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Duffy eighth in Rio

Tough climb: Duffy, far left, climbs the hill in the middle of the lead pack in Rio (Photograph by Jeff Pachoud/Pool/AP)

Flora Duffy produced her best Olympic race yet to finish eighth in the women’s triathlon in Rio today.

Duffy finished in 1hr 58 min 25 sec, some two minutes behind Gwen Jorgensen, the pre-race favourite who took gold in 1:56:16.

It was a vast improvement on the Bermuda triathlete’s previous Olympic results, where she failed to finish in Beijing in 2008, and came 45th after bike trouble in London four years ago.

Nicola Spirig-Hug, the defending champion, won silver, finishing 40 seconds behind Jorgensen.

Vicky Holland took bronze in 1:57:01, beating Non Stanford, her British team-mate, in a desperate dash for the line.

Any hopes Duffy had of winning Bermuda’s first medal at the Games in 40 years slowly evaporated over the course of a brutal 40-kilometre ride during which she was never able to escape from the clutches of Spirig, Jorgensen and the British duo.

Duffy was only able to briefly separate herself from the pack, but with no one willing to go with her, she was inevitably hauled back every time.

In the top ten at the start of the 10km run, Duffy was unable to stay in touch with Jorgensen and Spirig, who set off at a blistering pace, and slowly dropped away from Stanford and Holland, who battled each other, and Barbara Riveros Diaz, of Chile, all the way to the finish.