Team USA captain’s selection Justin Metzler considers himself a ‘safe bet’ to perform at the inaugural Collins Cup this weekend in Samorin.
‘Big Metz’ has been drafted alongside Team Europe’s Joe Skipper and Team Internationals Jackson Laundry in the final match of the competitions – a vital matchup that could make all the difference when tallying up who wins the coveted trophy.
The 28-year-old, who missed out on automatic qualification for the event, instead relying on the wildcard selection is over-the-moon to be competing at x-Bionic sphere in Slovakia.
“I was ecstatic when heard I was selected, I didn’t really have myself on the radar for Collins Cup.
“I looked at the list and originally the selection was definitely going to be Chris Leiferman who I didn’t know was injured at the time.
“Then it was a matter of choosing between Andy Starykowicz – proven, illustrious career of racing but on his potential way out and he hasn’t raced a lot in the last two years, or you’ve got Collin Chartier, a young and up-and-comer who has been on the podium at his three professional races.
“I’ve got about 60 professional races under my belt, I am young with the firepower to be competitive and the experience. I think if you were looking for a safe bet I was probably the safest bet out there – those other two were a bit more of a wildcard.
“What you’ll get from me is a consistent athlete who won’t mess it up, I’m going to be solid, I’m not necessarily going to be having the speed of someone like Sam Long – his 70.3 racing is on another level right now – but I am going to be very competitive.”
A close race ahead?
Drawn against the PTO World Ranked #6 Joe Skipper and fellow captain’s selection Jackson Laundry, Metzler is aware of the challenge he faces but also believes it could be a coin-toss due to the distance of the race:
“Joe is long course through and through, his bread and butter is being able to sustain that super high aerobic pace for a very long time.
“I think the critique one might have of Joe is that his IRONMAN pace is the same as his 70.3 pace – and that is what makes this an intriguing matchup, because if you look at Joe’s career as a whole he is way ahead of Jackson and I.
“My strength is that I have got range, I’ve had good performances at 70.3 and at IRONMAN, so I kind of feel like I can toggle between the two and be competitive and hopefully I can use that to my advantage this weekend and may be able to expose a weakness in Joe and use Jackson to my advantage to kind of propel me closer to that middle distance strength that I have got.”
Split (family) loyalties
The added incentive for victory for Metzler comes in the form of his wife Jeanni who is competing for Team Internationals. The pair are on opposing teams in Samorin, but all’s fair in love and war according to the American, but the ultimate goal appears to be to knockdown their European counterparts.
“I think we’ve got a little bit of a friendly rivalry to takedown Team Europe.
“Team Europe is so strong so Jeanni and I will always be teammates first and foremost, but yeah, in the competition aspect of things we are competing for our individual teams and want to give it our absolute best.”