10 March 2020 | Update


The Race to Samorin.

IRONMAN
New Zealand results bolster Europe and Internationals

The winners in Taupo, Joe Skipper and Teresa Adam, made decisive moves up the PTO World Rankings.

Great Britain’s Joe Skipper is probably still celebrating the win that had eluded him after a couple of runner-up finishes in Taupo, but as a very lucrative added bonus, he vaulted himself seven places in the PTO World Rankings to PTO World No. 5. Skipper’s course record breaking time of 7:54 was three minutes faster than the PTO Adjusted Ideal Time on a very fast racing day at Taupo, earning him 109 ranking points. He is now the fourth European in the PTO World Rankings, a position that would earn him an automatic slot for Team Europe.

How lucrative is the added bonus? Based on his current PTO World Ranking, Skipper is in line to receive $65,000 for The Collins Cup and $60,000 under the PTO’s recently announced Year End Bonus Programme, for a total of $125,000. To keep this is perspective, that is more than 10 times his winnings at IMNZ and over 3.5 times the entire men’s prize purse.

The European athletes ahead of him? A virtual who’s who of triathlon racing: former Olympic gold medalist, three-time Kona champ and current PTO World No. 1 Jan Frodeno, Great Britain’s two-time Olympic gold medalist and PTO World No. 2 Alistair Brownlee, and Germany’s Kona and two-time 70.3 world champ, Sebastian Kienle, who rounds off a formidable trio at PTO World No. 3.

Teresa Adam’s winning time at Taupo of 8:40 crushed the PTO Adjusted Ideal Time for the course of 8:55, scoring a massive 122 ranking points and moving her up to PTO World No. 5. The Kiwi is now almost assured a position on Team Internationals at The Collins Cup, as she is currently the second highest ranked International women, just behind PTO World No. 3, Australia’s Sarah Crowley.

“Based on his current PTO World Ranking, Skipper is in line to receive $65,000 for The Collins Cup and $60,000 under the PTO’s recently announced Year End Bonus Programme for a total of $125,000. To keep this is perspective, that is more than 10 times his winnings at IMNZ and over 3.5 times the entire men’s prize purse.”

Team Europe

“How strong is team Europe? The first Europen man currently NOT in an automatic qualifying spot is Ten-time world champion Javier Gomez”

Skipper’s impressive performance in New Zealand makes the potential European dominance of the Collins Cup standings even more frightening for the International and American teams. Europe sits four of the top-five in the men’s PTO World Rankings. The first man currently not in a position for an automatic selection for Team Europe? Ten-time world champion Javier Gomez. The European men have 11 competitors in the top-20 at this point. How much fun are Normann Stadler and Chrissie Wellington, the European Team captains, going to have trying to nominate the final two members of that team?

The European women aren’t quite so dominant, but still have eight athletes in the top-20 of the PTO World Rankings. A look at some of those names, though, offer an intimidating picture: leading the standings at PTO World No. 1 is four-time Kona and five-time 70.3 world champion Daniela Ryf, with Great Britain’s three-time Kona runner-up and defending Challenge Roth champ, Lucy Charles-Barclay at No. 2. Ironman world champ Anne Haug sits in at PTO World No. 5, while former 70.3 world champ, Britain’s Holly Lawrence, is PTO World No. 6.

Right now, some of the women who would be vying for a Captains’ pick on Team Europe include Germany’s Laura Philipp, her countrywoman, Daniela Bleymehl, the Czech Republic’s Radka Kahlefeldt and Switzerland’s Imogen Simmonds. We did say Stadler and Wellington are in for a fun time picking the team, right?

Internationals

“Australia's Cam Wurf, PTO World No. 8, has been pushing his early season fitness levels with Team Ineos and will relish any head-to-head battle”

With Crowley sitting at PTO World No. 3, Adam World No. 5 and Lester at World No. 7, the International Team certainly has a right to feel they can stack up with the powerful Europeans in Samorin this May. The fourth-place woman for the Internationals is Canadian Paula Findlay at PTO World No. 15, with Aussie Ellie Salthouse two spots behind her and New Zealand’s Amelia Watkinson sitting at PTO World No. 19.

Trying to go toe-to-toe with the Europeans on the men’s side is certainly going to be a challenge, but there are some big names ready to take on that challenge. Canada’s Lionel Sanders sits at PTO World No. 4 and is a force in middle distance racing. Australia’s Cam Wurf, PTO World No. 8, has been pushing his early season fitness levels with Team Ineos and will relish any one-on-one battle. PTO World No. 9 Kiwi Braden Currie is currently in the third International spot and looks assured of automatic qualification.

The fourth and final automatic qualification spot, as well as the two Captains’ picks, will be a free-for-all with Aussie Sam Appleton, Canada’s Cody Beals, Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone, former 70.3 world champ Tim Reed and Brazilian Igor Amorelli all in striking distance. (Yes, we don’t envy captains Lisa Bentley, Simon Whitfield, Erin Baker or Craig Alexander their decision, either.)

Team USA

“You underestimate the Stars and Stripes at your peril. The world is littered with the wreckages of those who sought to trifle with American resolve.” –– Mark Allen

While the Team USA doesn’t seem to have athletes sitting as high in the standings, the men and women in the mix for making the team captained by Mark Allen and Karen Smyers are renowned as some of the sport’s top competitors.

Skipper’s big move bumped Ben Hoffman down a spot in the rankings to PTO World No. 6, and Rodolphe Von Berg down to PTO World No. 7. The third USA athlete in the men’s standings is Tim O’Donnell, with Matt Hanson the fourth-place American.

Andrew Starykowicz, Matt Russell and Ben Kanute will no-doubt all be looking to try and move themselves up in the standings over the next month in hopes of nailing a spot.

Heather Jackson at PTO World No. 8 sits as the top American in the women’s rankings, with Skye Moench, Chelsea Sodaro and Sarah Piampiano all currently sitting in the final automatic selection spots. Had she not been forced to drop out of last weekend’s race in New Zealand, last year’s champ, Jocelyn McCauley, would likely have moved up in the rankings, but she has dropped a couple of spots and, with Jackie Hering, remains in the mix for a spot on Team USA.

A Captain’s Perspective: Lisa Bentley

“Anyone who is matched up against Sanders better be prepared for the fight of their lives, because Lionel has a simple binary approach to this race, ‘Win or die.’ As Captains, it is basically just unleashing a caged lion – or perhaps you might say a caged Lionel!”

The wins never came easy for 11-time Ironman and 16-time 70.3 champion Lisa Bentley – when you suffer from Cystic Fibrosis, you’re not supposed to be able to even complete such long races, let alone win them.

Which is why Bentley is likely to be such a great asset to the International Team when it comes to The Collins Cup in May. The ever-positive Canadian is determined to help the International Team hit the course in Slovakia with the right mindset and determination to compete for the win.

“If we, as captains, can motivate them to be all in, we’ll be competitive,” Bentley says, when asked how the International squad can take on the European juggernaut. “The athletes need to feel a sense of team, and a willingness to go all out, to make this one of the most important races of the year. The head-to-head element will drive the competitive juices. Everyone seems to be talking about Team Europe, but let’s remember that Paula Findlay smoked Lucy Charles-Barclay at Challenge Daytona last year in what was essentially a head-to-head match-up, and Sarah Crowley and Teresa Adam will be more than a match for the likes of Ryf and Haug. Of course, no one needs to be reminded that anyone who is matched up against Sanders better be prepared for the fight of their lives, because Lionel has a simple binary approach to this race, ‘Win or die.’ As Captains, it is basically just unleashing a caged lion – or perhaps you might say a caged Lionel!”

Bentley feels that the race-day matching will be a critical component to team performance and that the captains’ picks will also be decisive.

“I believe it’s part of my job to stay up to date,” she says, and has encouraged potential team members to “keep the captains on the teams informed on what they’re doing” in terms of training and racing.

To see the full PTO World Rankings™ simply click the button below to visit the Collins Cup website. You can use the search box and filter by respective Collin Cup Teams by simply entering the terms "USA", "EUROPE" or "INTERNATIONALS" or find out the current ranking of any Athlete by entering their name in the search box.

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