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Why is Kristian Blummenfelt taking a redeye to get to the PTO Asian Open and other things to know about the race in Singapore

How and who to watch at this weekend's PTO Asian Open

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

The final event of the 2023 Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) Tour – the Asian Open – takes place this weekend in Singapore, with a field of 20 women set to race on Saturday afternoon, and 20 men racing on Sunday. Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt will be one of those men competing, just days (well, with the time change more like a day and a half) after he’ll be on the line at the Paris Test Event. The Norwegian Ironman and 70.3 world champ has an extremely ambitious August schedule – he was third at the PTO US Open in Milwaukee and will jet back to Europe after the PTO Asian Open to compete at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. As if all that’s not enough – he’ll be competing in three of the four Super League Championship races in September, too. (He has to miss the first one because of the 70.3 worlds in Lahti, Finland.)

Why not skip Singapore?

While the schedule seems to be crazy, Blummenfelt thrives on lots of racing. He had an ambitious and busy schedule of draft-legal events during May and June heading into the Olympics, and we know how the Games turned out. After the Games he continued on a torrid pace of racing, winning the Grand Final in Edmonton, helped Europe win the Collins Cup and, later that fall, blasted to a 7:21:12 finish at his Ironman debut in Cozumel. The guy loves to race and loves to win, and he’s yet to win a PTO Tour event, so this will be his last shot, presumably, until after the Olympics next year. With his focus on the 2024 Olympics, the Ironman World Championship in Nice is a no-go, so Blummenfelt appears determined to defend his 70.3 world title and also rack up some other big wins during the month of August.

Based on the recent announcement of at least six PTO Tour events next year, Blummenfelt is likely keen to continue his very positive relationship with the PTO. Along with countryman Gustav Iden, the reigning Ironman world champion, he brings some major “name” recognition to the event, for which the PTO must appreciate. Then there’s the US$100,000 for the win. That can’t help but be a bit of a motivator, too.

Gustav Iden arrives in Singapore as another pre-race favourite

The rest of the field

In addition to Iden, the men’s field also includes Americans Sam Long, Ben Kanute and Jason West, along with last year’s Kona runner-up Sam Laidlow, who held off Blummenfelt in the marathon on the Big Island. You can find the full start list here.

How to watch

You can watch the races either on the PTO’s YouTube channel or on PTO+. The women’s race will start at 3 AM EST on Saturday, with the men starting at the same time on Sunday morning.

Speaking of the women’s race

Photo: PTO

It’s not hard to make the argument that the women’s race could very well be more exciting than the men’s. With Anne Haug, Ashleigh Gentle and Lucy Charles Barclay, the three podium finishers from the PTO European Open in Ibiza set to take each other on again, things should be interesting enough. Add to that mix the likes of Chelsea Sodaro, Sarah True, Imogen Simmonds and Sara Perez Sala and you have lots of potential for a fast and exciting race.

Lucy Charles-Barclay bounces back from broken bone to race at PTO Asian Open

The courses

The races should be TV friendly – a two-lap, 2 km swim, an eight-lap, 80 km bike followed by a three lap, 18 km run. Here’s the description from the PTO:

With the race venue in the Marina Bay Financial District, the first PTO Asian Open in Singapore will feature one of the world’s most iconic skylines as its backdrop.

The pro race will get underway with a pontoon start near the famous Helix Bridge and ArtScience museum. The athletes will dive into Marina Bay for an initial 1km circuit leading towards the Esplanade Theatre before turning and crossing the bay towards T1 in the shadow of the Marina Bay Sands hotel to make up the full 2km.

After a swift transition, it’ll be on to eight 10km bike laps, heading out past the Marina Bay Sands hotel and over the Benjamin Sheares Bridge. After two 90-degree corners, the athletes will sweep into an out-and-back section to eye up the competition. Then, it’s past the Singapore Flyer big wheel and back over the bridge towards the Marina Bay Sands. There will be plenty of opportunities to cheer on your heroes during the 80km route – either out on the course or near the transition area, where you’ll also be able to watch the live broadcast on the big screen.

The run course features three 6km laps, which skirt the bay’s edge and pass the ArtScience Museum and Helix Bridge before heading under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge towards the Gardens by the Bay. The athletes will cover the length of the gardens before circling the Marina Barrage and making their way back along the course towards transition and, at the end of lap three, a glorious finish line.