Brownlee relishing PTO battle with Blummenfelt and Frodeno in Ibiza

Alistair Brownlee believes a Balearic battle with two former fellow Olympic champions can catapult the profile of triathlon to new heights.

The two-time gold medallist from London and Rio, 34, will descend on Ibiza at the beginning of next month to compete in the inaugural Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) European Open.

Brownlee helps form a star-studded line-up in the Spanish sun alongside reigning Tokyo champion Kristian Blummenfelt and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Jan Frodeno, who is widely considered the greatest triathlete of all-time.

The 100km race – 2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run – will be the first time the decorated trio have competed against each other as the PTO looks to revolutionise awareness and drive further visibility of the sport.

Brownlee hailed the PTO for their trailblazing exploits and insists the May 6 showpiece will be one of the key priorities on his globetrotting triathlon calendar.

He said: “It’s a fantastic sport that hasn’t really had great media coverage or great ways for fans to engage in it.

“The PTO is attempting to change that, commercialise it and put on events for professional triathletes around the world.

“The PTO is a fantastic project – but I still think there’s a long way triathlon can go in terms of commercialising the sport, providing exposure and earning opportunities for elite athletes.

“There are great stories to be told and great athletes to follow and there needs to be a format to do that.

“And I think the PTO is doing this and pushing up every other organisation’s game around it.

“As someone who’s passionate about triathlon, you want your sport to be successful. You want to increase the awareness of it. You want people to have the same pleasure and joy that you get from it.

“The way to do that is to make more people aware of it. So, having a format that is really designed to drive awareness and engage fans, and increase interest in the sport.

“My focus is on winning the biggest long distance races around which is the Ironman World Championships and, I think now, the PTO races.”

Speaking on social media, three-time Ironman world champion Frodeno, 41, added: “Ah man – it’s on [race with Kristian Blummenfelt].

“It actually gives me goosebumps.”

Norwegian world No.1 Blummenfelt, 29, said: “Having missed out on winning a PTO Open last year, that is something I definitely want to add to my resume.

“Finally this match up [with Jan Frodeno] is on.”

The PTO European Open will be set against Ibiza’s idyllic Balearic backdrop and co-hosted alongside the 2023 World Triathlon Multisport Championships.

Kristian Blummenfelt competing at PTO Canadian Open

Australian ace Cameron Wurf, who competed for the Ineos Grenadiers in last month’s iconic Paris-Roubaix, and German Justus Nieschlag, who secured an impressive triumph in March’s Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, also feature as wildcard entries in the men’s race.

And in the women’s event, wildcards Amelia Watkinson, Sif Madsen, Anne Reischmann and Els Visser will feature alongside the likes of British star Lucy Charles-Barclay, Ashleigh Gentle, Paula Findlay and Daniela Ryf.

Sam Renouf, CEO of the PTO, said: “The purpose of wildcard selections is to ensure we get the highest quality race fields and that athletes of proven stature and standing in our sport, who may have missed out in the rankings due to injury or absence, get the opportunity to compete.

“As well as give opportunities to newcomers, who have shown exciting potential but have not yet done enough to make it through the rankings.

“There have been a lot of column inches and social posts about Jan’s return to racing this year and this match up with Kristian and Alistair, so it’s great to finally confirm it and be able to look forward to what we all hope will be fantastic day of racing in the inaugural PTO European Open.”

The PTO European Open races take place on Saturday 6 May, with the men starting at 0815 CET and the women at 0945 CET. Both will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2 from 0800 CET

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