Duffy delighted with win at Xterra World Championship
Flora Duffy blazed her way to an emphatic victory to clinch an unprecedented sixth Xterra World Championship title in Kapalua, Maui, yesterday.
The Bermudian triathlete led every leg on the way to successfully defending her crown and adding yet another world title to her name.
Duffy completed the race in 2hr 39 min 49sec, crossing the finish line more than seven minutes ahead of nearest rival Loanne Duvoisin, of Switzerland.
“It was just great to win my sixth Xterra World title and to finish a really great season off on a high,” an elated Duffy told The Royal Gazette.
Hazardous water conditions forced organisers to replace the 1.5 kilometre swim with an additional 3 kilometre run, thus reducing the final major event of the 2021 season to a duathlon.
“Obviously it was changed to a duathlon which we knew about sort of Friday afternoon,” Duffy added. “A big swell rolled in this morning and so the Maui county lifeguards decided that it was not safe for us to swim.
“So it was a duathlon and we did a 3K run and then the regular bike and the regular run and it definitely changes the race a lot.
“I typically come out of the swim with quite a large gap so I started the first bike with only about 20 seconds and just felt pretty good.
“Luckily the rain hadn’t started yet, so the first lap of the bike was really nice and I just tried to stay focused and extend out my gap if possible, which ended up extending out.”
However, Duffy was forced to switch into survival mode on the second lap on the bike after rain made for slick conditions.
“Dan (husband) was giving me splits throughout the course and then lap two the rain started and the course got really slick,” she said. “So I just focused on trying to stay on my bike and ride as smooth as possible and overall it felt pretty good.”
Duffy also had to come to grips with a challenging course on the run to the finish.
“The run was really tough,” she said. “It’s uphill and downhill and it was really slippery.“
Duffy was a firm favourite heading into the event and she didn’t take long to demonstrate exactly why, having carved out an 18 second advantage over Mexican Michelle Flipo after the opening run.
The trend continued as she gradually pulled farther away from the chasing pack on both the bike and run legs before breaking the tape with none of her rivals in sight to clinch a remarkable eleventh career world title.
Duvoisin, the reigning ITU Cross Tri World Champion, claimed the silver medal in 2hr 46min 56sec and Flipo the bronze in 2hr 50min 17 sec respectively.
The victory was a fitting end to a phenomenal and historic year of competition for Duffy, who earned Bermuda’s first Olympic gold medal, won a record-equalling third World Triathlon Championship Series title and also captured glory on her debut at the Super League Triathlon championship series finale.
With the season now done and dusted, the multiple Bermuda Athlete of the Year award winner is looking forward to enjoying a well-earned vacation.
“I’m probably more glad that the season is over and I can take a little rest now because it’s been a long year,” Duffy said
“That’s what I plan to do. I’ll have a few weeks vacation here in Hawaii before I start to think about next year and building back up.”
Meanwhile, a new champion was crowned in the men’s field with Hayden Wilde, of New Zealand, claiming the title in 2hr 18min 39sec.
Arthur Serrieres, of France, claimed the silver in 2hr 19min 02sec and Ruben Ruzafa, of Spain, the bronze in 2hr 19min 33sec respectively.