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Duffy chasing podium in Chicago

Duffy will be racing in Chicago on Friday

Flora Duffy will be pushing for a podium finish at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in the elite women’s race in Chicago on Friday.

The 27-year-old has been in superb form this season, finishing second in an ITU World Series event in Edmonton, Canada, last weekend.

Duffy, who is ranked fifth in the world, will be competing in the longer Olympic distance in Chicago against top United States triathletes Gwen Jorgensen, Sara True and Katie Zaferes.

Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley will face their biggest challenge in triathlon to date when they line up against the world’s best junior elite triathletes (16-19) in Chicago.

Smith races on Thursday in the boys’ elite junior event, while Hawley is in action the next day in the girls’ competition.

Also competing in Chicago will be Aaron Garcia and Chris Hands, who are in the same age group as Nascar driver Landon Cassill.

The Bermuda pair are registered in Saturday’s men’s 25-29 age group along with professional driver Cassill, who participates in triathlon both as a hobby and a means of staying fit.

Cassill competes in the Nascar Sprint Cup Series, driving the No 40 Chevrolet SS for Hillman Smith Motorsports.

Garcia and Hands, who won the Running of the Bulls race in Hamilton at the weekend, are among several local triathletes competing at the event.

Also representing Bermuda in the men’s age categories are Karl Wilson, Jonny Betts, Travis Cooper, Ben Lau, Alec Shepherd and Tom Hands.

Competing in the women’s categories are Jenn Wilson, Frances Betts, Sarah Farrar, Rebecca Shepard, Deanna Didyk, Sharon Craig and Maria Duffy. Garcia and Hands are the team’s youngest members while Maria Duffy, who is registered in the women’s 60-64 age group, is the most senior.

Alec Shepherd will serve as the team’s manager in the Windy City.

All of Bermuda’s athletes met the qualifying standard for their age group as set by the Bermuda Triathlon Association and will compete over the 1,500 metres swim, 40km bike and 10km run.

Over 4,000 athletes from 64 national federations have registered for the event.