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Can Ashleigh Gentle continue her PTO dominance in Ibiza? Is Ryf ready to return to the top?

Some interesting match ups in store for the first PTO event of 2023

Photo by: PTO/ PTO Canadian Open

The women’s field has been announced for the upcoming Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) European Open in Ibiza on May 7, and it includes all the top-10 PTO ranked athletes. Last year Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle took the wins at both PTO Open events (Canada and US), and also won her match over Laura Philipp and Chelsea Sodaro at the Collins Cup, which has placed her at the top of the PTO rankings. Can the Aussie Olympian continue her dominance of PTO races in 2023? She’ll certainly have her work cut out for her based on the women on the start list. (There are four more wild-card athletes to be named to the field on Thursday.)

Is Ryf ready to dominate?

The big question for the race in Ibiza will be around the performance of five-time Kona and Ironman 70.3 world champion Daniela Ryf. She left long-time coach Brett Sutton a few years ago and didn’t perform as consistently at the top as she had in previous years. Her convincing win at the Ironman World Championship in St. George and at the Collins Cup last year showed that when she’s on she can dominate, but that was followed up with her second successive tough day in Kona. Ryf is back working with Sutton again – if she returns to her previous dominant and consistent form, she’ll certainly be the woman to beat in Ibiza.

Gentle ready for the strong field

“Everyone knows the PTO Tour races were huge for me last season,” Gentle said. “But this is a new season, a new PTO Tour event and another exciting new venue, so I certainly won’t be taking anything for granted. I have had a consistent summer down here in Australia and the training has been going well, but I know the competition for podium places is going to be really intense in Ibiza. It’s going to make for some thrilling racing and I’m excited to get to the start line and get the PTO Tour underway.”

Last year Gentle beat Lucy Charles-Barclay at the PTO US Open, but the Brit was coming back from injury and surged to her third runner-up Kona finish just a few weeks later. Charles-Barclay will be starting her season in Ibiza.

“Having missed out on two of the PTO Tour races last term, nothing was going to stop me lining up for the first-ever PTO European Open in Ibiza,” Charles-Barclay said. “I can’t wait for the opportunity to test myself against the very best athletes in the world and, hopefully, start my 2023 race season with a win.”

Tamara Jewett proves she can bike and swim, too

After a dominant performance at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote last month, the women in the field will be wise to pay attention to a very fit Anne Haug in May. The German is finally over her issues with long-term COVID, and appears determined to make her mark in 2023.

There are two Canadians in the field who are expected to compete at the front – Paula Findlay, who is ranked third in the PTO rankings, and Tamara Jewett, who had a breakthrough win over Chelsea Sodaro, Kat Matthews, Holly Lawrence and Findlay at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside earlier this month.

Here’s a list of the athletes the PTO has announced will be part of the field in Ibiza:

Ashleigh Gentle (AUS)
Lucy Charles-Barclay (GBR)
Paula Findlay (CAN)
Daniela Ryf (SWI)
Anne Haug (GER)
Chelsea Sodaro (US)
Laura Philipp (GER)
Holly Lawrence (GBR)
Emma Pallant-Browne (GBR)
Lisa Norden (SWE)
Fenella Langridge (GBR)
Kat Matthews (GBR)
Jocelyn McCauley (US)
Tamara Jewett (CAN)
Sara Perez Sala (ESP)
Ellie Salthouse (AUS)
Daniela Bleymehl (GER)
Grace Thek (AUS)
India Lee (GBR)
Lucy Byram (GBR)
Rebecca Clarke (NZL)
Lusia Baptista (BRA)
Lotte Wilms (NED)
Barbara Riveros (CHI)
Maja Stage Nielsen (DEN)