Daniela Ryf looking to sign off triathlon career in style

Daniela Ryf looking to sign off triathlon career in style

By Paul Eddison

Daniela Ryf intends to sign off on a high when she calls time on a triathlon career that ranks among the very best in the history of the sport.

The Swiss triathlete this week announced that 2024 would be her final year as a professional, bringing down the curtain on a career which saw her crowned IRONMAN world champion five times between 2015 and 2021.

Now 36, Ryf has decided the time is right to step away from the sport, but not before a busy final year, which kicks off this week at the rebranded T100 World Tour.

She will compete in the eight-race series which will crown the official world champion of long-distance triathlon, with races comprising of a 2km swim, an 80km bike ride and an 18km run.

The first event is in Miami and with her impending retirement announcement now public, Ryf is excited to make the most of her final year.

She said: "I feel it is quite motivating because I want to really soak it up and take the best out of it. I want to enjoy the moments knowing there is an end coming soon. It was quite a difficult decision, I could have kept going forever but I also wanted to finish strong.

"I feel like my body is not really improving that much anymore. This year, I was really keen to do these races with the tour and measure myself one more time against the best. I’m also really looking forward to a bit of an easier life and easier training, not with three hard sessions a day. I still love what I do and there are mixed feelings but there is a relief that it is out there.

"I still feel sessions where I’ve still got it and feel really good. But then I get super sore and my back hurts me a lot. The goal is to win one of the T100 races, if it’s enough for the tour, I have no idea. If I can win one, that would be really cool, that is the goal and what I am working for.

"It does feel like I made the right call, even if I did wonder if it was too early. I have one more year with full focus. It’s a nice way to say goodbye to fans all over the world. I won’t disappear totally from the sport and I still want to motivate people to be active in something I love doing."

It is fitting that Ryf will be part of the revamped World Tour, one of long-distance triathlon’s all-time greats leading the way as the sport is transformed.

The T100 features 40 contracted pro athletes (20 women and 20 men), meaning that Ryf will face off against some of her biggest rivals more regularly, including Britain's 2023 IRONMAN world champion Lucy Charles-Barclay.

And that chance to build rivalries and create a narrative clearly appeals to Ryf.

She added: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the athletes now and I believe it has huge potential. To watch the best against each other at all the races is something that we haven’t had.

"I’ve found out that I’ve raced Lucy four times in the last five years, so this brings the best together for all the races. It makes it better to watch and people can follow the athletes more easily. I really wanted to be part of it in my final year to have the opportunity to experience it.

"Maybe in ten years, I can say I was there at the start."