Paula Findlay wins the PTO 2020 Championship with a complete swim, bike, run performance to prove herself the best in Daytona once again.

The PTO 2020 Championship women’s race proved to be just as exciting and dynamic as hoped with plenty of action from the cannon blast at the start of the swim to Canada’s Paula Findlay crossing the line first to be crowned the first-ever PTO Champion.

The swim

As predicted, Lucy Hall (GBR) led the swim with Lauren Brandon (USA) holding her feet for most of the first lap. By the Australian Exit at 1km, the Brit dived back into the water with a handful of seconds on the American, who was just a body’s length ahead of a pack led by Fenella Langridge (GBR).

Anne Haug PTO 2020 Championship Swim
Anne Haug came out the water in 14th place, 1:38 behind leader Lucy Hall. (Photo: PTO)

That second group also contained Lisa Norden (SWE) and pre-race favourite Holly Lawrence (GBR), who was 13 seconds down on Hall with double Olympic medallist Nicola Spirig (SUI) and defending Challenge Daytona Champion Paula Findlay (CAN) for company.

During the second lap, the pace seemed to be felt throughout the field with Hall and Brandon pulling further away across Lake Lloyd. By the end of the 2km swim, Hall dashed from the water with an eight-second buffer to Branden, Langridge another 30 seconds back and Lawrence leading the next group another 10 seconds behind.

The bike

After a swift transition, Hall headed out onto the speedway and managed to keep her lead for the first 23km before a fast-moving Findlay – seventh at the start of the bike – overtook on lap six. Lisa Norden (SWE) was the other big mover early on, quickly moving up to second behind the Canadian.

While the race started to settle down at the front, those behind in the swim began to come through with Ironman World Champion Anne Haug (GER), Amelia Watkinson (NZL) and Laura Philipp (GER) all starting to move up. Meanwhile the fastest biker on the course was Kimberly Morrison (GBR), who started 2:45 down but was powering through the field.

Paula Findlay Bike PTO 2020 Championship
Paula Findlay rode away from the field with Lisa Norden to take a big lead onto the run. (Photo: PTO)

At the head of the race, Norden was really upping the watts, moving into first with Findlay sticking closely behind to take their lead to Hall past 90 seconds. Morrison also kept pushing to make time, edging her way into a podium place by lap 16.

Findlay and Norden swapped the lead a few times in the last couple of laps with Norden overtaking one last time just before transition to cross the dismount line in first place.

The run

Between Findlay and Norden, the Canadian defending champion certainly looked the more fluid off the bike, a fast transition putting her into the lead at the start of the run. Morrison came into T2 third, 2:06 back, with Hall fourth, 3:02 behind. Pamella Oliveira (BRA) was another 30 seconds back followed by Brandon.

Laura Phillip Run PTO 2020 Championship
Laura Philipp showed her bike-run class to take the third spot overall. (Photo: PTO)

Meanwhile, Haug was up to seventh, 4:01 down, but with news that she would have a two-minute drafting penalty to serve – the first of her career. This meant 120 seconds readying herself for the chase while other athletes slipped past. As soon as the race official let Haug go, she set off at what looked like a flat-out sprint.

Up ahead, Findlay looked fast and composed, quickly extending her lead with 6:05 mile pace. Lawrence and Philipp were also running fast up the order. Soon Haug ran past a walking Norden, who’d come into the race with an injury and left it in tears.

Check out the women’s race finish!

At that point, Morrison and Phillip were set to take up steps two and three on the podium, Findlay long gone with a four-minute lead. As the Canadian’s advantage continued to increase, Philipp took second as Morrison slipped back.

Soon enough, Philipp’s compatriot Haug was on her heels having overtaken the rest of the field. Whether a grin or a grimace, Philipp acknowledged Haug’s approach, but couldn’t keep with the speed after the pass mid-way through lap two. That just left Findlay out front and the German running out of road to make the catch.

In the end, it was a comfortable win for the defending Challenge Daytona champion, one representative of her impressive swim, sensational bike and utterly controlled run. Emotions pouring out as she hit the red carpet with over three minutes’ advantage to Haug, Findlay took the tape to be crowned the first-ever PTO Champion in a time of 3:24:55.

Paula Findlay Winning 2020 PTO Championship
Findlay’s complete performance showed she was the best on the day. (Photo: PTO)

Haug came in 2:36 later, enough of a deficit to ensure the penalty didn’t affect the overall standings. Philipp crossed the line 5:05 behind Findlay to round out the podium and prove she’s world-class performer.

Behind them, Lawrence was best of the rest, finishing in 3:31:09 ahead of Amelia Watkinson in fifth.

PTO 2020 Championship Women’s Race Results

PositionNameCountrySwimBikeRunFinishPrize Money
1Paula FindlayCAN00:25:0101:51:1301:06:2503:24:55US$ 100,000
2Anne HaugGER00:25:5501:54:2601:05:0103:27:32US$ 70,000
3Laura PhilippGER00:26:5501:53:1101:07:2303:30:00US$ 50,000
4Holly LawrenceGBR00:24:5801:55:3801:08:2603:31:09US$ 35,000
5Amelia WatkinsonNZL00:25:5701:55:0601:08:3803:31:50US$ 30,000
6Skye MoenchUSA00:26:0401:54:1801:09:4403:32:30US$ 25,000
7Fenella LangridgeGBR00:24:5401:55:1701:11:1003:33:42US$ 23,000
8Sara SvenskSWE00:26:5201:54:1001:11:0603:35:00US$ 20,000
9Elisabetta CurridoriITA00:27:4301:56:3201:08:1703:35:07US$ 18,000
10Nicola SpirigSUI00:24:5901:59:4201:08:2303:35:11US$ 17,000
11Alissa DoehlaUSA00:26:1001:58:3501:07:3303:35:17US$ 15,000
12Emma PallantGBR00:25:5901:57:0101:09:5103:35:47US$ 13,000
13Kimberley MorrisonGBR00:26:5301:51:2401:15:5503:36:31US$ 11,000
14Manon GenetFRA00:27:1501:56:5401:10:0103:36:35US$ 10,000
15Jodie StimpsonGBR00:24:5902:00:3901:08:4803:36:38US$ 9,000
16Nikki BartlettGBR00:27:4701:54:1401:12:4703:37:14US$ 8,000
17Jeanni SeymourRSA00:25:0001:58:4301:11:1803:37:23US$ 7,000
18India LeeGBR00:25:2901:56:1501:13:4903:37:58US$ 6,000
19Jackie HeringUSA00:26:4901:55:5801:12:5103:38:19US$ 5,000
20Heather JacksonUSA00:29:1101:55:5101:11:3503:38:41US$ 4,000
21Judith Corachan VaqueraESP00:26:1401:57:2001:12:4403:38:46US$ 2,500
22Lesley SmithUSA00:27:2102:02:1601:06:3903:39:20US$ 2,500
23Carrie LesterAUS00:26:0301:55:3801:14:3703:39:42US$ 2,500
24Sarah CrowleyAUS00:26:0201:56:5701:14:5603:40:33US$ 2,500
25Emma BilhamSUI00:26:2401:59:0201:12:5003:41:00US$ 2,500
26Pamella OliveiraBRA00:25:0301:54:4001:19:0203:41:05US$ 2,500
27Lauren BrandonUSA00:24:2401:55:3201:18:4903:41:17US$ 2,500
28Lucy HallGBR00:24:1601:55:0701:20:4503:42:18US$ 2,500
29Danielle LewisUSA00:32:2001:55:1901:13:1303:43:08US$ 2,500
30Gurutze Frades LarraldeESP00:31:1001:59:0601:10:1703:43:28US$ 2,500
31Renee KileyAUS00:29:1201:54:2101:17:5803:44:40US$ 2,500
32Rach McBrideCAN00:27:4301:56:5201:17:2603:44:58US$ 2,500
33Amelie KretzCAN00:25:2502:01:5201:16:3703:46:07US$ 2,500
34Lisa BecharasUSA00:27:4701:57:1401:19:0003:46:52US$ 2,500
35Jennifer SpieldennerUSA00:25:2302:01:0201:19:1303:48:12US$ 2,500
36Michelle VesterbyDEN00:26:5501:58:5201:19:5903:48:47US$ 2,500
37Kelsey WithrowUSA00:25:5602:00:2401:19:3703:48:47US$ 2,500
38Agnieszka JerzykPOL00:26:5702:04:1501:17:5003:51:24US$ 2,500
39Kristin LiepoldGER00:35:2202:08:2301:09:2003:57:24US$ 2,500
40Angela NaethCAN00:30:5701:59:4201:24:5603:58:21US$ 2,500

Related: What Is The PTO?

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