Findlay Tops Haug For PTO Championship Crown

Paula Findlay of Canada defended her 2019 Challenge Daytona title and took the 2020 PTO Championship by a 2:36 margin over defending Ironman World Champion Anne Haug of Germany.

Findlay fought a fierce battle with 2012 Olympic silver medalist Lisa Norden of Sweden to arrive at T2 in a virtual tie. But Norden, who had been battling a leg injury, succumbed to a calf injury and dropped out after a few painful steps on the run.

Norden, who has been competing in UCI Cycling World Championships for Sweden, posted a women’s-best 1:51:13 bike split before withdrawing.

"I was so shocked," said Findlay. "In a field like this I thought maybe a top ten would be great. I felt really good all day. It was one of those perfect days that you don't get very often."

Findlay came out of the transition zone first, and Norden followed just a couple seconds later. Kona champion Haug, who appeared to be in position to erase a 3:47 deficit to Findlay at T2, but Haug incurred a 2 minute penalty for drafting on the 50-mile bike leg.

Haug gave it all she had with a women’s race-best 1:05:01 run split, but her 1:24 advantage over Findlay’s 11.2 mile run left the German 2:36 short of the win.

“I was even more motivated after the penalty," Haug told PTO Media after the race. "Paula had an amazing race, there was no chance to beat her today. I wanted to win here and everything you can hope for is putting your best performance out during the day and I really did.”

After swimming outside the top 10, Laura Philipp posted a women’s 7th-best 1:53:17 bike split to challenge for a podium, then her 3rd-best 1:07:24 run split advanced her to 2:27 behind Haug’s runner-up finish.

“I couldn’t believe I was able to make it to the top three," Phillip told PTO media. "I’m so proud of myself and I’m trying to soak everything up now, because this event is so special for me. I expected to have a big gap after the swim and tried to be patient since I know 80km on the bike can be tough. This was my first Middle Distance and now I know how much it can hurt.”

Holly Lawrence of Great Britain took 4th in 3:31:09. Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand finished 5th in 3:31:50 and Skye Moench took 6th place and top American with a 3:32:30 finish.

PTO Championship – Challenge Daytona
Daytona Beach, Florida
December 6, 2020
S 2k-1.2 mi. / B 80k - 50 mi. / R 18k – 11.2 mi.

Pro Women

1. Paula Findlay CAN 3:24:55 S 25:00 T1 1:29 B 1:51:13 T2 0:50 R 1:06:26 - $100,000
2. Anne Haug GER 3:27:33 +2:36 S 25:54 T1 1:22 B 1:54:26 T2 00:50 R 1:05:01 - $70,000
3. Laura Philipp GER +3:30:00 +5:05 S 26:54 T1 1:41 B 1:53:12 T2 0:52 R 1:07:24 - $50,000
4. Holly Lawrence 3:31:09 +6:14 S 27:54 T1 1:20 B 1:55:39 T2 00:48 T 1:08:27 - $35,000
5. Amelia Watkinson NZL +6:54 3:31:50 S 25:57 T1 1:21 B 1:55:06 T2 00:50 R 1:08:39 - $30,000
6. Skye Moench USA +7:34 3:32:30 S 26:03 T1 1:29 B 1:54:18 T2 00:57 R 1:09:44 - $25,000
7. Fenella Langridge GBR +8:47 3:33:42 S 24:54 T1 1:31 B 1:55:17 T2 00:52 R 1:11:11 -$23,000
8. Sara Svensk SWE +10:04 3:35:00 S 26:52 T1 1:40 B 1:54:10 T21:14 R 1:11:06 - $20,000
9. Elisabetta Curridori ITA +10:12 S 27:42 T1 1:43 B 1:56:32 T2 00:54 R 1:08:18 - $18,000
10. Nicola Spirig SUI +10:16 3:35:11 S 24:58 T1 1:30 B 1:59:37 T2 00:46 R 1:08:23 - $17,000.