lenient for qualified Olympic athletes. FUSION collaborates with 3 super-strong names in the mix, Magnus Ditlev, Daniel Bækkegård, and Sam Laidlow - ranked 2nd, 11th, and 13th, respectively, in the world rankings. Currently, the favorite status likely rests heavily on the shoulders of Belgian superstar Marten Van Riel, but overall, the strength among the selected athletes seems quite evenly matched. While PTO seems to have successfully garnered maximum participation from PRO women, notably 4 PRO men shine in their absence. Lionel Sanders and Patrick Lange have stated they are going all in for Kona 2024, Gustav Iden is rumored for Roth, and it wouldn't be surprising if Blummenfelt goes all in on winning both the Olympics and Kona in the same calendar year!
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What dates should we keep an eye on?
Since Magnus, Sam, and Daniel are already qualified for Kona, they have "free rein." Excluding the final on November 29-30, athletes are contractually obligated to compete in 5 events during the season. Although they undoubtedly have the potential to race "back to back," we must assume that Las Vegas T100 (October 19-20, the week before Kona) should be crossed off the target list. According to Daniel Bækkegård, he will undoubtedly also avoid Singapore T100 (April 13-14), unless the trip includes a personal chef and full-body disinfection three times a day. As most people probably remember, the entire PRO field fell seriously ill after Singapore 2023. Avoiding Las Vegas and Singapore seems like the "best-case scenario," but it also "locks" the athletes into the remaining 5 competitions. In theory, there could be a conflict with events like Challenge Roth, scheduled for July 7. California T100 is on an unknown date in June, and 3 weeks after Roth, London T100 is scheduled. Normally not a significant problem, but digging as deep as it takes to win Roth leaves even Magnus Ditlev not fully recovered three weeks later. We must assume that some compromises may be necessary along the way, but on the other hand, the team behind Magnus, Daniel, and Sam has a proven track record of long-term strategic planning. Fortunately, we won't have to wait much longer to see it unfold. At the time of writing, there are only 5 weeks until Miami T100 kicks off on March 9.