Duffy triumphs in South Africa
Flora Duffy has qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships after romping to an emphatic victory on her debut in the event in Buffalo City, South Africa, today.
The two-times ITU World Triathlon Series champion came from behind to win the Ironman 70.3 South Africa in a time of 4hr 34min 5sec.
Duffy seized early control after exiting the water in first place at Orient Beach with a more than three-minute advantage over the chasing pack, which she increased by four seconds by the halfway stage of the bike.
However, all of her hard work almost came undone after slipping to third on the return leg of the 56-mile bike, leaving her trailing leader Emma Pallant, of Britain, by five minutes at the second transition before the 13.1-mile run.
With her Ironman 70.3 World Championships qualifying hopes hanging in the balance, Duffy mounted a fightback and eventually regained the lead with 3.1 miles of the race remaining.
The five-times Xterra world champion managed to widen the gap before crossing the finish line more than two minutes ahead of Pallant.
South Africa’s Jade Nicole finished third.
South Africans swept the men’s podium with Matt Trautman claiming the title in 4:02:59 followed by Bradley Weiss and Henri Schoeman.
The Ironman 70.3 World Championships will be held in Taupo, New Zealand on November 28 and 29.
It is the first time the championships will be held in New Zealand, with the race featuring a swim in one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes, a bike course through the country’s renowned rural landscape and a run course which takes in views of the lakefront that will be lined with spectators and local support.
Duffy, who spent the majority of last year nursing a long-term injury, will hope to become the first Bermudian to win an Olympic medal, in Tokyo this summer, since boxer Clarence Hill claimed bronze at the Montreal Games in 1976.
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