Duffy dominates again in Leeds
Flora Duffy recorded her second successive ITU World Triathlon Series victory by romping home to win the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds in England yesterday.
The Bermudian, who was always near the front of the pack before breaking clear early in the run, completed the course in 1hr 57min 2sec. Trailing her exactly a minute-and-a-half behind was Taylor Spivey, of the United States, with Italian Alice Betto third in 1:59:36.
Her victory comes four weeks after another dominant victory in Yokohama, Japan, in which she beat American Katie Zaferes by 1min 51sec.
Duffy managed to exit the waters just seconds behind Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth, which set herself up perfectly to have an ideal cycle.
Coming out of the first transition, a small group of women instantly joined together on the bike, but as Learmonth slowed down in the first 12km countryside lap to wait for compatriot Non Stanford, the lead group lost its connection and narrowed down to only four riders.
The front four of Duffy, Spivey, Betto and Maya Kingma, of Netherlands, pushed ahead as three of the rookie women tried to keep up with the masterclass of Duffy’s riding. However the four managed to work well together as they continued to gain a healthy lead over the chase groups.
As the main four steadily increased their advantage, they ultimately were untouched on the bike course, entering the bell lap with a lead of 2:30.
Entering the second transition, Duffy was off in an instant and never looked back. Her ability in the bike catapulted her into a perfect position to blast off on the run and bypass her younger and less experienced fellow cyclists. While the chase pack contained many strong runners, with the huge deficit, Duffy secured the fastest run, 35:04, to claim gold.
“I came out of the water in a good position and luckily the girls on the bike were keen to work with me,” Duffy told the WTS website. “So perhaps they picked up on if you ride hard there is an opportunity to podium, so we made a huge gap and yeah it was fantastic.
“You know this was Taylor’s [Spivey] first podium and Alice’s [Betto] as well, so that is really cool and I am super happy for them.
“Four was perfect, especially when we came into the circuit because it is so technical here, so the smaller the group is the faster you get through the corners and just the more efficient you are.
“Those girls rode super well technically so it helped the speed, so we just gradually just put more and more time into the chase group, which was pretty cool,” she said of the small lead bunch she cycled with. “Obviously you go into each race with a goal, so yeah it is nice that I have won the first two, which kind of came as a surprise but I guess I will just keep the momentum going.”
Leading British triathlete Vicky Netherlands said on the BBC’s UK coverage that Duffy has taken the sport to a new level and wondered how anyone was going to beat her this year. A good Bermudian contingent, including Charlie and Maria Duffy, featured heavily in the British network’s coverage.
The series moves on to Hamburg, Germany, from July 15 to 16, with races to come in Edmonton, Montreal, and Stockholm before the season finale in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from September 14 to 17.