Germany’s Anne Haug ran to a commanding win in the inaugural PTO European Open in Ibiza, Saturday 6 May, beating Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle into second place and Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay into third.
In imperious form, the PTO World #5 was quick to praise the motivation of what many had called the strongest women’s start list ever assembled – with 8 of the top 10 PTO Ranked athletes competing.
“I compete against the best in the world and that really pushes me to get the best out of me. I mean, you need the best in the world. You get to see how good you are. And yeah, I had just a fantastic race.”
Haug said: “I mean, my swim was okay, I would say. And I felt very strong on the bike and I knew I can run pretty quick, but you never know. I mean, it’s the first race of the year against the best in the world. But yeah, I tried my best and yeah, always kept strong and ahead. I think you always have to believe that you can make it.”
“I think it’s just consistency. It’s all about that in endurance sport. It’s all about consistency. And I struggled a little bit from COVID in 2021 and I finally found a solution for that problem because I always had a little bit energy problems. And once that was solved, I mean, I can perform again. So I’m really, really happy that I could sort that out because it was really worrying me.”
Having been feeling slightly under the weather, Gentle said: “Yes, it was super though. I’m losing my voice a little. I really didn’t know how it was going to go today. I was feeling real off yesterday. I don’t really know what it was, but I left it all out there and I’m really proud of the way I raced.”
Charles-Barclay was upbeat after a powerful first outing of the season, saying: “Oh, you know what, I absolutely loved that first race of the season. It was absolutely brutal. I left everything out there. I ran as hard as I could, to try and get the gap, and was running scared from these girls, but pretty happy to still make it to the podium.”
Asked what it would take for her to step up from another third place, she said: “You know, I think it’s just time. I mean, it’s still early in the season and I’m really happy with that result. So now I can go away. I know where I need to put the work in and come back for the next one and hopefully move up the spot.”
All eyes were on PTO World #2 Lucy Charles-Barclay in the swim and the Brit lived up to her billing as the sport’s best swimmer. Despite choppier conditions off Figuertas beach compared to the men’s race, Charles-Barclay came out of the water with a half-minute lead to the nearest chasers. Meanwhile favourites such as PTO World #1 Ashleigh Gentle, Paula Findlay (PTO World #3) and Anne Haug (PTO World #5) were between two and three minutes in arrears.
Charles-Barclay was dominant on the bike, her lead blossoming over the sun-drenched 80km course. Behind, Paula Findlay was showing her usual strong bike legs but it was Ashleigh Gentle who was making the biggest gains – moving from ninth up to the head of the chase group.
Gentle was off the bike in second, 1:43 behind, with many expecting her to show the form that had seen her take victory at the PTO Canadian and US Opens in 2022. While the Australian did make consistent inroads to Charles-Barclay, Anne Haug was clearly the fastest on course.
The pocket rocket German star flew out of transition in eighth place but was in third place by 2.2km in and soon went past Gentle at high speed. Haug secured the lead by half-way into the 18km run – sharing a moment of mutual respect with Charles-Barclay as she passed – and continued to charge towards the finish.
Crossing the line in 3:38:00, Haug took the PTO European Open title and $100,000 with a buffer of almost three minutes to Gentle, who takes home $50,000 after overhauling Lucy Charles-Barclay. The Brit rounded out the podium to take $35,000, equalling her performance at the PTO US Open last year.
Emma Pallant-Browne (PTO World #10) ran strongly to follow up her World Duathlon Championship title earlier this week with fourth place and $15,000 while Findlay held strong and consistent for a fifth-place finish and $10,000.
2023 PTO Tour events are being broadcast live in a record 195 territories, reaching 425 million Households and being translated into 22 languages, thanks to deals with a range of international, regional and local broadcast deals, including DAZN, beIN Sports and SPOTV. It is also available on PTO+.
The next PTO Tour event will be the PTO US Open in Milwaukee on 4-5 August followed by the first PTO Asian Open in Singapore on 19-20 August.