Duffy in line-up for unique $1m event
Flora Duffy has been confirmed in the line-up to compete in the Professional Triathletes Organisation 2020 Middle Distance World Championships at the iconic Daytona International Speedway in December.
Having stormed to her second successive ITU Triathlon World Cup gold medal this month in Arzachena, Italy, Duffy will be faced with a new type of challenge after being handed a wild-card entry into the event, which will see the world’s top triathletes competing for a $1 million prize purse — a first for the sport.
The top 40 men and women long-form triathletes were granted automatic entry, with the remaining 20 — ten men and ten women — selected via three rounds of wild-card selections.
Duffy was handed her entry as part of the second round, alongside Tim Don, Gustav Iden and Jessica Learmonth.
Bermuda’s two-times world champion will face off against her usual ITU World Cup rivals such as Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown, as well new challenges from the likes of Olympic gold and silver medal-winner Nicola Spirig and Ironman 70.3 world record-holder Kristian Blummenfelt.
However, being a versatile world champion who has excelled in a multitude of formats herself, Duffy is relishing the challenge of being part of the unique event.
“I love racing,” she said. “All racing — short course, Xterra, unique formats and, earlier this year, my maiden middle-distance race.
“The PTO Championships will bring together the best of short versus long course. And on a totally unique race venue and course profile.
“It has me really excited for the challenge and feels like a mash-up of the best elements of triathlon. I’m thrilled to be given an opportunity to line up.”
The event came about after USA Triathlon and the PTO joined forces with Challenge North America to be part of its iconic Challenge Daytona race from December 4 to 6.
The three-day festival will attract athletes from around the world to compete in an array of different events, including age-group sprint and middle-distance events, junior challenges, a Pro-Am relay, and the Middle Distance World Championship.
The top six male and female finishers in each middle-distance triathlon age group will qualify for entry to The Championship, to be held in Samorin, Slovakia, next May.