Athletes Men › Panagiotis Bitados
Greece might not have a long and storied history in triathlon, but watch out for teenage sensation Panagiotis Bitados blazing a unique trail to the top – much of it on the trails. Unlike his Super League contemporaries, Bitados, who trains under the vastly experienced Australian coach Brett Sutton, has no experience of World Triathlon racing, but it hasn’t stopped him putting in a bunch of eye-catching performances during his fledgling career.
Bitados has made off-road triathlon a focus and progressed from finishing 37 th in the World Championship in Maui in 2019, to returning to racing post-pandemic with five consecutivepodiums and then a ninth place in XTERRA France the day after winning the new ‘short track’ event.Among the successes, in 2021 he became the first Greek triathlete to win an XTERRA elite title, achieving it in his homeland in Vouliagmeni. Showing it wasn’t a fluke, Bitados then regained the title six months later.
His versatility in riding the mountain bike and running cross-country are skills which we’ve seen – through the likes of Hayden Wilde and Flora Duffy – come in very useful when it comes to performing well in Super League. And perhaps even closer to Super League racing is the new XTERRA format of ‘short track’– a 200m swim, 2km mountain bike, and 1km trail run over three rounds which Bitados won in France in July. pushing him closer to being ranked in the world’s top 10 XTERRA triathletes.
A strong runner, he is the Greek national cross-country champion over 6km, but it’s not just the shorter distances where he shows promise. A breakthrough third place on middle distance debut in Challenge Walchsee in June, finishing just behind Germany’s Federic Funk and USA’s Sam Long, and beating strong triathletes such as Florian Angert suggests Bitados has a bright future in the sport. Bitados has since gone on to take the tape in a morale-boosting win at the lower profile Challenge Turku in Finland. The teenager will be hoping it’s the type of form that translates across to Super League as he tries to cause a few upsets.
Results posted shortly after the race may contain errors.
RR - Race Ready | TBD - To Be Determined | DNS - Did Not Start | DNF - Did Not Finish
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