What is the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO)?
The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) is a not-for-profit entity that supports the body and protects the interests of professional triathletes around the world. The PTO aims to become a professional representative body for triathlon and is modelled on the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) which was founded in the 1920s and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) which was formed in the 1970s.
How is the Professional Triathletes Organisation funded?
In January 2020, The Professional Triathletes Organisation announced a partnership with Crankstart Investments, the investment foundation of British venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz KBE. The Crankstart Foundation also notably sponsors The Booker Prize. As a result of this investment, the PTO announced its inaugural event: The Collins Cup. The Collins Cup will be held 29-30th May 2020 at the x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia, and there will be over $2,000,000 in prize money for the event.
Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, commented “The Collins Cup will be a true celebration of both the history and the future of the sport we love so much, and we look forward to hosting the event and engaging the entire triathlon community.”
Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, stated that “The PTO has been working for a number of years to create an environment and structure where professional triathletes have a meaningful voice in the way the sport is operated and can contribute to its growth for the benefit of the entire triathlon community.”
Under its partnership, the PTO and Crankstart Investments share equally in all profits generated by operations. Michael Moritz, Chairman of Crankstart Investments, commented “The spread of the internet, the rise in the number of media outlets thirsty for top-notch sporting content, combined with the latest production techniques now make it possible to bring to international audiences the extraordinary accomplishments of today’s highest performing athletes – the top forty male and female triathletes in the world. A major part of the attraction of the PTO is that, unlike every other sport, men and women compete for equal prize money and the athletes are co-owners of the business.”
What are the PTO World Rankings?
The PTO World Rankings is a first-of-its-kind ranking technology to measure the world’s greatest half and full distance professional triathletes. It is a worldwide benchmark of consistent excellence in triathlon, and will be used to determine the automatic qualifying places for The Collins Cup.
The PTO World Rankings has a proprietary formula that does not favour any particular series of races or geographical area, but instead measures talent and achievement based on the results of an athlete no matter where and when they choose to race.
The PTO in association with TRiRating.com, has analysed each race course to determine the theoretical Ideal Time that the top ranked athlete would likely achieve. Using proprietary algorithms, this Ideal Time is then adjusted based on the conditions of the race day to determine the Adjusted Ideal Time (AIT). An athlete’s PTO World Ranking points for his or her race will then be based on their race time set against the Adjusted Ideal Time.
If an athlete equals the AIT for any eligible race, they receive 100 world ranking points. If an athlete is faster than the AIT, they are awarded an additional point or fraction of a point for each 0.15% by which they beat the AIT. If they are slower than the Adjusted Ideal Time, they will lose an additional point or fraction of a point for every 0.15% slower.
Athletes are ranked based on the aggregate number of world ranking points they have earned for their four best races over a 24-month period preceding the date of calculation. There is a 5% bonus for an athlete’s best full distance race and a 10% deduction for points earned for a race that falls outside the most recent 12 months preceding the date of calculation.
What is The Collins Cup?
The Collins Cup is modelled after The Ryder Cup in golf and was originally announced back in 2017 to be part of Challenge Roth 2018, a huge annual feature in the triathlon calendar. The inaugural event was pushed back and is now announced to take place in May 2020.
The Collins Cup was inspired by and named after Judy and John Collins, who 40 years ago were instrumental in establishing the sport of triathlon by inaugurating a long distance event on the idyllic shores of Hawaii, where they were stationed while John was a Commander in the US Navy. Inspired by their recent experience in short distance triathlon in California, they designed a long distance, around-the-island event in Hawaii, by adding a long bicycle leg to existing swimming and running events. The winner was to be considered the best all-round athlete. This was also the inspiration for Ironman Triathlon.
Since then, both male and female triathletes have established themselves as some of the fittest athletes on the planet. From its earliest days, the competition has included men and women racing the same distance, over the same course, on the same day for equal prize money. This has always been an important principle of the Collins’ and the cornerstone of the philosophy of the Professional Triathletes Organisation.
How The Collins Cup works
There are three teams: USA, Europe, and Internationals.
Each team has six men and six women athletes. Of the six, four are selected based on the PTO World Rankings. The remaining two are selected by the team captains. The Team Captains are Mark Allen and Karen Smyers for the US, Normann Stadler and Chrissie Wellington for Europe, and Craig Alexander, Simon Whitfield, Erin Baker and Lisa Bentley for the Internationals.
An athlete from each team will fight it out against their opponents in an individual race of three athletes. There are twelve separate races in all, staggered ten minutes apart. For each of the twelve races, the winner is awarded 3 points, second place is awarded 2 points and third place is awarded 1 point.
In addition, athletes will be awarded bonus points of ½ point for every two minute margin by which they beat their opponents in their respective races. A maximum of six minutes margin per race can earn a team a crucial 1½ bonus points.
The team with the most points wins and will lift The Collins Cup.