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The slugfest in Slovakia, the smackdown in Samorin—or, more simply put, the Ryder Cup of triathlon. However you want to define the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) inaugural flagship event, The Collins Cup, two things are for certain: it’s novel in its match-play concept and it’s a must-watch for triathlon fans.
This weekend, 36 of the world’s finest triathletes will be competing head-to-head to answer, in the PTO’s own words: Who rules triathlon?
How can you watch the Collins Cup? The answer is simple: Right here, with Outside Watch! See the Collins Cup livestream below, which will air here starting at 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday and stream for the full seven hours of the event. (Before then, it’ll air the opening ceremony and draft picks.)
But first: A little background on the Collins Cup. Want the short version? Here: What is the Collins Cup
Where did the Collins Cup come from, anyway?
While he doesn’t like to admit it, the Collins Cup is the brainchild of PTO chairman Charles Adamo, a latecomer to the triathlon world who wanted to see elite long-course racers rewarded for their efforts. More importantly, Adamo helped secure the investment from billionaire venture capitalist Mike Moritz to make this happen.
The Collins Cup concept is built on rivalries, the idea that Europe, the U.S., and rest of the world (ie. the Internationals) can foster regional pride and get one over on the opposition—and that triathletes will want to watch. The challenge is it has none of the Ryder Cup’s near-century of tradition behind it, and it’s taken a while to get off the ground. First conceived of five years ago and originally penciled in for Roth, Germany, the Collins Cup has finally found a home at the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, a purpose-built sporting mecca in Slovakia.
The Collins Cup format
Each team—the U.S., Europe, and the Internationals—is made up of six women and six men. There are then 12 head-to-head-to-head match-up races, with one triathlete from each of the teams competing over a 100-kilometer course (2K swim, 80K bike, 18K run) in and around the x-bionic sphere. Yes, that is the slightly-shorter-than-a-half 100K distance: the PTO is trying to make it a thing.
The winner of each match scores three points for their team, the runner-up gets two points, and last place earns just one point. Bonus points can also be scored for the margin of victory: a maximum 1.5 points for a six-minute or greater gap over the third-placed triathlete, 1 point for four minutes, and 0.5 points for two minutes.
The points are tallied up and the winning team captains will lift the inaugural Collins Cup, designed and made by jeweler Tiffany & Co. The losers are presented with the less-auspicious Broken Spoke trophy for last place.
Who to watch
Thirty-six of the world’s best triathletes will be on show, with the teams selected via rankings and then “captain’s picks.” The big names include reigning Ironman champions Kristian Blummenfelt and Daniela Ryf, representing Europe along with past Ironman champions Patrick Lange and Anne Haug. For Team Internationals, it’s headlined by Bermuda’s finiest, Olympian Flora Duffy, and Canada’s characterful Lionel Sanders. And on the U.S. the firepower comes from young Ironman winner Sam Long and powerhouse Skye Moench. With a few last-minute substitutions this past week, here are the final teams to watch at the Collins Cup:
|Skye Moench||Sam Long|
|Chelsea Sodaro||Matt Hanson|
|Jackie Hering||Rudy von Berg|
|Jocelyn McCauley||Chris Leiferman|
|Sarah True||Ben Kanute|
|Sophie Watts||Jason West|
|Ashleigh Gentle||Lionel Sanders|
|Paula Findlay||Braden Currie|
|Tamara Jewett||Jackson Laundry|
|Ellie Salthouse||Max Neumann|
|Flora Duffy||Hayden Wilde|
|Vittoria Lopes||Aaron Royle|
|Daniela Ryf||Kristian Blummenfelt|
|Anne Haug||Gustav Iden|
|Laura Philipp||Patrick Lange|
|Kat Matthews||Magnus Ditlev|
|Nicola Spirig||Daniel Bækkegård|
|Holly Lawrence||Sam Laidlow|
RELATED: Updated: 2022 Collins Cup Teams
The triathlon glitterati doesn’t end with those competing, however. Each region has two legends of the sport serving as captains. The list reads as a who’s who of triathlon history: Ironman legends Julie Moss and Dave Scott are at the helm for the USA, Natascha Badmann and Normann Stadler lead Team Europe, and Erin Baker and Craig Alexander head up Team International.
The competition really come down to who goes up against who: Can anyone beat Blummenfelt or Iden? Do you sacrifice athletes against the Norwegians and save your best for where you can earn points, or do you pit the best against the best? Is there any way at all to beat Team Europe’s all-star lineup?
This is where the captains come into play. Rather than being a random draw to decide the match-ups, each captain took a turn during the opening ceremonies to name their athlete pick for each match—ie. Europe names a person, then the Internationals decide who to put up against them, then the U.S.; and it reverses for the next draw. For those familiar, it’s a little like the snake draft concept in fantasy football.
2022 Collins Cup Matchups:
|Match 1||Sarah True||Daniela Ryf||Flora Duffy|
|Match 2||Chelsea Sodaro||Laura Philipp||Ashleigh Gentle|
|Match 3||Skye Moench||Kat Matthews||Paula Findlay|
|Match 4||Sophie Watts||Nicola Spirig||Vittoria Lopes|
|Match 5||Jocelyn McCauley||Holly Lawrence||Ellie Salthouse|
|Match 6||Jackie Hering||Anne Haug||Tamara Jewett|
|Match 7||Ben Kanute||Kristian Blummenfelt||Hayden Wilde|
|Match 8||Sam Long||Sam Laidlow||Lionel Sanders|
|Match 9||Rudy von Berg||Magnus Ditlev||Max Neumann|
|Match 10||Jason West||Patrick Lange||Aaron Royle|
|Match 11||Matt Hanson||Gustav Iden||Jackson Laundry|
|Match 12||Chris Lieferman||Daniel Baekkegard||Braden Currie|
The $1.5 million “prize purse”
OK, so there isn’t actually prize money, per se, for the Collins Cup, but there is $1.5 million in appearance fees just for being selected for the and making the trip—making it triathlon’s biggest purse to date. The triathletes on the start line are paid according to their PTO world ranking, meaning the current #1 (Blummenfelt and Ryf) will make $90,000 each, all the way down to $20,000 for the last ranked.
How do I watch the Collins Cup?
Tune in right here! When the broadcast starts—about 30 minutes before the first athletes go off—the feed will be live and on demand on Outside Watch, and will be simulcast live here on Triathlete. Just scroll up to the top of this article, where you’ll see the feed for the Collins Cup livestream.
On Saturday, Aug. 28, three women will start at 1 p.m. local time in Slovakia (7 a.m. ET in the U.S.) and each match-up will set off at 10-minute intervals. The men will start 80 minutes later hours later (2:20 p.m. local time // 8:20 a.m. ET). The whole event should take around seven hours.
If you’re not in the U.S., the PTO has partnered with channels all over the world to broadcast the event live. You can check who is showing the event and what parts of it they’re airing in your region on the Collins Cup website.