Duffy: I was not missing out again
Flora Duffy, the Bermuda triathlete, vaulted to the top of the World Triathlon Series rankings after recording her first podium finish of the year with a superb display in Cape Town yesterday.
Duffy outsprinted Anne Haug, of Germany, over the final 200-metres to grab bronze finishing in 59min 59sec behind British pair Non Stanford, who won in 59:49, and Jodie Stimpson, who came home in 59:56.
“I don't know if it was brave, silly, stupid or what, but I came out of the swim with a bit of a gap and I thought, well it is only a 20K so let me see,” Duffy said. “There was 30 seconds [gap] at one point and then I got caught coming into transition.
“But I did have a little bit of time to soft pedal and catch my breath and mentally prepare myself for a tough 5K. I actually felt pretty good on the run, and I thought there was no way I was finishing fourth again! I have to get to third!”
Finishing third took two-times Xterra world champion Duffy to the top of the World Triathlon Series rankings on 1951 points, with Stimpson second on 1879 and Helen Jenkins third on 1485.
“Now this is cool. Proud to be leading the series! Will cherish it while it lasts. Thanks for a great day Cape Town!” Duffy tweeted afterwards.
The Bermuda triathlete's performance was greeted with praise on twitter with British Triathlon, the sport's national governing body in the UK, acknowledging their “respect” for the performance and hailing her “gutsy run”.
Duffy let her intentions be known early, first breaking from the pack with Carolina Routier, of Spain, during the 1500-metre swim before breaking away again to exit the water in a blistering 8min 55secs.
Routier was unable to ride out with Duffy, who rode off solo and established almost a 30 second lead.
The rest of the ride followed the same vein, with the chase pack not closing up any of the gap until the final two kilometres of the 40km bike.
Duffy started the 10km run clinging to a six second lead, but was quickly reeled in by the British trio of Stimpson, Stanford and Vicky Holland along with Haug.
Holland dropped off into fifth with Duffy holding fourth place going into the closing stages of the run.
Stanford began to put the hammer down with Haug and Stimpson shadowing her every move, whilst Kirsten Kasper, of the United States, overtook Holland to move into fifth place.
Stimpson then consolidated second place, with Haug fading.
Stanford continued to stretch her lead all the way across the finish line while Stimpson held on for second, and Duffy passed Haug to earn her first trip to the podium after finishing fourth in the previous two rounds of the series in Abu Dhabi and Australia.
It was Stanford's first race of the WTS Series this year, and she expressed surprise at her victory.
“I'm not in my ideal race shape so came here to see how I'd get on, so it's great to take the win,” she said. “There's more to come yet which is really exciting!”
Despite the disappointment of missing out on a place in the British Olympic squad, Stimpson showed immense mental strength to finish second.
“I want to thank my coaches for putting up with me the last couple of weeks, as I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around,” she said.
“But I will train hard and concentrate on this year's series and try to finish as high up as I can.”