Team Europe adds Spirig, Lawrence, Baekkegard and Laidlow to Collins Cup squad
Stacked team adds Olympic and 70.3 world champ to rosterPhoto by: PTO
As if they needed any help. Last year Team Europe dominated the Collins Cup, and its hard to imagine that they’ll do anything different this year. Today team captains Natascha Badmann and Normann Stadler announced that they’ll be adding Olympic gold and silver medalist Nicola Spirig, 2016 Ironman 70.3 world champion Holly Lawrence, Daniel Baekkegard and Sam Laidlow to the team’s stacked roster.
The automatic selections for Team Europe included Daniela Ryf, Anne Haug, Laura Philipp and Kat Matthews for the women, along with Kristian Blummenfelt, Gustav Iden, Patrick Lange and Magnus Ditlev.
Even without Jan Frodeno and Lucy Charles-Barclay, the European team looks pretty much unstoppable heading into the Professional Triathletes Organisation’s flagship event that is styled on golf’s Ryder Cup.
“It is always very difficult to choose the European Captains’ Picks as there are so many outstanding athletes,” Stadler said. “In Daniel Bækkegård, we have an experienced Collins Cup campaigner who knows the course and conditions well and had the third fastest time at last year’s Collins Cup. Daniel, as PTO World #7 in the world, is also the highest PTO ranked athlete to not automatically qualify for any team. Sam Laidlow’s tremendous performance at the PTO Canadian Open put on display that he is ready to compete with the best and join our Championship team. He will be the first athlete from France to participate in the Collins Cup.”
“For the European Women, these picks were extremely difficult to make as there are so many outstanding athletes who deserve to race for Team Europe,” Badmann said of the women’s picks. “As last year’s winner of the Julie Moss Award for the grittiest performance, Holly Lawrence demonstrated the true spirit of the Collins Cup and the determination of Team Europe. With Team Europe unexpectedly behind, Lawrence fell on the bike costing her a massive amount of time. Bloodied and battered and robbed of her chance to win her match, she fought on the run and denied Team US and Team Internationals vital bonus points. Her performance is already part of the Collins Cup lore.”
“While Nicola Spirig is a rookie for the Collins Cup, she is a seasoned veteran with an unprecedented career,” Badmann continued. “Five-time Olympian and gold and silver medal winner, Nicola is one of the greatest women on the Olympic distance the sport has produced. It will be a joy to see her join Team Europe.”