Ashleigh Gentle Wins PTO Canadian Open

Saturday 23 July 2022

Edmonton, Alberta: Ashleigh Gentle wins the inaugural PTO Tour event with a stunning victory in Edmonton at the $1 million PTO Canadian Open.  

“I just had the most amazing day today. It hasn’t been the easiest two or three years and I’m just grateful for all of the people that kept believing in me. I’m really proud of myself,” said Gentle, who beat Canadian Paula Findlay into second place in front of her home crowd.  

Gentle went on to say “I didn’t start the sport of triathlon because of money but I have bills to pay, I’m an adult and the opportunity that the PTO has given us here is one I’m incredibly grateful for” having won the $100,000 USD first prize. 

How The Race Played Out

In the swim, Vittoria Lopes quickly found the front, creating a gap on the second pack including Sarah Perez Sala (PTO World #22), Lauren Brandon (PTO World #53), Julie Derron (World #48) and Ashleigh Gentle (PTO World #17). 

Continuing to push the swim hard, Lopes had a significant lead but accidentally cut one of the swim buoys meaning she incurred a 30 second penalty. Even so, the Brazilian had clear water behind her and headed onto the bike and out of transition in pole position after a 27:26 swim.

By the end of lap one on the bike, Paula Findlay (PTO World #10) had moved from 10th to second with Lopes in sight. Findlay, recent winner of the Canadian National Time Trial Championships, was soon leading and pushing hard to distance all competitors.

With 40km done, Findlay came through transition with a smile, her lead was 1:06 to Gentle, Ellie Salthouse (PTO World #23), Nicola Spirig (PTO World #15) and Lopes. Further back, PTO World #8 Emma Pallant-Browne, a pre-race favourite, was forced out of the race with a front flat tyre. Meanwhile, Jocelyn McCauley (PTO World #21) was riding alone 2:08 back with Laura Philipp (PTO World #3) at 2:40 behind Findlay.

By the end of lap three, Findlay was enjoying a lead of 1:34 to the same pack of chasers, McCauley and Philipp losing a few more seconds. As she returned to a cheering crowd at the end of the 80km bike course, the Canadian’s buffer was up to two minutes over Jocelyn McCauley, who bossed the bike to reach T2 in second.

Over the four-lap 18km run, Findlay held a strong pace but Ashleigh Gentle – in second by 1.3km – was the fastest mover on the course. While Findlay wasn’t slowing, Gentle was on a flyer catching Findlay around 7km in.

Behind, Laura Philipp was up into third place but looked to be working hard. Meanwhile Chelsea Sodaro (PTO World #20), 10th off the bike, was ripping through the field and came right up to Philipp’s shoulder by 14km in.

Gentle, looking imperious, continued to drive her advantage, coming home in 3:30:53 with a 1:03:17 run – the day’s fastest – to become the inaugural PTO Canadian Open Champion and claim the $100,000 first-place prize purse.

Feeding off the home crowd, Findlay finished second in 3:33:16, high-fiving the roaring fans to secure second place and take $70,000 – far more than the win in virtually any other race.

In the final 500m, Sodaro put her track-running background to great effect in breaking away from Philipp to take the final podium spot in 3:34:56 and a cheque for $50,000.

Philipp finished fourth to earn $40,000 while short-course star Julie Derron came fifth – throwing her hat in the ring for a Team Europe Captains’ Pick at the Collins Cup and taking away $35,000.

Remaining places and prize money 

6th – Holly Lawrence – $30,000
7th – Vittoria Lopes – $25,000
8th – Ellie Salthouse – $20,000
9th – Sophie Watts – $18,000
10th – Nicola Spirig – $16,000
11th – Jocelyn McCauley – $14,000
12th – Jackie Hering – $13,000
13th – Tamara Jewett – $12,000
14th – Skye Moench – $11,000
15th – Rach McBride – $10,000
16th – Pamella Oliveira – $9,000
17th – India Lee – $8,000
18th – Lotte Wilms – $7,000
19th – Nikki Bartlett – $6,000
20th – Luisa Baptista – $5,000
All other athletes – $2,000

P.T.O. (Photo: Ronan Mellows/PTO)


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