Duffy strikes gold in Rio warm-up
Flora Duffy warmed up for the Rio Olympics in the best possible way with victory at yesterday's Montreal ITU Triathlon World Cup.
The Bermuda triathlete, who presently tops the world rankings, covered the sprint distance course in 1hr 3min to pip nearest rival Ashleigh Gentle, of Australia, for the $7,500 winner's purse. Taylor Knibb, of the United States, rounded off the podium in third.
“It kind of came as a bit of a surprise,” said Duffy on her first World Cup triumph of the season and first since 2012. “I came in here pretty tired from a big block of training for Rio.
“It definitely hurt out there, but I am glad with how it went. It just did not feel too pretty.”
Duffy led wire-to-wire, only throttling back as she neared the finish line to savour yet another victory in what has truly been a remarkable season for the two-times Xterra World Champion.
She completed the 750 metre swim in 10:10 and exited the water just behind Summer Cook, of the United States. Duffy got out of transition first and never looked back.
Duffy built up a healthy lead on the bike, slowed to allow Knibb to join her for a while, and then powered away again towards the end, finishing the four-lap 20km course in 33:25.
This gave the world No 1 a commanding minute lead going into the 5km run which she completed in 17:43 to clinch the gold medal and, more importantly, boost her confidence heading into Rio where she is among the medal contenders.
This marks the multiple Bermuda Female Athlete of the Year award winner's third straight Olympic appearance.
Duffy was among an elite group of Olympic-bound athletes that used yesterday's event as a final dress rehearsal for the Rio Olympics, which officially got under way on Friday with the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, also flying Bermuda's banner in Montreal were promising juniors Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley.
Smith finished 31st in a formidable field of 48 starters in 1:03:41. Hawley was eighth among the 41 finishers in 1:13:06.