While Team Europe will cruise into Samorin, Slovakia for the upcoming Collins Cup as prohibitive favourites, the captain’s picks made by Team International captains Erin Baker and Craig Alexander have dramatically increased their team’s chances of success. Added to the International squad that features Canadians Lionel Sanders, Paula Findlay, Jackson Laundry and Tamara Jewett are Olympic gold medalist and two-time Commonwealth Games champ Flora Duffy (BER), Olympic bronze and Commonwealth silver medalist Hayden Wilde (NZL), Vittoria Lopes (BRA) and Aaron Royle (AUS).
“Having Flora Duffy on Team International will no doubt put some fear in the other Teams,” says Baker. “The reigning Olympic and Commonwealth gold medal winner is a force to be reckoned with and we look forward to seeing her proudly wear the International’s green and yellow. Vittoria Lopes will be the first Brazilian athlete to be in the Collins Cup. Her tremendous performance at the PTO Canadian Open, as well as her record in the World Triathlon series, will make her perfectly suited for the fast and furious race pace we see at the Collins Cup.”
“Like our women’s selections, we looked to load up with speed,” said Alexander. “An in-form Hayden Wilde has been on fire on the World Triathlon circuit and with his versatility, this will transfer well into middle distance. Aaron Royle did not let his last-minute entry into the PTO Canadian Open go to waste. His classy performance in a stacked field showed Erin and me that he is in great form and deserves a shot.”
Adding Duffy and Wilde to the mix gives International captains Alexander and Baker the chance to pair those athletes up with some of the “big guns” that Team Europe and Team USA bring to the table. It’s hardly a reach to imagine that Duffy could compete with anyone on either of those teams. The challenge for the short-course specialists that the International squad have added to the mix will be on the bike – not only is the 80 km ride nearly twice the length of their longest rides, they won’t be allowed to draft in Slovakia.
It certainly does set up for some exciting racing at the event which will take place on Aug. 20.