His was for the sheer grit he showed to push to the limit even though he was dominating the race. Hers was for a performance that was without a doubt both the best we saw at the Collins Cup and also the day’s biggest surprise.
Today the Professional Triathletes Organisation named Germany’s Jan Frodeno as the winner of the Dave Scott Award as the men’s Most Valuable Player at the Collins Cup, while American Taylor Knibb was given the honour as the winner of the Erin Baker Award as the women’s Most Valuable Player.
Winning his race by 3:40 with two km of running to go, Frodeno pushed himself to the limit to gain another 20 seconds on Team International athlete Sam Appleton, just so Team Europe could earn an extra half point.
“With some early surprises from the USA women, we needed Jan to step up and stabilise our Team and rack up some bonus points,” said Team Europe captain Normann Stadler. “With two kilometres left in his match, Jan was 3 minutes and 40 seconds ahead of Sam Appleton and needed to gain another 20 seconds in order to secure an additional half bonus point. To see Jan practically sprint the last two kilometres at the end of a gruelling race to gain Team Europe an added half bonus point just shows what the Collins Cup meant to him and how much he wanted to lead the European Team to victory. It was a stellar performance worthy of the Dave Scott Award for the Men’s Most Valuable Player.”
It was Knibb’s incredible performance that set the stage for Team USA’s impressive runner-up finish to the Europeans, which relegated Team International to third in the competition. While Europe was considered a huge favourite before the race, it was widely expected that Team International would finish second. Knibb, in just her second long distance race, was matched against four-time Kona champion Daniela Ryf (PTO ranked #1) and New Zealand’s Teresa Adam, ranked second in the PTO world ranking.
“The night before the draft match-ups, Mark and I sat down with Taylor and told her that if we had the chance, we wanted to put her against Ryf, and she said she was ready,” said Team USA captain Karen Smyers. “While she clearly has great respect for the PTO World No. 1 and nine-time World Champion, Taylor has the fearlessness of youth, and she would never back down from the challenge.”
Knibb would go on to have the day’s fastest time and easily beat Ryf.
“Taylor’s performance was truly remarkable, and no one deserves the Erin Baker Award more than she does,” said Team USA captain Mark Allen. “I had the privilege of seeing Erin Baker race, and she was fearless and relentless, traits that we see in Taylor. She is a superstar in the making.”