The European racing season continues apace with pro-triathlon action at IM UK, IM Lanzarote, Outlaw Half Holkham and 70.3 Andorra.
There’s still time for race-hungry athletes to score big Collins Cup points and secure automatic qualification before the 9 August cut-off – or simply to show Collins Cup captains that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Ironman UK 2021 Race Preview
The first full-distance pro-M-dot race on British soil in three years, the 2021 edition of IM UK features a $100,000 prize purse and with it, some quality athletes.
Defending champ from 2018, Joe Skipper (Europe #4 / PTO World #10) will face tough competition from a strong male contingent while the women’s field is headed by Kat Matthews (Europe #5 / PTO World #11), who recently showed incredible form with second at IM Tulsa.
Date: 4 July 2021
Location: Bolton, UK
Time: 05:00 UTC
Prize Money: Prize Money: $100,000 – pays 10 deep $15,000 to $1,000
Course: Lake swim, hilly bike, hilly run
Joe Skipper (Europe #4 / PTO World #10) / Thomas Davis (PTO World #39) / Sam Laidlow (PTO World #42)
Joe Skipper (Europe #4 / PTO World #10) goes into the race as the top contender and will be looking to take his first victory of 2021 on home soil after a solid sixth place at IM Tulsa. Chasing on a tough bike course and running out of his skin is what he does best, so he’s bound to feature in the final standings.
Sam Laidlow (PTO World #42) is a star on the rise having taken victory at the PTO-supported 140.6Inn International Triathlon. The Anglo-Frenchman and has made public that it’s his mission to take down Skipper at the race – and with all-around swim-bike-run talent, he could do just that.
Thomas Davis (PTO World #39) had a tough time with mechanicals in his first iron-distance attempt at the 140.6Inn, but bounced back with the win at the PTO-support Eton Dorney Triathlon. Look for him to feature as a swim-bike duo with Laidlow.
Don’t count out Adam Bowden (PTO World #50), who’s bound to have learned a lot at his iron-distance debut in Tulsa – nor a proven performer like Tim Don (PTO World #100) to or the youthful talents of Elliot Smales (PTO World #82).
After setting the fifth-fastest IM run split of all time to come second to PTO World #1 Daniela Ryf at IM Tulsa in May, Katrina Matthews (Europe #5 / PTO World #10) is certainly a big name to watch in Bolton – with the swim now her only Achilles’ heel.
The Brit’s biggest competition is likely to be Imogen Simmonds (Europe #6 / PTO World #22), who will likely be ahead after the swim and who’s also shown fantastic form in 2021, most recently coming second at Challenge St Polten to Anne Haug (PTO World #3).
Nikki Bartlett (PTO World #32) has already shown great long-course form this year at the ultra-tough 140.6Inn International Triathlon where she came third. The Brit has also tasted the podium at IM UK after coming third in 2017 so has experience racing in Bolton that her other competitors lack.
Ironman Lanzarote 2021 Race Preview
Lanzarote has been on the M-dot calendar for nearly three decades and is known as one of – if not the – toughest race on the circuit. It could be even hotter this year with a move from May to July.
Matt Trautman (PTO World #34) is the top seed but will face tough competition from and Nick Kastelein (PTO World #40). Meanwhile, the top-ranked woman is Manon Genet (PTO World #35), who will be up against Laura Siddall (PTO World #63) and previous Lanzarote age-group winner turned pro, Simone Mitchell.
Date: 3 July 2021
Location: Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Time: 06:00 UTC
Prize Money: Prize Money: $50,000 – pays 8 deep $7,500 to $1,000
Course: Ocean swim, hilly bike, flat run
Matt Trautman (PTO World #34) / Pieter Heemeryck (PTO World #36) / Nick Kastelein (PTO World #40)
Manon Genet (PTO World #35) / Laura Siddall (PTO World #62) / Jenny Schulz (PTO World #77)
Matt Trautman (PTO World #36) has shown his talents on tough courses with the win at IM Wales in 2018 and the South African is no stranger to hot conditions, either. Trautman is also coming off a strong performance at the middle-distance Challenge Gdansk a couple of weeks ago, where he finished in second.
Like Nilsson, Nick Kastelein (PTO World #40) is another iron-distance focused athlete whose stellar swimming, solid biking and swift-running could keep him in the mix right to the line. The Girona-based Australian is used to heat and came third at Challenge Gran Canaria in April.
Other athletes to look out for include seasoned competitors Andi Boecherer (PTO World #62) and Nils Frommhold (PTO World #87) while Pieter Heemeryck (PTO World #36) is making his iron-distance debut in Lanzarote but has the talent to run away with victory.
Manon Genet (PTO World #35) is the highest-ranked athlete in Lanzarote and recently took the top spot at the PTO-supported TriGames Cagnes-Sur-Mer. Her last IM competition was in Wales in 2019 where she came second, proving her legs over an equally tough course to the one she’ll face in Lanzarote.
As an athlete coming back from injury, the rank of Laura Siddall (PTO World #63) doesn’t really reflect her true talent. The Brit didn’t race in 2020, but she has plenty of wins among her palmares including two victories in the heat at IM Australia.
While Simone Mitchell is currently outside the top 100, she only turned pro towards the end of 2019 when she came first at Ironman Wales. Mitchell is, however, a proven performer in Lanzarote having come second overall as an age-grouper in 2018 – so winning this year certainly isn’t out of the question.
Also look out for Jenny Schulz (PTO World #76), who’s had three top-five finishes at 70.3 Lanzarote and took fourth in 2019 at the full distance. We’ll also get to see Michelle Vesterby back in action, a previous IM Lanzarote winner who finished just behind Simone Mitchell in 2018.
Outlaw Half Holkham 2021 Race Preview
This PTO-supported event will see a strong, British-dominated field go head-to-head over the 70.3 distance.
Date: 4 July 2021
Location: Holkham Hall, Norfolk, UK
Time: 05:00 UTC
Prize Money: Prize Money: £12,000
Course: Lake swim, undulating bike, undulating run
With Lucy Charles-Barclay taking her name off the start list, the women’s race should see a fight between uber-biker Kimberley Morrison (PTO World #36) and Ruth Astle (PTO World #65) who came seventh and eighth respectively at IM Tulsa recently.
The only athlete in the PTO top 100 is Brit James Teagle (PTO World #83), recent winner of Challenge Gdansk, who showed the swim, bike and run splits of a champion in the making.
Ironman 70.3 Andorra 2021 Race Preview
The inaugural Ironman 70.3 Andorra offers athletes a chance to play in the Pyrenees and a selection of PTO-ranked athletes will be grabbing that opportunity this weekend.
Date: 4 July 2021
Time: 05:25 UTC
Prize Money: Prize Money: $30,000 – pays 8 deep $4,000 to $750
Course: Lake swim, hilly bike, flat run
Cam Wurf (PTO #37) will be showing off his WorldTour cycling legs on the bike and testing his running fitness after a tough marathon effort at the recent 140.6Inn International Triathlon. Portugal’s Filipe Azevedo (PTO World #38) is the only other athlete in the top 50 and he’s been on a good run of form with three top-three 70.3 results this season including fourth in Elsinore last weekend. Also look out for two-time Kona podium finisher David McNamee, who’s on the comeback trail following a period of burnout.
We’ll get our first opportunity to see Ellie Salthouse (Internationals #6 / PTO World #20) racing outside Oceania. The Aussie is just five points from automatic Collins Cup qualification so a dominating win here could see her join the Internationals team. A 70.3 specialist, Salthouse will be challenged by Judith Corachan Varquera (PTO World #30), Els Visser (PTO World #32) and Emma Bilham (PTO World #42).