New city course may help Duffy
Flora Duffy will compete in Stockholm tomorrow when the ITU World Triathlon Series stops in Sweden.
The Bermuda triathlete is ranked sixteenth in the competition, with a top finish of third at the Abu Dhabi race in March, which she followed up with a fifth-place finish in Australia the following month.
With just three races left this season, the points race for World Championship crowns has heated up and Duffy may fancy her chances on a new Stockholm course that will favour strong cyclists.
A new swim start and two transitions are expected to make for a demanding race that will traverse the city's historic cobblestone roads.
Leading the points rankings is Gwen Jorgensen, who will sit Stockholm out, meaning compatriot Katie Zaferes has the opportunity to score some points that could narrow the gap to a World Championship title.
Zaferes has zinged through a breakout season that has included an incredible five podium finishes this year. She only needs to add a win to her CV to complete her medal haul. A win would also put her just 240 points behind Jorgensen, who has maxed out her points with five wins until the Grand Final.
Sarah True, of the United States, has also enjoyed a tremendous season to date, during which she has clinched her spot to the Rio 2016 Olympics and scored two top three series finishes. Having won in Stockholm last year, True comes to the standard-distance event in third place in the rankings.
Only 41 points separate True from fourth-ranked Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand, who finished second to True in last year's race. However, despite Jorgensen's absence, the podium will be no less difficult to reach with reigning Olympic champion Nicola Spirig on the start list.
While Spirig has contested just one series event this year, she's anything but the underdog. The reigning Olympic gold medallist raced to bronze in Cape Town before earning her spot in Rio with a win at the Baku European Games.
Spirig continued her European domination with a win at the European Championships, making the Swiss star one to chase.
With a sneakily challenging course lined with cobblestones, strong cyclists such as Hewitt and Spirig are expected to flourish, along with the likes of Pan American Games champion Barbara Riveros and Duffy.
Veteran Erin Densham joins a tough contingency of Australian athletes with Emma Jackson, Charlotte McShane, and the young Gillian Backhouse all expected to be in the mix.
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