The first-ever PTO Collins Cup team triathlon race will take place on 28 August 2021 at the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.
With a record-setting prize purse of $1.5m and a unique format of US, European and International athletes going head to head in teams, the PTO is setting out the Collins Cup as its signature event.
“The PTO’s mission is to celebrate the sport of triathlon, support the triathlon community and ultimately see this wonderful sport grow and thrive,” says PTO co-president and former pro athlete Rachel Joyce.”
“The Collins Cup is going to see legendary team captains lead today’s very best triathletes in a battle to see which region dominates the sport of triathlon,” Joyce continues. “It promises to be a riveting competition and moreover, the Collins Cup is going to be a platform for professionals and fans alike to celebrate our sport.”
Originally set for a date in May, the move to 28 August will put the Collins Cup just three weeks before the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, so it’ll be interesting to see which athletes prioritise being part of triathlon history at the Collins Cup before backing up for the 70.3 worlds in St. George, Utah on 17-18 September.
It will also give more content for the Beyond Human documentary that the PTO has recently teased.
While the prize purse has dropped by $500,000 from the figure the PTO originally announced, this money is instead going to support local races around the world. This continues the PTO’s stellar work in supporting up-and-coming athletes with the opportunity to earn prize money despite international travel restrictions.
Another reason for moving the date to August is to give athletes more time to qualify and prepare for the Collins Cup amid the ongoing uncertainty of the global pandemic.
“2021 continues to be a challenging environment for hosting international sport,” says PTO CEO Sam Renouf. “While we have proven the ability to deliver a COVID-19 safe and compliant event with the PTO 2020 Championship at Challenge Daytona last year, this date change will ensure athletes have a greater opportunity to prepare for Collins Cup qualification.”
Teams and Captains
Four women and men on each 12-athlete team will earn their places through the PTO World Rankings system. An additional two men and women for each team will be picked by the PTO’s non-athlete board members with advice from the team’s captains.
And what team captains they are! Each group of world-class athletes will be led by true giants of the sport – names whose palmares and contribution to the history of the triathlon are beyond repute.
For Europe, the team captains will be Germany’s Normann Stadler and Britain’s Chrissie Wellington – two- and four-time Kona winners respectively. Wellington also holds the current women’s world record for the iron-distance of 8:18:13.
The USA team will be captained by Mark Allen and Karen Smyers – the former a six-time Kona champion and the latter one of the most impressive triathletes of all time over every distance.
Picking athletes from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the Internationals team has four captains. Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander (AUS) is a three-time Hawaii winner while Simon Whitfield (CAN) has Olympic gold and silver medals to his name. Erin Baker (NZL) is a two-time Kona champion while Lisa Bentley (CAN) is an 11-time Ironman winner.
“The format of USA vs Europe vs Internationals will add a whole new level of competition and pure excitement for triathlon,” says Renouf. “By adopting a proven format like the Ryder Cup with its nationalistic intensity and having a points system that creates drama throughout the race, the Collins Cup is designed to be a compelling live TV event that appeals not only to the fans of endurance sports, but also to the general sports enthusiast.”