Flora Duffy opts out of World Triathlon Cup Arzachena title defence
Flora Duffy will not be defending her World Triathlon Cup Arzachena title after opting not to compete in Italy this weekend.
Having decided not to take to start line of the long awaited World Triathlon Championship Series opener in Yokohama, Japan, earlier this month, Duffy previously stated that this weekend’s race was being considered as a possible start to her purposely delayed season.
However, Bermuda’s two-times world champion has confirmed to The Royal Gazette that she has opted to delay her return to competitive elite-level action until the second race of the Championship Series in Leeds, England, on June 5, at the earliest.
It was in October of last year, that Duffy clinched her second successive ITU Triathlon World Cup gold medal after storming to victory in the town, situated in northern Sardinia, the second largest island off the coast of Italy.
Building on her triumph at the first rescheduled World Cup event, the Karlovy Vary ITU Triathlon in the Czech Republic a month earlier, she 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.
While a chance to successfully defend her title would normally be relished by Duffy, her need to return to action is not as desperate as others as she instead focuses her attentions to tailored preparation for this summer’s Olympic Games.
As some athletes continue to sweat over their Olympic qualification — with rankings reopened in Yokohama, having been frozen since March last year — Duffy remains in line to qualify for the Games on the basis of her present ranking.
One hundred and ten participants, split evenly between men and women, are expected to compete in Tokyo with each of the eligible respective National Olympic Committees selecting their athletes who are inside the top 140 of the rankings.
Having claimed victory at the Tokyo Olympic Test Event in August 2019, Duffy earned an Olympic berth for Bermuda, with the 33-year-old 27th in the Elite Women’s Olympic rankings on 3,903.98 points. Compatriot Erica Hawley is 126th on 636.44 points, meaning both would be eligible for selection.
With her Olympic prospects remaining fairly comfortable at this point in time, Duffy is continuing to step up her preparation for the Games, tailoring her training with a focus on high-altitude work out of her base in Boulder, Colorado.