2021 CLASH Daytona Pro Preview

If you're a little confused about CLASH Daytona, it's OK. It’s a little complicated.

Last year the event was backed by the Professional Triathletes Organization because their planned marquee event, the Collins Cup, was postponed for a year because of the pandemic. Determined to keep their athletes afloat, they decided offer up the $1 million planned for the Collins Cup to fund its PTO Championship, hosted at Challenge Daytona.

Challenge Daytona is now CLASH Daytona after the Challenge North America brand broke off from Challenge Family to form its own organization. Now, Challenge North America is no more. In its place, the organizers behind the Challenge Daytona and Miami races are creating a new endurance sports brand, CLASH. The new brand will be expanding its racetrack-style events to four sites in 2022 and adding three more in 2023.

Last year Gustav Iden of Norway and Paula Findlay of Canada won the final race at Daytona. Set as a multi-lap race on the world-famous Daytona International Speedway, the race turned into a high-speed human-powered contest. Cold temperatures for the 2-kilometer swim in an infield lake, followed by an 80-kilometer, 20-lap super velodrome style bike leg – no turns and all time-trial speed fest. It finished on silky smooth asphalt on a four-lap 18-kilometer run.

With the sunshine start and well-lit final stages, the race was covered by hi-res cameras and quick interviews inside the transition zones and livestreamed the whole way.

The marquee players at CLASH Daytona will be Olympic gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway – who also won the World Triathlon World Championship and debuted at the iron-distance with a stunning 7:21 in Cozumel. While he will not battle with last year’s champion and Norse countryman Gustav Iden, he will duel two-time World Triathlon Champion Vincent Luis of France. Leading the women will be newly crowned Ironman 70.3 World Champion Lucy Charles-Barclay of Great Britain, challenged by 2019 Ironman World Champion Anne Haug of Germany.

The women pros will start at noon Eastern Standard Time and the men will launch at 1:30 PM Eastern Standard Time and will be livestreamed on Facebook.


Jackie Hering, United States
Was 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Memphis and 3rd at Escape from Alcatraz.

Jodie Stimpson, Great Britain
After a long stretch as a World Triathlon contender, Stimpson has gone well at the Middle Distances with a win at 2021 Challenge Miami and a 2nd at the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Bahrain.

Meredith Kessler, United States
Kessler, the perennial 70.3 contender, has struggled more in the last season and a half. However, it would be a mistake to count her out of the running.

Hannah Wells, New Zealand
Hannah Wells just keeps on getting better. In 2021 she won Ironman New Zealand, the Challenge Wanaka Half, took 2nd at Port of Tauranga Half, and 3rd at Sunshine Coast 70.3. In 2020 she won Geelong 70.3 and Port of Tauranga Half. In 2019 she won five 70.3 and half distance races.

Lucy Hall, Great Britain
Renowned as “The Mermaid,” Hall was one of the fastest ITU Olympic distance competitors and competed in the 2012 Olympics. In a transition to long course, in 2021 Hall won Challenge Samorin, Ironman 70.3 Gydnia and Challenge Budva and took 2nd at Challenge Gdansk and placed 5th at Ironman 70.3 Portugal.

Rachel McBride, Canada
A three-time 70.3 winner who set 8 bike split course records. In 2017 she placed 6th at ITU Long Distance Worlds and in 2016 took 3rd at ITU Long Distance Worlds. They also have two Masters degrees including Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Lesley Smith, United States
Last year she placed second at Cozumel 70.3, and Ironman 70.3 Florida. In 2019 she was 2nd at Boulder 70.3 and Ironman Boulder and Ironman 70.3 Texas.

India Lee, Great Britain
Long time ITU Olympic distance competitor, transitioned to half distance two years ago. Last year she placed 2nd at Challenge Riccione and took 3rds at Lanzarote 70.3 and Nice 70.3. In 2019, she won Finland 70.3 and Weymouth 70.3.

Laura Siddall, GBR
Last year she took 2nds at Challenge Roth and Ironman Lanzarote. In 2019 Siddall won Ironman Australia and 3rd places at Ironman Wales and Challenge Capetown. In 2018, she won Ironman New Zealand and Ironman Australia.


Kristian Blummenfelt, Norway
After dominating the 2021 season with Olympic gold, World Triathlon Olympic Distance Season World Championship and Grand Final winner, and setting a World Best in his Ironman debut in Cozumel, what was left for Blummenfelt? Well, another win against a top flight field would cap off one of the greatest seasons in triathlon history.

Magnus Ditlev, Denmark
The newcomer from Denmark is coming on strong. After a 6th at 2019 Challenge Daytona, he took 3rd at St. George 70.3, 7th at the 2021 70.3 Worlds, and in 2021 he won Challenge Montenegro 70.3 and Cascais 70.3.

Andrew Starykowicz, United States
Starky’s last stretch off good results came in 2019: 3rd at Ironman Texas, 1st at Steelhead 70.3, 2nd at Waco 70.3 and 3rd at Ironman Florida. The American überbiker will be quite at home on Daytona’s superspeedway.

Rodolphe Von Berg, United States
While Von Berg resume is crowned by a bronze at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, he has amassed a lot of excellent recent performances: starred at the 2019 Samorin Championships, 4th at St. George 70.3, 2nd at Les Sables 70.3, and a win at Switzerland 70.3.

Matt Hanson, United States
Although Hanson has several Ironman and 70.3 wins, his second place at Challenge Daytona last December made the biggest splash for the biggest cash payoff. Other notable performances were a 2nd at 2020 Ironman Florida, and a win at 2020 Ironman

Ben Kanute, United States
Won 4 Escapes from Alcatraz, 2nd at Texas 70.3, 1st 2019 St. Anthony’s, 4th 2018 Ironman 70.3 Worlds, 2nd at 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

Bart Aernouts, Belgium
Aernouts's career best results include 2nd at the 2018 Ironman World Championship, a win at 2017 Challenge Roth and 1st at 2020 Dubai 70.3.

Collin Chartier, United States
Chartier’s 2021 bests include 1st at Challenge Salou, 2nd at Challenge Mallorca and Des Moines 70.3, and 3rd at Boulder 70.3. In 2019 he won Cartagena 70.3.