The inaugural PTO Tour Event was hosted in Canada, Edmonton, last weekend. Both the men’s and women’s races saw the best in the world go head-to-head for a staggering $1 million prize fund.
On the Saturday, Edmonton’s very own, Paula Findlay, raced home to a phenomenal second place finish in front of her home crowd, only to be out run by a first-class performance from Australia’s, Ashleigh Gentle. The fantastic race and spectacular scenery left the men’s race to be eagerly anticipated – it didn’t disappoint either! The familiar Norwegian duo taking home the spoils at the top of the leader board and monumental efforts from athletes such as; Aaron Royle, Alistair Brownlee, and ZONE3 athlete, Sam Appleton!
Sam Appleton, inspired by the performance of his fellow compatriot the day before, was looking to emulate a similar display himself. Sam, a determined and resilient performer, never needs much more motivation to perform at his best, but a healthy prize fund and Collins Cup Team charge served extra motivation for Sam and several athletes to break through the pain barrier!
Athletes lined up and ready to go, set off on the 2km swim which consisted of 3 laps around Hawrelak Park Lake with Australian exits. South African, Henri Schoeman, came up trumps in the swim leg against the leading pack of athletes. The chasing pack followed marginally behind, led by Sam himself, in what was an almighty swim, leaving him within striking distance for a charge on the bike! Sam was among the first 10 athletes to emerge from the water, repping the ZONE3 swimskin, before taking time out of the leaders during T1.
Onto the bike. Following the swim, a bike course stretching 80km in distance and 760m in elevation gain lay in wake for the athletes. This was led out by and changed hands between Sam Laidlow and Alistair Brownlee who had looked to put a significant dent in the field, despite the gains from the Norwegian duo. Sam took this time to cement himself within the top 20 and did just that at he rode into T2 within touching distance of the chasing pack of athletes. Overall, a solid bike section from Sam!
Finally, an 18km flat run had its fair share of twist and turns in the race plot. Athletes all over the leader board succumbing to the taxing nature of both the conditions and course meant that it was now a two-horse race between the Norwegian powerhouses of Blummenfelt and Iden. Sam raced home through the grandstand finish and comfortably finished in the top 30, right on the heels of a group of athletes sprinting towards a top 20 finish.
Overall, a valiant effort from Sam and we look forward to seeing him compete again soon! Keep look out for Sam at the following events:
- PTO Dallas Open
- Ironman World Championships, Kona
- Ironman 70.3 World Championships