Duffy storms to second successive gold
Flora Duffy clinched her second successive ITU Triathlon World Cup gold medal after storming to victory in Arzachena, Italy, on Saturday.
Building on her triumph at the first rescheduled World Cup event, the Karlovy Vary ITU Triathlon in the Czech Republic last month, Duffy led from start to finish to take victory in 1hr 0min 53sec, ahead of Britain’s Beth Potter in 1:02:04 and Italy’s Verena Steinhauser in 1:02:07.
“I was super happy with the swim, as well as the overall race,” Duffy told World Triathlon. “Sorting out my swim was a main goal here and the bike course I knew I just had to attack. I wasn’t expecting to be riding solo but I’ve been there before so it didn’t freak me out.
“My coach and I had discussed what sort of power I’d need to use so I tried to ride hard but within myself and really maximise the descent, get aero and push.”
The conditions were near-perfect as the athletes took to the beach start line on Saturday, with 2019 world champion Katie Zaferes wearing the No 1 bib and leading a strong field into the water.
However, by the first buoy, it was Duffy who had the clear water ahead of her and, as she powered back towards the beach, her advantage grew and grew.
From that point on, there was no catching Bermuda’s two-times world champion, who emerged from the water with daylight behind her.
The short run into transition confirmed a ten-second lead was already hers, with Zaferes, Sara Perez Sala, Rachel Klamer and Anna Godoy Contreras attempting to bridge the gap out of the first transition
However, the first long climb saw her stretch away and her technical brilliance allowed her to attack the downhill, too, carving out a 35-second lead by the end of lap one. Behind her, Angelica Olmo, Leonie Periault and Potter had battled hard to join Zaferes, Klamer and Steinhauser, the two Spaniards dropping off the pace.
The likes of Lisa Tertsch and Erika Ackerlund were struggling to keep in touch almost two minutes back, with each climb stretching the field out farther.
By the time Duffy dismounted from her bike and headed into the run transition, her lead had been stretched to a little more than 50 seconds as Klamer, Potter and Olmo looked likely to be battling it out for the remaining podium places.
It was Klamer, of the Netherlands, who faded first, while Periault pulled clear in third behind Potter. The British athlete held a crucial six-second lead heading into the final lap as Steinhauser, Zaferes and Olmo attempted to stay in touching distance.
Way out in front, Duffy could enjoy the final few hundred metres as she coasted to the line to secure a second successive World Cup gold.
In the chasing pack behind her, Potter came around the final corner with just enough daylight to finish runner-up, with Steinhauser edging Periault to the final podium spot.
Olmo took fifth place ahead of Zaferes and Klamer, Lisa Tertsch running her way into eighth. Denmark’s Alberte Kjaer Pedersen and Mathilde Gautier rounded out the top ten.