All three teams for the second-ever Collins Cup have now been announced and it’s a who’s who of triathlon sporting greats.
The Professional Triathlete’s Organisation (PTO)’s flagship event takes place on 20 August in Samorin, Slovakia, and will feature the world’s best athletes from across the sport. Here’s everything you need to know about who’s racing…
Who is racing for Team Europe?
Team Europe captains Normann Stadler and Natascha Badmann have picked the following athletes to join the automatic qualifiers for Team Europe: Nicola Spirig, Holly Lawrence, Daniel Bækkegård and Sam Laidlow.
“In Daniel Bækkegård, we have an experienced Collins Cup campaigner who knows the course and conditions well and had the third fastest time at last year’s Collins Cup. Daniel, as PTO World #7 in the world, is also the highest PTO ranked athlete to not automatically qualify for any team.
“Sam Laidlow’s tremendous performance at the PTO Canadian Open put on display that he is ready to compete with the best and join our Championship team. He will be the first athlete from France to participate in the Collins Cup.”
Badmann, noted: “As last year’s winner of the Julie Moss Award for the grittiest performance, Holly Lawrence demonstrated the true spirit of the Collins Cup and the determination of Team Europe.
With Team Europe unexpectedly behind, Lawrence fell on the bike costing her a massive amount of time. Bloodied and battered and robbed of her chance to win her match, she fought on the run and denied Team US and Team Internationals vital bonus points. Her performance is already part of the Collins Cup lore.”
“While Spirig is a rookie for the Collins Cup, she is a seasoned veteran with an unprecedented career. Five-time Olympian and gold and gilver medal winner, Nicola is one of the greatest women on the Olympic distance the sport has produced. It will be a joy to see her join Team Europe.”
Stadler and Badmann added: “While we sadly will miss our high point catchers Jan Frodeno and Lucy Charles-Barclay because of injury, adding Kristian Blummenfelt, Magus Ditlev and Laura Phillipp certainly demonstrates the depth and strength of Team Europe.
“We expect a tremendous battle but are confident Team Europe will once again reign as Collins Cup Champions.”
Team Europe athlete line-up
Kristian Blummenfelt, NOR
Gustav Iden, NOR
Patrick Lange, GER
Magnus Ditlev, DEN
Daniela Ryf, SUI
Anne Haug, GER
Laura Philipp, GER
Kat Matthews, GBR
Daniel Bækkegård, DEN
Sam Laidlow. FRA
Nicola Spirig, SUI
Holly Lawrence, GBR
Who is racing for Team USA?
Scott said: “In selecting Watts, True, West and Kanute, we have added additional firepower to Team US. In West we have an athlete who has broken out this year and begun to show his potential with a great performance in Chattanooga, where he scored 98 PTO World Ranking points.
“Kanute is a Collins Cup veteran, having the fourth fastest time at last year’s event. He understands the pressure that occurs once you don the stars and stripes, and we know he is a man prepared for the battle.”
Moss added: “Watts has demonstrated not only consistency, but a fierce determination and is well suited for being a part of Team US. Her strength on the run will make her a feared opponent at Šamorín.
“What can I say about Sarah True? Coming back from maternity leave and injury, she has had two races this year, and averaged 103 points. As a former Olympian, she has the speed, strength, and guts to challenge any athlete at The Collins Cup.”
Moss and Scott added: “It’s an honour for us to lead these fine athletes. Team US may be the underdogs, but in last year’s matches we shocked people when Team US took an early lead.
“With the strength of the team this year our goal is to build on last year and carry it all the way through to lift the Collins Cup trophy. It is never a good idea to underestimate athletes who fly the red, white and blue.”
Team USA athlete line-up
Rudy von Berg
Who is racing for Team Internationals?
Commenting on the women’s selections, Erin Baker said: “Having Flora Duffy on Team International will no doubt put some fear in the other Teams. The reigning Olympic and Commonwealth champion is a force to be reckoned with and we look forward to seeing her proudly wear the International’s green and yellow.
“Vittoria Lopes will be the first Brazilian athlete to be in the Collins Cup. Her tremendous performance at the PTO Canadian Open as well as her record in the World Triathlon series will make her perfectly suited for the fast and furious race pace we see at the Collins Cup.”
On the men’s side, Captain Craig Alexander, noted: “Like our women’s selections, we looked to load up with speed. An in-form Hayden Wilde has been on fire on the World Triathlon circuit and with his versatility, this will transfer well into middle distance.
“Aaron Royle did not let his last-minute entry into the PTO Canadian Open go to waste. His classy performance in a stacked field showed Erin and me that he is in great form and deserves a shot.”
Baker and Alexander added: “With our Captains’ Picks joining an already solid team of Automatic Qualifiers [including Lionel Sanders, Braden Currie, Paula Findlay and Ashleigh Gentle], Team International will be arriving at Samorin prepared for the battle.”
Team Internationals athlete line-up
Lionel Sanders, CAN
Braden Currie, NZL
Max Neumann, AUS
Jackson Laundry, CAN
Paula Findlay, CAN
Ashleigh Gentle, AUS
Tamara Jewett, CAN
Ellie Salthouse, AUS
Flora Duffy, BER
Hayden Wilde, NZL
Vittoria Lopes, BRA
Aaron Royle, AUS
How many athletes race the Collins Cup?
Three teams of 12 (6 men, 6 women) compete at the Collins Cup.
When and where will the Collins Cup take place?
The Collins Cup will take place on 20 August at the x-bionic® sphere in Bratislava, Slovakia.
How to watch the Collins Cup?
For viewers in Europe, The Collins Cup will be broadcast live exclusively on Eurosport.
For the rest of the world, fans can watch either via desktop or app on PTO+ or via a number of exclusive broadcasters. Highlights and full race replay as well as Collins Cup build-up content can be watched globally via desktop or app on PTO+.