PTO 2020 Championship pro press conference: ‘Let’s not make it a gunfight, but a nuclear war’

December 4, 2020

With what is going to be most likely the most spectacular pro field ever seen in a Middle Distance race, tension is growing every day at Challenge Daytona. The PTO 2020 Championship (2-80-18) will take place upcoming Sunday and some of the most interesting pro athletes just came together already during the pro press conference. Most favourite athlete Alistair Brownlee was very clear: “I think this distance is the most interesting format because it brings best long and short distance athletes together.”

The British two time and current Olympic Champion is more than ready for the PTO 2020 Championship and is looking forward to a race he calls ‘very interesting’. “After all the preparations for this race, of course we’ve all come here for victory. This is the most significant triathlon event of the year. I’m very lucky that I was able to achieve more than I’ve ever dreamed of, but I didn’t manage yet winning an important longer distance race already. This would be a perfect moment to do so.”

Sebastian Kienle: ‘I’ve heard so very often that short course athletes will smoke longer distance athletes, but it never did happen’

For German Sebastian Kienle indeed Brownlee counts as the most favourite athlete around. “He brings the short course speed and knows how it is to ride his TT bike for over 1:30 hours. I’ll try to find a way to place a bet on him so that I still will earn some money on Sunday”, he said laughing. “It’s too bad both World Champions decided not to start here when they saw this amazing pro field. I’m very happy and I think I can speak for every athlete that we have the opportunity to race here under these circumstances. We all know what responsibly comes with that and for what I’ve seen so far, everybody is very responsible. I’ve heard so very often that the short course athletes will smoke the longer distance athletes, but it never did happen. The only way to make this race interesting is to don’t make it a gunfight, but make it a nuclear war.”

Vincent Luis: ‘A good way to make some money for Christmas’

Also Frenchman Vincent Luis counts as one of the favourites for victory. “I thought this was a good way to make some money for Christmas”, he joked. “I just want to race a longer distance once. It’s a totally different sport for me. This race will take me about 3:15 hours, so it isn’t that long.” Luis is pretty sure it’s going to be a hard race nevertheless. “Alistair definitely is stronger on the long distance and we know each other for years. Still I’m confident of my run, so we’ll see what is going to happen. I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie and I will enjoy every minute of the race.”

Gustav Iden: ‘Will see if I’m a one hit wonder’

Last but not least Norwegian Gustav Iden is someone to keep an eye on. “This year has been very difficult because of no race experiences and it’s amazing to be here. It makes training a lot easier when you have something to aim for. We are training hard, racing hard and when we do everything right, results definitely will come. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to win but hope I’m going to manage. I think tactics aren’t playing such a big role as last year. We’ll see if I’m good again or if I’m a ‘one hit wonder’

Nicola Spirig: ‘I’ve done a lot of Middle Distances and won the most of them’

Also the women’s race will have a world class pro field, including former Olympic Champion Nicola Spirig: “I’m preparing for my fifth Olympics and didn’t want a break in my training, so this race is very important for me. Racing is my true passion: I’ve done a lot of Middle Distances and won the most of them. To be honest I’ve won most of them on my regular road bike, but on this course I think it’s better to go for my TT bike.”

Lisa Norden: ‘This course suits me very well’

That’s something also Swedish Lisa Norden is going for. “I think this course suits me very well because it’s just straight and I love my aero position and indoor training. Last year I became third at Challenge Daytona while I was sick, so I hope to do even better now. Races like this, against the best athletes in the world, are the ones you learn most of.”

Anne Haug: ‘This race is important for anyone of us’

Anne Haug knows it’s going to be an exciting race where all women will perform their best. “The pressure will be on. I’ll do what I always do, prepare the best way I can and race as hard as possible. It’s an open secret that my heart lies with the shorter distance because I like the speed in these races. Whatever happens, this PTO 2020 Championship is important for any of us.”

Sarah Crowley: ‘I care about this race’

Sarah Crowley is quite nervous for the race already. “But that shows I care about this race. We’ve trained specifically for it because we know the short distance girls will be fast. I’ve done some loops on the track already and I loved it.”