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HomeCanadian NewsPrime triathletes chasing huge cash at inaugural PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton

Prime triathletes chasing huge cash at inaugural PTO Canadian Open in Edmonton

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When Lionel Sanders gained the 2021 Ironman 70.3 Texas triathlon, he was paid barely greater than $35 US per kilometre for his efforts.

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The Windsor, Ont. native swam 1.9 km, cycled 90 km and completed the gruelling skilled race by operating 21.1 km for a grand whole of 113 km.

First place paid $4,000 US. Sanders’ bills got here to $3,000 US, as he lined journey prices for himself, his spouse Erin and a videographer.

“Really, should you embody meals, I might need misplaced cash on the race,” Sanders mentioned in a video launched by the Skilled Triathletes Group, whose debut Canadian Open launches in Edmonton this weekend. “That’s why it’s not a sustainable enterprise to have the perfect individuals racing head-to-head below the previous mannequin. The wonder right here is there lastly is sufficient that we will all come to this race. We are able to make a buck and race the perfect guys on this planet.”

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Ought to Sanders make it to the highest of the rostrum on Sunday in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park, he could have been paid way more than a residing wage. The winners of each males’s and girls’s elite 100-km races acquire $100,000 US or $1,000 US per km as they swim for two km, bike for 80 km and run for 18 km. What’s extra, there’s prize cash all the way down to 40th place on either side and a complete purse of $1 million US. The race in Galveston provided prize cash to eighth place and a complete purse of $30,000 US.

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“For higher or worse, cash attracts individuals, proper? We have to eat. We have to present for our households,” mentioned Sanders, an intense 34-year-old competitor. “And so the PTO is placing up precise quantities of cash that we will survive off of.”

Past and due to the cash, there’s the competitors that he craves. The boys’s discipline in Edmonton is top of the range, led by PTO world No. 1 Kristian Blummenfelt and No. 3 Gustav Iden, each of Norway. Sanders is available in as No. 5. The ladies’s discipline, which is lacking 5 of the highest six within the PTO rankings, together with No. 1 Daniela Ryf and No. 2 Anne Haug, can be led by No. 3 Laura Philipp of Germany. Even so, 17 of the highest 25 ladies are competing, together with Edmonton’s Paula Findlay, who’s ranked No. 10 and needs to be within the combine for an enormous payday.

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Second place for women and men pays $70,000 US, whereas the remaining step on the rostrum is sweet for $50,000 US. There are comparable purses at PTO occasions upcoming in Slovakia and Dallas.

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“We’re going to begin to go to races the place the highest tier is at and that is what’s going to push the game to a brand new stage,” Sanders mentioned. “And, you realize, these are the wins which might be going to be essentially the most significant. I’ve gained the North American championship, I feel 70.3, at the very least two or thrice and (Sebastian) Kienle was there. That’s the one factor that made that race significant. Beating Kienle, like having battle with Kienle, in any other case being a North American champ? Utterly irrelevant.”

The PTO Tour has already been a game-changer for Findlay, too. She gained a PTO occasion in 2020 in Daytona, copping the $100,000 US prime prize to make it her most profitable race and season within the sport. Consequently, Findlay now builds her schedule “100 per cent across the PTO occasions,” she mentioned in an electronic mail trade on Tuesday.

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“Our sport has been providing fewer professional races and fewer prize cash over the previous couple of years, till the PTO stepped up with these main occasions. Since triathlon is my job, it solely is smart to indicate up match and wholesome on the races with the most important prize cash. Not solely that, there is a gigantic quantity of help and publicity for athletes main in and through these PTO occasions, which is large for athletes and their sponsors. The prize purse is good, and there are different large advantages that you simply don’t see at different occasions.”

Findlay is now 33, an age at which some skilled triathletes transfer on to different profession pursuits as a result of it’s more and more exhausting to remain on prime, the place the cash was historically concentrated. PTO has modified that actuality as effectively.

“I feel the prize cash will enable me to remain within the sport longer than I might in any other case,” she mentioned. “It’s exhausting to make a residing in triathlon until you might be constantly on the prime of the game, which is difficult to take care of as we get injured and become older! Greater incomes potential at these PTO occasions has utterly modified the game for a lot of athletes who in any other case wouldn’t be capable to help themselves, and undoubtedly permits athletes like me to do that effectively into my 30s.”

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