Duffy’s journey to come full circle on Front Street
Organisers are preparing for a bumper crowd in Hamilton with Bermuda’s world champion Flora Duffy the main draw for the ITU World Triathlon Bermuda on April 28.
The event will be filmed live to a global audience and yesterday Duffy, back home for a few days after her win at the Island House Triathlon in Bahamas last weekend, attended a press conference hosted by the Bermuda Tourism Authority when the courses were unveiled.
The elite course for professionals will involve a 1,500 metres swim off Albouy’s Point and a 40 kilometres bike featuring ten loops of a 4km loop of a Front Street and Reid Street course, including climbs up Corkscrew Hill. That will be followed by a 10km run with four loops along Front Street.
The two transition areas for the age-group races will be the City Hall car park. A free public grandstand with VIP seating will be erected along Front Street to accommodate the crowds and resurfacing of some roads in Hamilton will be carried out.
Two races will be held during Bermuda Triathlon Festival Weekend, with elite, age-group, international and local athletes being able to compete in the sprint distance course — 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run — or the Olympic-distance race.
“The course being along Front Street is very special to me,” Duffy said. “This is where I started, in the Front Street Mile at 9 years old, and I was inspired to compete internationally.
“To be competing as the world champion on home soil is a feeling that’s hard to express.”
Duffy also took the opportunity to encourage locals to help out as volunteers.
“I encourage anyone who is not racing to register as a volunteer,’ Duffy said.
The event will be televised live to 160 countries, with the elite women’s race, involving Duffy, starting at 4pm.
“These events take enormous effort to organise,” Duffy said.
“As athletes we can’t appreciate enough the support of those who give their time and become involved. It’s a unique way to interact with the athletes, to watch the race, and I know as an athlete that is super important.
“I’m so grateful for the people who come out to volunteer, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible for me to race in any of those locations around the world.”
Bermuda will host the event for the next three years and Steven Petty, president of the Bermuda Triathlon Association, is excited about its potential.
It is the biggest local triathlon since Bermuda staged two international events in the 1990s, which Duffy watched as a youngster.
“The arrival of the World Triathlon Series in Bermuda represents a fantastic opportunity for the island and a chance to inspire many more people to take up this great sport, just as Flora Duffy was inspired watching triathlon races here as a young girl,” Petty said.
“The vision was a year and a half ago and the presentation was made at the ITU Congress in Madrid last December. We didn’t get the Grand Final but we got three years of a World Series event.
“We can’t wait to watch Flora race before her home crowd and we hope that the Bermuda public will embrace this event and make it a vibrant show that will be seen around the world.
“I think everyone will rally in true Bermuda style because we do have a world champion.
“We even have triathletes like Tyler Smith competing in the junior elite ranks and do really well, so it bodes well for the future.”
Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton said: “It’s an honour to host an international sporting event of this scale and we look forward to the positive impact it will have on Hamilton businesses and residents.
“We are particularly proud of Flora Duffy, Bermudian born and bred, who has represented Bermuda in the Olympics and is the ITU world triathlon champion for two years running.”
The local organising committee, headed by Philip Smith, is also working with emergency services on a comprehensive safety plan and with the Department of Works and Engineering on aspects of road closures and road resurfacing.
“We expect Corkscrew Hill to be the signature aspect of the course,” Smith said. “We expect a Tour de France-style atmosphere on the hill.”
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