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August 25, 2021

Team Europe Guide: The Collins Cup

Team Europe is looking strong for the Collins Cup – here is the full line-up of women and men line-up who’ll be up against Team US and Team Internationals on 28 August.

With both the men’s and women’s PTO World #1 athletes in Daniela Ryf and Jan Frodeno, Team Europe have been favourites for the Collins Cup for some time. But there’s more to the team than these two contenders for greatest-of-all-time status.

The incredible strength-in-depth across long-course triathlon in Europe is staggering with all but one of Team Europe’s athletes ranked within the PTO top-10. Great Britain is the most well-represented with five athletes, then there are four from Germany and one each from Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.

There aren’t any weak links in terms of athletic prowess – just a few question marks around how the iron-distance specialists such as Kat Matthews, Joe Skipper and Patrick Lange could fare against the best middle-distance maestros from Team US and Team Internationals.

Captains: Natascha Badmann, Normann Stadler

Team Europe Women

  1. Daniela Ryf (PTO #1)
  2. Anne Haug (PTO #3)
  3. Lucy Charles-Barclay (PTO #4)
  4. Holly Lawrence (PTO #5)
  5. Emma Pallant-Browne (PTO #7)
  6. Kat Matthews (PTO #9)

It was no surprise that Daniela Ryf retained her PTO #1 spot throughout the qualifying period to lead Team Europe’s women incredible list of women. The nine-time world champ has continually raised the game of long-course triathlon to leave others playing catch-up. The Swiss star has continued her dominance in 2021, taking four-from-four victories.

Like Ryf, Anne Haug is also a Kona winner having taken victory in 2019. The German is a good swimmer and strong biker, but it’s Haug’s run that strikes fear into the competition. She’s still getting quicker, too, beasting Challenge St Polten earlier this year with a 1:14:07 run split – the fastest ever at a middle-distance race.

Lucy Charles-Barclay is the sport’s preeminent swimmer at any distance but she’s also proved her bike and run class time and again – including her 70.3 European Championship win in Elsinore this June. The Brit has also raced well in Samorin previously having won Challenge Samorin in 2019.

2016 70.3 world champ Holly Lawrence is a true all-rounder who can out-swim, out-bike and out-run the majority of the pro field. The Brit comes into the Collins Cup having already beaten some of the other teams’ athletes at 70.3 Des Moines this year. She also came second at the 70.3 European champs this year.

Captains’ pick Emma-Pallant Browne might not match the uber-swimmers for speed, but she certainly makes up for it in cycling power and foot speed. Seemingly able to bridge gaps on the bike with ease then run away from the rest, the Brit has topped the podium at four of her six races this year – and taken second and third at the others.

Kat Matthews is the fourth Brit in Team Europe and comes to the race in rising form, most recently winning Ironman UK and before that coming second to Daniel Ryf at IM Tulsa. It was there that she ran a 2:49:48 marathon, the fastest of any woman in the last five years.

Team Europe Men

  1. Jan Frodeno (PTO #1)
  2. Gustav Iden (PTO #3)
  3. Joe Skipper (PTO #5)
  4. Patrick Lange (PTO #7)
  5. Daniel Baekkegard (PTO #10)
  6. Sebastian Kienle (PTO #19)

The men’s side of the team is no less decorated. PTO #1 Jan Frodeno leads the charge. The five-time world champion is rightly regarded as the sport’s best and hasn’t lost a race since 2017. On top of that, he’s just set a new iron-distance world record of 7:27:53 showing the German’s not slowing down.

Norway’s Gustav Iden comes to the Collins Cup as reigning 70.3 World Champion and PTO 2020 World Champion having won Challenge Daytona in spectacular fashion last December. An eighth at the Olympic Games since then will only have improved his middle-distance form.

Joe Skipper is a thoroughbred racing monster with the confidence and attitude to match. He’s likely to lose time in the swim, but the Brit is holder of the fastest ever Ironman bike-run combo. More an iron-distance specialist. Skipper won Ironman UK earlier this year with a colossal run effort of 2:41:44 on a very challenging course.

Two-time Kona winner Patrick Lange is known as one of the fastest iron-distance runners ever but his exceptional performance to win Ironman Tulsa in May shows he really is a complete athlete. With a great swim, much-improved bike and staggering run, the German will be a fearsome matchup if he can translate that speed to middle-distance.

Daniel Baekkegard must’ve been an easy pick for the Team Europe Captains, being one of the athletes that everyone is talking about in 2021. After kicking off the season with the win at 70.3 Dubai, he raced 70.3 St. George where despite a confusing DQ, the Dane showed his all-around swim-bike-run class in a championship-quality field. The grit he showed to hang tough and come third at IM Tulsa must only have made Baekkegard a more appealing choice for Team Europe.

Sebastian Kienle is the biggest surprise pick from the Team Europe Captains – not because of his considerable resumé, which includes two 70.3 world titles, a Kona win and the course record at Challenge Samorin – but because of the injuries that have seen him at less than 100 percent this season. He’s not raced since May so this pick from captains Natascha Badmann and Normann Stadler surely means the German is back to his best – and that’s a frightening prospect for the other teams.

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