Nicola Spirig competes at inaugural PTO world championships in Daytona
Triathlon Olympic champion Nicola Spirig will participate in the inaugural "Challenge Daytona" on December 6. The American Triathlon Federation and the "Professional Triathlon Organization" (PTO) are jointly organizing this world championship on the renown Daytona race track in Florida.
After a year, in which the international triathlon calendar was heavily impacted by the Corona pandemic, Nico Nicola Spirig is pleased that the newly founded PTO and the American Triathlon Association have joined forced in order to organize three days of competitions at Daytona. "I am excited to participate in the very first PTO world championships and appreciate their support in the lead up to the event. The PTO supports the participants regarding safety precautions and travel, so that a small Swiss contingent will be able to fly Florida together in order to race.”
The focus at these world championships will be on the middle distances, with a 2 km swim, an 80 km cycling course on the flat and fast Daytona race track and 18 km run at the end. The championships will see many of the world's best athletes across all distances (Ironman, Half Ironman and the Olympic distance) participate. For Spirig, who, like all athletes competing in the Olympic distance, received a wildcard, the “Challenge Daytona” represents a welcome opportunity to focus on a short-term goal, providing a bit of extra motivation during the high-quality training sessions of the past few weeks. "My coach Brett Sutton is always building in mid-distance races in preparation for the Olympic Games, most recently in Israel in January". For the six-time European champion, the race is a good fit as she eyes her fifth Olympic Games next summer. "I am satisfied with the current state of preparation and look forward to the race in Daytona." However, the mother of three also acknowledges that neither the longer distance nor the flat, fast track are a perfect match based on her current training regimen. Hence, Spirig is not expecting a victory, but hopes to be able to draw valuable information for her next training block.
The prize money at the “Challenge Daytona” is 1.1 million US dollars, half of which will be awarded to the women’s category. The World championship will take place at the 500-hectare "Daytona International Speedway" motorsport complex. It is best known for hosting the "Daytona 500", a marquee NASCAR series car race, which is held annually in front of over 100,000 spectators.