The much-ballyhooed Collins Cup will take place Saturday at Samorin, Slovakia in an innovative format based on golf’s Ryder Cup. Competing for an advertised total of $1,500,000, elite teams of six men and six women representing the United States, Europe and Internationals will compete in head-to-head-to-head matchups. Each heat will commence every 10 minutes and will include a total of three competitors with one representative each from Teams U.S., Europe and Internationals. They will cover a course of slightly shorter than the standard 70.3 distance - 2 kilometers swim, 80 kilometers bike and 18 kilometers run.
The field is filled with headliners such as Team Europe’s 3-time Ironman World Champion and Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno, 4-time Ironman World Champion and 4-time 70.3 World Champion Daniela Ryf; and the Team United States’ 70.3 World Championship bronze medalist Rudy Von Berg, and 2019 World Triathlon World Champion and 2021 Olympic bronze medalist Katie Zaferes; and Team International’s Ironman World Championship silver medalist Lionel Sanders and multiple Ironman 70.3 winner Carrie Lester.
The Collins Cup will also feature all-star team captains. From Team United States - six-time Ironman World Champion Mark Allen and two–time Olympic distance World Champion and Ironman World Champion Karen Smyers; from Team Europe - two-time Ironman World Champion Normann Stadler and four-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington. From Team Internationals - Olympic gold and silver medalist Simon Whitfield and multiple Ironman winner Lisa Bentley.
Team captains in golf’s Ryder Cup have provided some of the best moments – such as Ben Crenshaw’s “I’ve got a feeling” moment the night before the U.S. team made a huge comeback. So, too, all Collins Cup captains will be miked so the live coverage will catch all strategy, tactical and interpersonal communications. Not to miss a celebrity beat, the Collins Cup chief commentator will be Tour de France legend Phil Liggett.
Like golf’s Ryder Cup matches, points will be awarded thusly – 3 points for a win, 2 points for a tie and 1 point for a loss. In addition, point bonuses will be awarded based on margins of victory – 1 and ½ points for a maximum winning margin of six minutes, 1 point for a margin of 4 or more minutes, and ½ point for a winning margin of 2 minutes.
This Professional Triathletes Organization promises a made for television host of features that will rival Super Bowl broadcast technical firepower. Collins Cup has guaranteed the best coverage ever seen in triathlon. That means at least 12 moto cameras – one for each race. Plus a helicopter cam and drone air coverage. The array of cameras will include jibs, Steadicams, pole-cams, buoy cams, and handhelds plus a Bolt-X robotic cameras for pre-race intros as well as in-race through transitions. The athletes will be equipped with wearable tech, giving instant biometric data of heart rate monitors and power meters.
On Wednesday, the Team Captains selected their individual race-match-ups by way of a draft mechanism. For Match number 1, US was first to designate am athlete, then Europe named an athlete and finally the Internationals named an athlete. For Match Number 2, Europe selected firsdt5, then the Internationals, then the US. For Match Number 3, the Internationals selected first, then the U.S. then Europe. The process was repeated until all 12 Race Matches were set.
Race Day Match Ups
The ranking listed below is from the PTO's system.
EUR Daniela Ryf Rank #1 INT Teresa Adam Rank #2 Team USA Taylor Knibb Rank# 90.
EUR Lucy Charles Barclay Rank #4 INT Paula Findlay Rank #6 USA Katie Zaferes (unranked)
EUR Anne Haug Rank #3 INT Jeanni Metzler Rank #11 USA Jackie Hering Rank #15
EUR Holly Lawrence Rank# 5 INT Ellie Salthouse Rank #16 USA Skye Moench Rank #10
EUR Emma Pallant-Browne Rank #7 INT Sarah Crowley Rank #13 USA Chelsea Sodaro Rank #22
EUR Katrina Matthews Rank #9 INT Carrie Lester Rank #8 USA Jocelyn McCauley Rank #41
EUR Jan Frodeno Rank #1 INT Samuel Appleton Rank #15 USA Sam Long Rank #4
EUR Gustav Iden Rank #3 INT Kyle Smith Rank #27 USA Colin Chartier (replacing Rudy Von Berg)
EUR Sebastian Kienle Rank #19 INT Lionel Sanders Rank #2 USA Andrew Starykowicz Rank #33
EUR Daniel Baekkegard Rank#10 INT Max Neumann Rank #17 USA Ben Kanute Rank #11
EUR Patrick Lange Rank# 7 Team INT Braden Currie Rank Rank #6 Team USA Matt Hanson Rank# 9
EUR Joe Skipper Rank #5 INT Jackson Laundry Rank #26 USA Justin Metzler Rank #54
In a year after time lost due to the height of the pandemic, and now filled with the Olympics and World Triathlon Championships, the Collins Cup assembled exciting and oft-honored fields of athletes. They are made up of triathletes who have qualified in a carefully created points system for the top four men and top four women for the Team U.S., Team Europe and Team Internationals. The teams have been filled out by Captains’ Picks. And the most radical were made by the U.S., which chose Olympic super stars Katie Zaferes (no races longer than Olympic distance) and Taylor Knibb (just one 70.3 race).
While the PTO rankings are carefully rated, they are heavily weighted to pandemic-slim recent pickings. Thus the following resumes include a wider career highlights:
To be frank, Team Europe has to be the odds-on favorite.
Team Europe Women are nearly invincible. Automatic picks via points include Daniela Ryf (four-time Ironman World Champion and Ironman 70.3 World Champion) fits like a glove for the 2k/80k/18k format. Anne Haug (2019 Ironman World Champion, 2nd place at the 2019 PTO Championship, and 3rd place at the 2018 Ironman Worlds), Lucy Charles-Barclay (several time Ironman World Championship silver medalist), and Holly Lawrence (2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and multiple 70.3 winner) are a formidable quartet. Captain’s Picks Emma Pallant-Browne and Kat Matthews are strong multiple 70.3 distance maestras.
Team Europe Men are super-strong. Jan Frodeno of Germany has an Olympic gold, three Ironman World Championships and two Ironman 70.3 World Championships – and holds the world best time for the Ironman distance (7:27:53). Fellow German Patrick Lange had two Ironman World Championships (2017,2018). Gustav Iden of Norway won the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Worlds and won the 2019 PTO Championship. Joe Skipper of Great Britain has won Ironman UK and Ironman Florida in record times. As a Captain’s Pick, Ironman World Championship and multiple Ironman 70.3 champion Sebastian Kienle of Germany is solid gold.
Although recent scratches have weakened Americans this writer’s second choice is Team United States Men Sadly, Rudy Von Berg is a late scratch due to a virus and will be replaced by Colin Chartier. Matt Hanson set a record for Ironman North America Championships at 7:39:25, grabbed silver at the 2020 PTO Championship and won the 2019 Ironman Boulder. After Chris Leiferman had to drop out due to injury, U.S. coaches Mark Allen and Karen Smyers chose Andrew Starykowicz, holder of several Ironman bike split records, to replace. Star on the rise, 25-year-old Sam Long (Age 25, 1st at 2021 Ironman 70.3 Boulder, 1st at 2021 Ironman Coeur d’Alene, 2nd at 2021 St. George 70.3, 1st at 2019 Ironman Chattanooga; Ben Kanute 2016 Olympian, 4x Escape From Alcatraz winner.
Team U.S. Women: This writer’s top two picks have the least 70.3 experience. Taylor Knibb, at age 23, is coming on strong with a win at the Olympic selection-crucial WTCS Yokohama 2nd place at the World Triathlon World Championship, part of the silver medal winning Olympic Mixed Relay team, and won her 70.3 debut at Boulder this summer. Knibb is THE strongest cyclist in World Triathlon races. Katie Zaferes is the 2019 World Triathlon World Champion, placed 3rd at the Olympics, and was part of the silver medal winning Mixed Relay team. While she is a multiple champion, she has no 70.3 experience and has no PTO rank. Heather Jackson is another unfortunate scratch. Skye Moench had a superb 2019 season with wins at Boulder 70.3 and Ironman Frankfurt. In 2020, she was 2nd at Ironman Florida and 6th at the PTO Championship. This year Jackie Hering was 3rd at Challenge Miami and Escape From Alcatraz and in 2019, she won Steelhead 70.3 and Waco 70.3.
Team International Men: To be truthful, with one significant exception, Team International Men is one of the weakest. Australian Sam Appleton’s top performances include a 2nd at 2019 St. George 70.3, 1st at 2019 Waco 70.3 and 2018, 1sts at Geelong 70.3 Santa Rose 70.3. and Los Cabos 70.3. This year Kyle Smith of New Zealand won the middle-distance Challenge Wanaka, and took 3rd at Ironman New Zealand. By far the strongest member of Team International Men is Lionel Sanders of Canada. Sanders is a 4-time Ironman champion and 30-time 70.3 winner. He won the 2017 ITU Long Distance World Champion and placed 2nd at the 2017 Ironman World Championship., This year Braden Currie of New Zealand won Ironman New Zealand and took 2nd at Challenge Wanaka. In 2019 he won Ironman Cairns.
Team International Women: Much more highly rated than the Team International Men. Teresa Adam of New Zealand is an PTO ranked Number 2nd and has several spectacular Ironman performances – 1st at 2020 Ironman New Zealand in 8:40:29, 1st at 2019 Ironman Western Australia in CR 8:38:42 and 1st at 2019 Ironman Cairns in coursed record 8:48:33. Paula Findlay of Canada has a PTO rank of #6, won the 2020 PTO Championship and took 2nd at the 2019 North American 70.3 Championship in St. George and won the same race in 2018. Ellie Salthouse of Australia has a PTO Worlds Rank of #16 and has won 15 Half Ironman distance races. Jeanni Metzler of South Africa is 11th in PTO Ranking and this year her best races are 2nd at St. George 70.3, Texas 70.3 and 3rd at Boulder 70.3. Sarah Crowley of Australia is strongest at the Ironman distance. In 2019 she won Ironman Arizona, placed 3rd at the Ironman World Championship, 2nd at Ironman Cairns, and in 2018 won Ironman Hamburg.
How to Watch
All times here – EDT Eastern Daylight
Streamed Live: THECOLLINSCUP.COM
Broadcast starts 6:30 AM EDT
Total race time 7:00 hours
Women’s first match starts 7:00 AM EDT
Men’s first match starts 9:00 AM EDT