Bishop backing innovative PTO tour to provide more career stability

Bishop, 31, will compete in the inaugural Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) European Open in Ibiza on Saturday morning
Bishop, 31, will compete in the inaugural Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) European Open in Ibiza on Saturday morning

By Will Jennings in Ibiza

Tom Bishop says a radical recent shake-up in the world of triathlon has alleviated his financial concerns and injected new life into his career.

The Leeds-based star, 31, will compete in the inaugural Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) European Open in Ibiza on Saturday morning.

The PTO is an organisation bidding to catapult the visibility of triathlon to new heights by implementing a more consistent, high-profile and lucrative calendar throughout the year.

Bishop, who finished seventh in the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series, booked his place in this weekend’s Balearic battle quicker than planned and will now take to the start-line alongside Olympic champions Alistair Brownlee, Jan Frodeno and Tokyo gold medallist Kristian Blummenfelt.

And he said: “This year, my aim was to get myself solidly ranked in these races, turn up, earn a living, stabilise and consolidate where I’m ranked.

“Hopefully the PTO is able to expand even more, and if the attention is there from the broadcasters, they can continue to put events out and more and more people can follow and watch.

“That’s what I hope – increased exposure, which will help me stabilise and pay my rent.

“At the moment, I want to be solid enough to be in big races consistently without having to try and worry.

“It definitely makes it more sustainable for us athletes – they’re really putting it out to the media and everyone’s getting behind it more.

“I’m really excited – getting into these PTO races was one of the goals for the end of this year, but to do it at the start was really cool.

“It’s cool and brings so much media attention to it, which is great for our sport.

“It’s great for the sport – Ibiza is a famous location for partying and holidays but it’s wicked they’ve put on a triathlon here.

“The PTO really want to pump lots of attention and money into it so people want to talk about it.

“They’re really trying to big it up and make it a better spectacle.”

Bishop competed on the Gold Coast for Team England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games but has endured an inconsistent few years on the globetrotting triathlon circuit.

But he’s been training hard over the winter and will now duel it out with two-time Olympic champion Brownlee, who clinched gold in London and Rio, German giant Frodeno, who grabbed Beijing glory in 2008, and PTO world No.1 Blumenfelt on Saturday morning.

Australian ace Cameron Wurf, who competed for the Ineos Grenadiers in last month’s iconic Paris-Roubaix, and German Justus Nieschlag, who secured an impressive triumph in March’s Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, will also feature in the hotly-anticipated Ibiza showdown.

Bishop is relishing the prospect of racing against three modern greats and hopes the experience can lay the foundations for a profitable few years on tour.

He added: “Racing all three of them will be really cool, seeing what sort of duels they put on together.

“I’m feeling good – it’s been a decent five-week block and training’s going well.

“It’s been a 10 out of 10 winter because I actually managed to get into this race – I wouldn’t say I’m in perfect shape as I still have more to give, but I’ve done the best I can in the time period I had.

“I want to hopefully start to target the World Championships and eventually, podiums here.”

The PTO European Open races take place on Saturday 6 May, with the men starting at 0815 CET and the women at 0945 CET. Both will be broadcast live on Eurosport 2 from 0800 CET