Bermuda crowd the best ever, says Voice of Triathlon
Greg Welch, the Voice of Triathlon, has delivered a glowing assessment of MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda, describing it as having the best atmosphere on the ITU circuit.
Welch has commentated on the ITU’s live broadcasts for the past 18 years, and admits he felt drowned out by the roar of the local crowd each time Duffy passed through the Front Street grandstand.
Although Welch has experienced larger turnouts than the inaugural WTS Bermuda — with Hamburg attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators each year — he said none could compare to the passion of the spectators on Saturday.
When asked how Bermuda compared to the other nine venues on the circuit, Welch responded: “It wasn’t even comparable — it was better. For somewhere like Bermuda, with a mid-60,000 populous coming out — there must have must have been 75 per cent of the country there — it was incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“I couldn’t even hear myself on the PA when Flora would come through. You may as well not even say anything because the crowd was so loud. I’ve been bragging for the last day and a half that it was the best crowd I have ever worked in front of. It ticked all of the boxes.”
With Bermuda securing stops on the 2019 and 2020 series, Welch believes the event can only grow as Duffy tightens her vice-like grip on the world series.
“There’s always a few teething problems with anything in the first year, but you can’t really fault anything with the naked eye,” said the legendary Australian triathlete.
“The course was spectacular; it was a very competitive and challenging. The set-up was absolutely fantastic.
“You saw two breakaways and that more than likely won’t happen again in the men’s race next year. In the women’s race I think it can happen again, given the way Flora races!”
Welch, who won the ITU World Championships, the Ironman World Championship, the ITU Duathlon World Championships and the Long Course World Championships, praised Duffy for executing a “faultless” performance and said her race tactics were spot-on.
“She put the hammer down [during the bike] on Corkscrew Hill and Kirsten [Kasper] wasn’t able to stay with her,” the 52-year-old said. “The pressure was applied early and that was a gutsy move.
“Flora had the pressure of the whole country on her shoulders. Winning in your home town is even more special and she was really rock solid.”
Ominously for Duffy’s rivals, who battled for a silver scrap of Duffy’s leftovers on the packed streets of Hamilton, Welch expects the Bermudian to continue to dominate.
“In triathlon you get some dominance by athletes for a few years at a time,” said Welch, who lives in California. “It happened with Gwen Jorgensen for a couple years and the last two years have belonged to Flora. I can’t see her slowing down.
“Everybody needs to take note that she doesn’t have a weakness. She led from the start to finish in the swim, the start to finish on the bike, and the start to finish in the run.
“Go and look at her splits; it’s crazy!”
Welch has backed Duffy to transfer her dominance at the sprint and Olympic distances to Ironman should she switch formats after the 2020 Toyko Olympic Games.
“I can see her taking this all of the way to Tokyo,” he said. “I’d even go as far to say if Flora went up a distance after Toyko she would dominate that too.”
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