Team Europe, Team US and Team Internationals have announced their captains’ picks for The PTO’s flagship event, The Collins Cup, to go alongside the automatically qualified athletes.
The automatic qualifications were finalised after last weekend’s PTO Canadian Open, the first-ever PTO Tour event.
The Collins Cup starts on August 20.
PTO Tour Canadian Open - All the highlights from the Men's event
TEAM EUROPE’S CAPTAINS’ PICKS
Team Europe captains Normann Stadler and Natascha Badmann have made the following selections.
- Nicola Spirig (SWI)
- Holly Lawrence (GBR)
- Daniel Bækkegard (DEN)
- Sam Laidlow (FRA)
The above athletes will compete alongside automatically qualified Daniela Ryf (SWI), Anne Haug (GER), Laura Philipp (GER), Kat Matthews (GBR), Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), Gustav Iden (NOR), Patrick Lange (GER) and Magnus Ditlev (DEN).
Commenting on the selections, Stadler, returning champion European captain, said:
“It is always very difficult to choose the European captains’ picks as there are so many outstanding athletes. In Daniel Bækkegard, 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, 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.”
On the women’s side, captain Badmann, said:
“For the European Women, these picks were extremely difficult to make as there are so many outstanding athletes who deserve to race for Team Europe. 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 Nicola Spirig is a rookie for the Collins Cup, she is a seasoned veteran with an unprecedented career. Five-time Olympian and gold and silver 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 concluded their thoughts by commenting:
“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. As we experienced last year in the early part of the race when we fell behind, the Collins Cup raises the performance of all athletes as they race for their teams. Team Europe will take nothing for granted. We expect a tremendous battle but are confident Team Europe will once again reign as Collins Cup champions.”
TEAM US’ CAPTAINS’ PICKS
Team US Captains Julie Moss and Dave Scott have selected the following athletes as their picks.
- Sophie Watts
- Sarah True
- Jason West
- Ben Kanute
The above athletes will compete alongside the automatically qualified Taylor Knibb, Skye Moench, Chelsea Sodaro, Jackie Hering, Matt Hanson, Sam Long, Rudy Von Berg and Chris Leiferman.
Team co-captain Scott said:
“In selecting Watts, True, West and Kanute, we have added additional firepower to Team US. In Jason 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. Ben 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.”
Fellow team co-captain Moss added:
“It was a difficult decision selecting our captains’ picks as there were many deserving athletes. With Sophie Watts’ 2022 performances after an injury in 2021 all being the mid to high 80s, she has demonstrated not only consistency, but a fierce determination 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.”
Rounding out their comments on their picks, Moss and Scott concluded:
“It is 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 INTERNATIONALS' CAPTAINS’ PICKS
Team Internationals were the last team to announce their picks. Their captains - Erin Baker and Craig Alexander - picked the following athletes:
- Flora Duffy (BER)
- Hayden Wilde (NZL)
- Vittoria Lopes (BRA)
- Aaron Royle (AUS)
They will compete alongside their automatic qualifiers, Paula Findlay (CAN), Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), Tamara Jewett (CAN), Ellie Salthouse (AUS), Lionel Sanders (CAN), Braden Currie (NZL), Max Neumann (AUS) and Jackson Laundry (CAN).
Erin Baker, first-time Team Internationals captain, said: “Having Flora Duffy on Team Internationals will no doubt put some fear in the other teams. The reigning Olympic and Commonwealth gold medal winner 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.”
Craig Alexander added: “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 concluded: “With our captains’ picks joining an already solid team of automatic qualifiers, Team Internationals will be arriving at Samorin prepared for the battle.”
PTO Tour Canadian Open - All the highlights from the Men's event
- - -
The PTO Tour is exclusively live in 50 territories across Europe on Warner Bros. Discovery's linear channels - Eurosport 2 in the UK - and can also be streamed via discovery+, the Eurosport App and GCN+.
PTO Tour Canadian Open - All the highlights from the Women's event
Iden holds off Blummenfelt for Norway 1-2 at Canadian Open, Brownlee battles to 24th
Share this article