With the race season in full swing and under 70 days to the Collins Cup, there’s plenty going on in the world of pro triathlon. The Zwift Tri Battle Royale will see two of the sport’s greats – Jan Frodeno and Lionel Sanders go to war in Germany in what’s sure to be a speed fest. Speaking of fast, the PTO is also partnering with the Pho3nix Sub7 Sub8 record attempt.
We’ve also had stellar performances in Des Moines and Gdansk with Holly Lawrence back to her dominant best and some new names to look out for. Plus, we’ve got a Collins Cup round-up including an update on Eurosport coverage and the latest sitrep on the teams.
Frodeno Versus Sanders – It’s On!
Despite the title sponsor, this is a real-life race with Sanders flying to Germany to go toe-to-toe with Frodeno over an iron-distance course in Allgäu. All regular race rules will be in force while a closed course will mean it’s as fair a competition as possible.
“I have the highest respect for Lionel and the idea of racing him motivates me to get up every day and continue to improve; take myself to the next level,” said Frodeno. “He is the rising star of our sport, but I am not willing to step down just yet.”
Sanders was equally respectful of his rival: “I don’t think anyone has as much experience as I do in mano-a-mano type racing. So to get the opportunity to showcase my biggest strength against the best guy in the world is truly an opportunity I cannot pass up. A victory over Jan would likely be the highlight of my entire career.”
Just as tantalising as the prospect of these titans duking it out is the fact there will be live coverage to accompany it! Check out the Zwift Tri Battle Royale website for more.
Lawrence Back On Top Of The Podium
Fellow Brit Emma-Pallant-Browne (Europe #6) pushed Lawrence hard with a stunning 1:16:54 run split, but the 2016 world champ stayed strong to complete her wire-to-wire victory and reaffirm herself as one of the world’s best.
That status will certainly be tested this weekend as Lawrence flies to Europe for the 70.3 European Championship in Elsinore, Denmark – this time taking on Europe and PTO World #1 Daniel Ryf and Lucy Charles-Barclay (Europe #3 / PTO World #4).
Names To Watch After Gdansk And Des Moines
Rising long-course star Sarissa De Vries (PTO World #43) continued her impressive 2021 season with a victory at Challenge Gdansk last weekend. It’s another result that marks the Frenchwoman as one to watch following her win at Challenge Riccione last month and second at Challenge Gran Canaria in April.
De Vries isn’t the only up-and-coming name who topped the podium last weekend, either – the men’s race in Gdansk was won by the UK’s James Teagle who only turned pro in 2019 and ran the day’s fastest split of 1:12:59. Meanwhile the USA’s Jason West was first across the line in Des Moines with a scorching 1:09:35 half marathon.
Collins Cup Countdown Continues
With less than seven weeks to go until the qualification cut-off for the inaugural Collins Cup, the battle to make the Europe, USA and Internationals teams is getting ever more heated.
Indeed, some of 2021’s biggest performers are yet to make it into the top-four that guarantees a spot. For Europe, athletes such as Katrina Matthews, Emma Pallant-Browne, Imogen Simmonds, Daniel Baekkegard and Magnus Ditlev are all scrambling for a big performance to tip the rankings in their favour.
Meanwhile, for the USA women things are flipped the other way. The impending return of Jocelyn McCauley, Chelsea Sodaro and Sarah Piampiano – all high-scoring athletes – could drop all but USA #1 Skye Moench for auto qualification. That means Heather Jackson, Jackie Hering and Sophie Watts all need to step up their Collins Cup campaigns!
For Team Internationals, things are nail-bitingly close. There are four women less than 10 points out of the automatic qualifying zone while the fifth-to-tenth ranked men are just five points behind. While Teresa Adam, Paula Findlay and Lionel Sanders look like certs for the Collins Cup, everyone else will be looking for a big result lest they sacrifice the chance to race in Samorin this August.
The good news for those seeking points is that there are plenty of qualification races remaining on the path to the Collins Cup.
PTO Teams With Pho3nix Sub7 Sub8 Project
The Pho3nix Foundation will team with the PTO on the Sub7 Sub8 Project, which will see four PTO-ranked athletes aim to set a new iron-distance world record in 2022.
PTO World #2 Alistair Brownlee and PTO World #9 Kristian Blummenfelt will be seeking to go under seven hours while PTO World #4 Lucy Charles-Barclay and PTO World #30 Nicola Spirig will try to crack eight hours.
Much like Nike’s Breaking2 attempt, the Sub7 Sub8 athletes will be able to call on a team of 10 pacers throughout the event, which is designed to test the limits of human endurance, inspire young people into sport and put triathletes into the global limelight.
“Along with adding depth to the opportunities for the top echelon of athletes who give up so much to compete on this level, it will also drive engagement among younger people,” said Pho3nix Foundation board member and two-time Kona champ Chris McCormack. “It’s what gets them into sport, seeing and aspiring to be like these great athletes.”
Collins Cup To Air On Discovery And Eurosport With Phil Liggett At The Helm
The Collins Cup is shaping up to be an extraordinary race and you’ll be able to catch it live and on-demand on Eurosport in 20 languages – with commentary legend Phil Liggett leading the English broadcast.
In Europe, the coverage will be exclusive to Eurosport, which is part of Discovery. As well as the live show, there will be extra programming to get you in the mood across Eurosport 1, 2, the Eurosport App and Discovery+. This includes the upcoming Beyond Human feature documentary, which follows Lionel Sanders, Heather Jackson and Sebastian Kienle as they battle to get to the Collins Cup start line. There will also be two countdown shows as well as the Captains’ Draft show where the all-important matchups will be selected.
Meanwhile, the seven-hour live race will feature ‘The Voice of Cycling’ Phil Liggett as lead anchor. Backed by a seven-strong team of presenters, Liggett will bring over 40 years of endurance sport storytelling to the Collins Cup, making the race come alive for all audiences no matter their prior triathlon knowledge.
It’s all getting very exciting, so make sure you’re all setup with your Eurosport account well before 28 August!