John Levison provides the context and background to Argon 18 adding British long-distance triathlon stars Joe Skipper and Ruth Astle to their athlete roster in 2022.
The start of every year is typically the time that we see significant changes in the sponsorship landscape in most sports. Professional triathlon is no different in that regard.
With perhaps of the biggest season in the history of the sport ahead – two IRONMAN World Championship races, the introduction of the PTO Tour, Sub7/Sub8, the Arena Games World Championship Series – all joining the calendar (and fingers crossed that the impact of COVID will subside too), there’s a lot for brands and athletes to consider.
In recent news, we’ve seen the Brownlee brothers join BMC from SCOTT bikes, Taylor Knibb (and Sam Long) join Trek Factory Racing and Javier Gomez now riding Orbea bikes. And that’s just three interesting moves of many within the industry.
UK focus for Argon 18?
Canadian brand Argon 18, with their top-tier triathlon bike, the E-119 Tri+ Disc, would seemingly have eyes on increasing their exposure within the UK market given the recent additions of both Joe Skipper and Ruth Astle to their athlete roster.
In the US – though we don’t know if the decisions are related – Heather Jackson just last week thanked Argon 18 as their four-year partnership together came to a close. Sam Long had been riding Argon 18 too, prior to his Trek deal.
Both Skipper and Astle are renowned cyclists within the triathlon world, and both enter 2022 off the back of great results last year.
Joe Skipper – Man of IRON
Skipper took IRONMAN wins in the UK (Bolton) and Chattanooga, with further full-distance podiums in Lake Placid and Switzerland.
After thankfully surviving a ‘van meets bike’ incident in October, he’ll be racing in both IRONMAN World Championship races in 2022, but before that will be at the IRONMAN African Championship in South Africa too.
Joe was previously riding the Quintana Roo PRsix Disc – which we profiled in June 2021.
Breakthrough season for Astle
While Joe has been winning iron-distance races on an annual basis since 2017, Ruth Astle had a breakthrough season at the Pro level in 2021 by matching Joe with two wins.
A frequent racer and high-level performer through her age-group racing days, a calf niggle impacted the frequency of Ruth’s racing through the year. When she did manage to get that under control however, the results started to flow in the second half of the year.