Lucy Charles-Barclay hoping for Ibiza triathlon podium springboard
Lucy Charles-Barclay vowed to use her battling bronze medal on her return to competitive triathlon as a platform for progression this season.
The 29-year-old from Hertfordshire, finished third in the inaugural Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) European Open in Ibiza this weekend.
In her hotly-anticipated first race of the year, Charles-Barclay led for considerable periods of the innovative 100km Balearic battle.
But after racing from the front throughout heading into the final transition, the 2021 Ironman 70.3 world champion ran out of steam on the 18km run and was overtaken by German veteran Anne Haug.
The 40-year-old grabbed gold ahead of Australian Ashleigh Gentle, who also leapfrogged Charles-Barclay midway through the scenic six-lap route around Ibiza Town, while fellow Brit Emma Pallant-Browne finished fourth.
Charles-Barclay does not regret her front-running tactics and wants to use the experience as a springboard for climbing higher up the podium this summer.
She said: “It’s good to be able to make the podium in the first race of the season. Now, I just need to try and put it all together and hopefully move up the podium another spot or two.
“I know how Anna can run and she’s run past me before in races, so when I knew she was behind me it wasn’t ideal. I just knew I had to do my own thing and hold her off.
“I love to race from the front – it’s how I race and I love to get the other girls chasing and putting them under pressure. I definitely did that today – it’s still only the first race of the season, it’s very early days and I know where I need to go away and work.
“I’ve had a good block of work and there’s a lot more to come. I think I want to be at all the PTO races this year – it’s where it’s at so I’m super excited to do that. I want to go away, work and hopefully go one or two places better on the podium next time.”
Charles-Barclay opened up a sizeable advantage on the 2km swim before continuing to set the pace during the 80km cycle around the idyllic island.
But she knew she was facing a battle when embarking on the final leg with Haug, the 2019 Ironman world champion, lurking ominously behind.
The evergreen German hit the accelerator at the perfect time to breeze past Charles-Barclay and complete a comfortable triumph.
Haug said: “The race was absolutely amazing – I had a decent swim and I was in a really great position for my run.
“I didn’t know how strong the others were but I trusted my own pace and I felt like I was flying – it felt absolutely amazing. To be on top of such a stellar field is absolutely amazing for me.”
The PTO is an innovative recent start-up bidding to enhance the profile of triathlon through implementing a more consistent calendar across the world each year.
The Saturday showdown in the Spanish sun marked the first of four races scheduled for 2023, with two further events confirmed in both Singapore and Milwaukee.
Both Charles-Barclay and Haug hailed the organisation for the trailblazing work and hope they can fire the visibility of the sport to new heights going forward.
Charles-Barclay said: “It’s amazing what the PTO are doing and putting on these races. All the best athletes are coming and you have to put on your best performance to even get anywhere near the podium.
“I think it’s incredible for our sport, it’s inspiring for the next generation and I’m just so excited to be in the mix and doing this sport right now.”
And Haug added: “The PTO is absolutely amazing by putting these races on. They’re getting the best in the world together on the start line.
“It inspires younger athletes to see what a great sport triathlon is – it really helps to have races like this.”
The PTO European Open races took place on Saturday 6 May, with the men starting at 0815 CET and the women at 0945 CET. Both were broadcast live on Eurosport 2