The Collins Cup is finally here! Here’s our full race preview including the final matchups in all 12 races.
After years of anticipation, the Collins Cup – the PTO‘s flagship event – has come to fruition. Following the Match Draw at the event’s opening ceremony, we now know which athletes will go head-to-head in all 12 match races.
So will Team Europe be invincible? Will Team US come out fighting? Or will Team Internationals show the rest how it’s done? Read on to find out how each match race might play out.
How To Watch The Collins Cup
The Collins Cup will be broadcast around the world. Coverage in 20 languages will be available throughout Europe through Eurosport and Discovery+ while many other national broadcasters will also be covering the event.
For a full list of broadcasters by region, check out the Collins Cup Broadcast Information page.
Collins Cup Match #1
- Team Europe – Daniela Ryf (PTO #1)
- Team US – Taylor Knibb
- Team Internationals – Teresa Adam (PTO #2)
Team Europe Captains Natascha Badmann and Normann Stadler made a bold choice for the first race, picking all-time great Daniela Ryf and forcing the others to respond.
Team Internationals Captains Lisa Bentley and Simon Whitfield did just that, picking world #2 Teresa Adam to go up against Ryf.
For Team US, Captains Karen Smyers and Mark Allen chose short-course specialist Taylor Knibb who could really shake things up.
Knibb should out-swim Ryf and Adam and has shown herself to be an absolute weapon on the bike – both in World Triathlon races and at 70.3 Boulder. But there’s bike strength and there’s Ryf! If the Swiss athlete makes the catch before T2 it’ll be a fascinating run – particularly if Adam can hold onto Ryf during the bike to make it a three-up dash to the finish.
- Team Europe – Lucy Charles-Barclay (PTO #4)
- Team US – Katie Zaferes
- Team Internationals – Paula Findlay (PTO #6)
Lucy Charles-Barclay has already out-swum Katie Zaferes at WTCS Leeds earlier this season so she’s likely to have a gap out the water – but it might not be the huge lead she’s accustomed to. While she’s unproven at this distance, double Olympic medallist Zaferes is a quality athlete through and through. If she can work with Findlay on the bike to catch Charles-Barclay, the win should be Zaferes for the taking. That’ll leave Findlay to have another close battle with the British athlete to see who can clinch second.
- Team Europe – Anne Haug (PTO #3)
- Team US – Jackie Hering (PTO #15)
- Team Internationals – Jeanni Metzler (PTO #11)
With three of the sport’s best runners, match #3 should have some close racing. Jeanni Metzler should be first out the water and ultimately the match outcome could be down to whether the South African can hold a gap to Hering and Haug on two wheels. She’ll probably need at least a minute to foil the chase from Haug while the form book would put Hering in third place.
- Team Europe – Holly Lawrence (PTO #5)
- Team US – Skye Moench (PTO #10)
- Team Internationals – Ellie Salthouse (PTO #16)
Match #4 could be a real battle between three strong competitors. Lawrence and Ellie Salthouse are very well matched – the latter calling out the Brit for hurling abuse at her during the 2019 70.3 world champs. That pair should outswim Moench, but the American is an axe on the bike and beat Lawrence at 70.3 St George so it’s all to play for in a real ‘ain’t over til it’s over’ situation.
- Team Europe – Emma Pallant-Browne (PTO #7)
- Team US – Chelsea Sodaro (PTO #22)
- Team Internationals – Sarah Crowley (PTO #13)
With Emma Pallant-Browne having the goods to outswim, outbike and outrun Chelsea Sodaro and Sarah Crowley, this should be an easy win for Team Europe – and maybe a chance for bonus points. Meanwhile, the fight between Sodaro and Crowley could be close – the new mum going up against the Aussie who’s reportedly back to her best fitness.
- Team Europe – Kat Matthews (PTO #9)
- Team US – Jocelyn McCauley (PTO #41)
- Team Internationals – Carrie Lester (PTO #8)
The Ironman specialists come out to play in match #6 and these are three of the best. Kat Matthews put in a stellar 2:49 run at Ironman Tulsa – the fastest of the last five years. Meanwhile Lester crushed Ironman Coeur d’Alene and Jocelyn McCauley – another returning mother – went sub-nine at Ironman Finland. All that’s to say it’s going to be close. However, at this shorter distance, the win has to go to Matthews’ run speed with Lester and McCauley too close to call.
- Team Europe – Jan Frodeno (PTO #1)
- Team US – Sam Long (PTO #4)
- Team Internationals – Sam Appleton (PTO #15)
As in the women’s matches, Team Europe brought out the big guns with Jan Frodeno – probably the greatest male triathlete in history. Team US have pitted young-gun Sam Long against the German and while he’ll be out the back in the swim, he’s such a strong bike-runner that the catch could come before the finish. At the other end of the spectrum, Sam Appleton is an exceptional swimmer and a very strong biker himself. This is one match where we could see all three athletes spread out only to come back together on the run. On the form book, it has to be Frodeno for the win with Long second and Appleton third.
- Team Europe – Gustav Iden (PTO #3)
- Team US – Collin Chartier (PTO #52)
- Team Internationals – Kyle Smith (PTO #27)
Match #8 has the young guns battling it out. Gustav Iden was 2019 70.3 world champ and PTO 2020 Champion from Challenge Daytona and is odds-on for the win here. But Kyle Smith is a serious contender who races from the front and will be out the water first. Chartier – who replaces an ill Rudy Von Berg – is no slouch either with two 70.3 podiums this season including a 1:10 half marathon. If either Smith or Chartier find themselves at the front by T2, they’ll have to work extremely hard to keep the Norwegian from coming through for the win.
- Team Europe – Sebastian Kienle (PTO #19)
- Team US – Andrew Starykowicz (PTO #33)
- Team Internationals – Lionel Sanders (PTO #2)
The uber bikers go head-to-head-to-head in match #9 and with Andrew Starykowicz being the faster swimmer, Team US should take an early lead. The American could hold that right to T2 but Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle will close fast on the run. In previous duels, Sanders has got the better of Kienle – twice at Challenge Samorin. However, the Canadian raced Ironman Copenhagen last weekend which is likely to dent his speed. That said, Sanders is all grit so could just out-suffer Kienle to take the win.
- Team Europe – Daniel Baekkegard (PTO #10)
- Team US – Ben Kanute (PTO #11)
- Team Internationals – Max Neumann (PTO #17)
With similar swim, bike and run strength across the board, match #10 should be a real spectacle. Daniel Baekkegard has been a name on everyone’s lips this season since his incredible 3:33 finish at 70.3 Dubai. Max Neumann might only have raced down under in 2021 but his 1:10 half marathon run at Challenge Shepparton shows he’s the match of the Danish athlete. Ben Kanute just won the tough Escape From Alcatraz race for the fourth time in a row and given his superb sprint finish, the American could steal the win towards the line here.
- Team Europe – Patrick Lange (PTO #7)
- Team US – Matt Hanson (PTO #9)
- Team Internationals – Braden Currie (PTO #6)
Two-time Kona winner Lange is the sport’s best iron-distance runner, Matt Hanson is the sport’s best middle-distance runner and Braden Currie sits somewhere in between. Currie could outswim Lange and, by a larger margin, Hanson in a bid for solo victory. If that’s the case, it’ll leave Hanson a serious chase but if he gets off the bike within a minute or so of the others, he has the speed to run them down for the win.
- Team Europe – Joe Skipper (PTO #5)
- Team US – Justin Metzler (PTO #54)
- Team Internationals – Jackson Laundry (PTO #26)
While Joe Skipper is ranked far above Jackson Laundry and Justin Metzler, this shorter format might not suit his iron-distance strengths. Metzler and Laundry should be well matched over the swim-bike with Metzler leading from the water. If the pair can create a big enough lead, even Skipper’s bike-run prowess might not be able to make it up by the end of the run.