France’s Sam Laidlow, one of the pre-race favourites for the upcoming Professional Triathletes Organisation European Open, has pulled out of the race in Ibiza.
“I come bearing some bad news,” he said in a post on Instagram. “Unfortunately I won’t be taking part in the PTO European Tour in Ibiza. I’ve got some personal issues to take care of and I’m also in the middle of moving house and a lot of things going on and it’s probably a bit too much. The season is very long and I want to make sure I deliver in Nice at the end of the year. I’m really, really sorry to any fans who were looking forward to that battle. All the best to the athletes there and I also hope that it’s an opportunity for someone who is further down the rankings to have an amazing race in Ibiza. See you in Ironman Lanzarote.”
Laidlow would have arrived in Ibiza as one of the pre-race favourites after an impressive win at Challenge Mogan-Gran Canaria earlier this month (pictured above), following up on his breakthrough runner-up finish at the Ironman World Championship last year. While many were surprised with his performance in Kona, he’d showed glimpses of that potential throughout the year. At the PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton, Laidlow broke clear of the rest of the field alongside two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee, and would eventually finish fourth. He was among the leaders off the bike once again at the PTO US Open, where he would again finish fourth. In Kona he set a new bike course record (4:04:36) on route to the second-fastest time ever (7:42:24) on the Kona course.
An hour after his initial statement, Laidlow returned to Instagram to make another video post in reaction to comments on a post from the How They Train podcast, which broke the news that Laidlow wouldn’t be taking part in the race in Ibiza.
“I thought I was done with this announcement, I thought what I said was enough,” he said. “My closest friends have asked me if I’m alright, and people I really like have done that, and then I’ve seen some other comments on How They Train’s post and its fucking shit, to be honest. I have my own reasons and if people question now a change of plan or me not showing up at a race and straight away put me in a box of being a cheat then that’s messed up … I’ve worked really hard my whole life and my family and I have invested so much so you can’t say that freely with no foundation.”
Triathlon Magazine will be in Lanzarote to cover Laidlow’s race there.