A step-up from December’s Challenge Daytona, this event will doll out a whopping $1.5million prize purse for appearance fees to the professional teams racing. This bounty will set a new record in triathlon racing history, despite being $500,000 less than the original pledge, PTO magnanimously announcing that they are using a quarter of the purse to “support local races as well as the PTO Professionals who do not qualify to participate in The Collins Cup.” Like the original event, the race will take place at the x-bionic sphere in Šamorín, Slovakia’s official Olympic training centre. This has previously been the location of global triathlon events such as Challenge family’s ‘The Championship’.
The unique regional-team structure of the race is explained by PTO CEO, Sam Renouf as “The format of USA vs Europe vs Internationals will add a whole new level of competition and pure excitement for triathlon. By adopting a proven format like the Ryder Cup with its nationalistic intensity and having a points system that creates drama throughout the race”. Inspired by golf’s Ryder Cup, which sees competitors grouped together into these three geographical groups, teams will comprise of 12 pro triathletes with an even gender split. In terms of team allocation, the PTO has announced that the first eight of each team will automatically gain their place by means of their current PTO world ranking, with the remaining athletes being selected by the PTO board with input from each team’s captains. Current top of the PTO rankings are decorated athletes, Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf and Germany’s Jan Frodeno.
The race itself will be a middle-distance non-drafting format (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run). Each team will put forward one athlete to race against each other in a three-person ‘matchplay’ battle, this will be the case for each team member; battling their own three-person individual race, these 12 races will be staggered 10 minutes apart. Think of it as multiple races within a race. The points following from the races will decide on the overall scoring and winners. Top athletes racing include the likes of GB’s Alastair Brownlee and Lucy Charles-Barclay, as well as Daytona champions Gustav Iden and Paula Findlay.
The innovative Collins Cup is inspired by Judy and John Collins, who were instrumental in establishing the sport of ironman triathlon in Hawaii 40 years ago. The PTO is a non-profit organisation that focusses on supporting athletes and offering equal opportunities across gender and nationality.