Flora Duffy primed to rewrite history in World Triathlon Championship Series finale
Flora Duffy is on the verge of two milestones heading into today’s final of the World Triathlon Championship Series in Edmonton, Canada.
Duffy can clinch a record-equalling third women’s world title and also become the first triathlete in history to win Olympic gold and the World Triathlon Championships Series title in the same year.
She moved back into pole position to win a first world title in four years after storming to victory at last weekend’s WTCS Montreal.
The 33-year-old’s first win on the circuit since 2018 vaulted her to the top of the overall standings, where she holds a 449 point advantage over nearest rival Taylor Spivey, with Maya Kingma a further nine points adrift in third place.
Duffy made a triumph return to the WTCS just two weeks after securing Bermuda’s first Gold medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo – and second overall – to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming an Olympic champion.
She safely secured her place in the finals after comfortably navigating her way through the opening two elimination races in Montreal – finishing eighth and sixth respectively.
The Commonwealth Games champion and multiple XTerra Triathlon world champion then went on to win the event.
Duffy made her decisive move heading into the final lap of the run, breaking away solo to open up a pivotal gap over her rivals.
From that point on there was no catching her as she cruised to the line in a winning time of 23 min 07 sec to clinch gold and surge to the top of the standings.
Duffy is a firm favourite going in today’s race that will be contested on a tough bike, flat run course that plays to her strengths.
The 38-strong field will compete on the sprint distance course comprised of a 1500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike and 10-kilometre run.
Duffy proved in WTCS Montreal not only that she is one of the strongest athletes in the circuit, but that she is also a master in race tactics.
However, she faces stiff competition with Spivey and Kingma, who will be conifdent ofchallenging not only for a race win, but also for the title.
Spivey, who has never been on top of a WTCS podium, will be joined on the start line by compatriots Taylor Knibb and Katie Zaferes, both of whom will be attempting to secure a podium display and consolidate a top five place in the final standings.
The course also suits Kingma, of the Netherlands, whose strength on the bike will enable her to push hard for a breakaway with the likes of Duffy, Knibb, Spivey and Zaferes.
Meanwhile, also flying Bermuda’s flag in Edmonton today will be Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley who are competing in the Under-23 World Triathlon Championships.
Smith has some momentum having placed an impressive fifth among a highly competitive elite men’s field in the Europe Triathlon Cup Coimbra, in Portugal, in June, the highest placing of his senior triathlon career.
A new champion will be crowned in the men’s field as Roberto Sanchez Mantecon, of Spain, has moved up to the elite level.
Among those favoured to claim the vacant title is Australian Matthew Hauser, Hungary’s Csongor Lehmann, American Chase McQueen and New Zealanders Dylan McCullough and Saxon Morgan.
A new champion will also be crowned in the women’s race as Emilie Morier, of France, has moved up to the elite category.
Ainsley Thorpe, of New Zealand, is among the pre-race favourites which also includes Great Britain’s Olivia Mathias and Kate Waugh, German Lisa Tertsch and Australian Kira Hedgeland.
The Under-23 World Triathlon Championship consists of a 1500m swim, 6.67km bike and 10km run.
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