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Dame Flora Duffy finishes eighth as she continues comeback in Cagliari

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Dame Flora Duffy in front during the swim leg in Cagliari

Olympic champion Flora Duffy finished eighth as she faced her toughest test since returning from injury at World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari.

After a superb seventh two weeks ago in Yokohama on her competitive comeback after 18 months out with injury, Duffy followed that with another good effort in Italy, where she was in contention for the win until the run leg.

Duffy was always up with the leaders, ending the swim in fourth position and forming part of huge group of about 25 leaders on the bike leg, which she finished in third before entering the transition to the run.

With the final triathlon leg the most testing for Duffy, given the nature of the long-term injury to her patella tendon and perhaps still feeling the effects of racing in Japan, Bermuda’s golden girl clocked 1hr 48min 8sec, 44 seconds behind winner Cassandre Beaugrand, of France.

Athletes prepare for the bike leg in Cagliari

The Cagliari race is scheduled to be Duffy’s last before she takes to the start line in Paris on July 31 and she is pleased with the results so soon into her comeback.

“It might not look it from the outside, but there was lots of positives to takeaway from today except for my first lap of the run,” Duffy posted on Instagram.

“Thankfully I found my run legs eventually and finished up in eighh place.

“Today was a reminder how much the Olympic dream means to so many. Although I did not have Olympic selection on the line today, many did. So many emotions. I admire all those who dreamt, pursued and put themselves out there.

“Nine weeks to Paris. I’ll be making the most of each one.”

Dame Flora Duffy is looking forward to the Olympics

Duffy was not the only Bermudian in action in Cagliari, with Erica Hawley making her last attempt to secure an automatic Olympic qualification spot before the deadline at the end of this month.

With only 55 elite women competing in Paris, Hawley was just outside the automatic places in 60th in the Olympic qualifying simulation heading to Italy and was in need of a strong performance.

However, she finished 42nd in 1:53:49 and now faces an anxious wait to see if she has done enough to compete on the grandest stage of all.

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Published May 25, 2024 at 8:58 am (Updated May 26, 2024 at 10:39 am)

Dame Flora Duffy finishes eighth as she continues comeback in Cagliari

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