Edmonton’s own Paula Findlay will have another tough contender to take on in her hometown in a few weeks – 2012 Olympic gold medalist (and silver medalist from 2016) Nicola Spirig will toe the line at Hawrelak Park for the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) Canadian Open. Spirig is fresh off a gallant effort at the Sub8 Project in Germany last month after overcoming a broken shoulder and other injuries sustained last winter, she appeared to be on track to beat Kat Matthews to the finish line, but ended up a close second with her 7:34:19 clocking.
Spirig, a five-time Olympian from Switzerland, is set to retire at the end of the year, but is looking to finish her career in style. The 100 km distance for the PTO events is perfectly suited for Spirig, who, in addition to her draft-legal and Olympic exploits has been virtually unbeaten in long-distance races. In addition to her sixth place in Tokyo last year she won six half-distance races including Ironman 70.3 Nice and Challenge events in Mallorca, Davos, Walchsee and Gran Canaria. She won her one and only Ironman race, taking Ironman Cozumel in 2014.
“After my exciting SUB8 project in Dresden, I am now looking forward to tackle the second half of the year. In my final year as an active triathlete, I am very excited to be competing at the PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton for the first time,” said Spirig.
The PTO also announced some more names to the list of pros who will be gunning after a share of the US$1 million prize purse, including Canadians Rach McBride, Matt Sharpe and Brent McMahon.
Here’s a list of the athletes who have been added to the start list:
Women: Nicola Spirig (SWI), Sophie Watts (USA), Vittoria Lopes (BRA), Radka Kahlefeldt (CZE), Rach McBride (CAN), Grace Thek (AUS), Penny Slater (AUS) and India Lee (GBR).
Men: Henri Schoeman (RSA), Matt McElroy (USA), Andre Lopes (USA/BRA), Kyle Buckingham (RSA), Max Newmann (AUS), Brent McMahon (CAN), Reinaldo Colucci (BRA), Steve McKenna (AUS), Pieter Heemeryck (BEL), Matt Sharpe (CAN) and Youri Keulen (NED).