The PTO Tour, the athlete part-owned circuit of the Professional Triathletes Association, has received a major boost after being recognised as the official World Championship of long-distance triathlon.
As part of a new agreement between the PTO and World Triathlon, the men’s and women’s winners of the PTO Tour season, whose competitors include England’s Alistair Brownlee and Lucy Charles-Barclay, will be able to call themselves world champions from next year.
PTO executive chairman Chris Kermode said: “When new formats and organisations emerge in sport, they often have the unintended impact of fragmenting the very sport they aim to promote.
“In contrast, by uniting together the professional athlete body of the PTO with the international federation of World Triathlon, this partnership has the opportunity to unite the sport under the common goal of growing triathlon – which is essential for the sport to become mainstream.”
The PTO Tour, backed by celebrated British investor Sir Michael Moritz, is currently in its second season and features a string of events across the globe.
The third and final races of this year are due to take place in Singapore this weekend and the calendar is expected to expand for 2024.
Two-time Olympic champion Brownlee helped to shape the PTO Tour as one of its athlete board members and remains an influential voice in the sport.
“I want to see more people watching top level long distance triathlon, being inspired by seeing the top athletes racing,” he said.
“It’s crucial that the PTO Tour succeeds and I’m convinced that the PTO Tour’s success is triathlon’s success.
“It’s tough to create something new but ultimately it will benefit every triathlete, so having the PTO join forces with World Triathlon to also add important support services and work more closely together keeps things moving in the right direction.”
World Triathlon President, Marisol Casado, said: “This collaboration signifies a powerful alliance that underscores our shared commitment to elevating the sport of triathlon to new heights.
“By joining forces, we harness the collective passion, expertise and dedication of both organizations to drive positive change and innovation within the triathlon community.”