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Dame Flora Duffy skips World Triathlon Montreal for half-Ironman event

Switch of focus: Dame Flora Duffy

Dame Flora Duffy has withdrawn from the World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships Montreal in favour of trying to book her Ironman 70.3 World Championship berth in Mont Tremblant.

Having barely recovered from a second bout of Covid-19, the world and Olympic champion put in brave performance to finish seventh at the AJ Bell WTCS Leeds in England this month.

After the race, the 34-year-old alluded to her struggles through the race and a need to get back to a solid block of training in an attempt to get back to peak fitness in the wake of her enforced layoff.

As a result it is perhaps no suspire that Duffy has decided to withdraw from the fifth event of the series in Canada. What may be more surprising is that the Bermudian is instead poised to compete in the Subaru Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant.

However, the decision appears to make greater sense when considering the demands of the each of the races, especially taking into account the demanding nature of the super-sprint elimination format of the World Triathlon event.

The race, on a course consisting of 300-metres swim, three-lap 7.2-kilometre bike and two-lap 2km run, will be held across two days, with two qualifying races and one repechage today, seeing 30 athletes book their place in tomorrow’s final.

That final is then split into three more super-sprints, the last ten across the line being cut from the next start until just ten athletes remain for the final swim-bike-run for the medals.

While the half Ironman event is competed over a longer total distance, the straightforward single-race format represents a less demanding toll compared and allows Duffy to build her endurance in a format similar to her usual long-distance training regime.

Despite a complete break from competition offering the optimal opportunity to recover and focus on training ahead of her Commonwealth Games title defence in Birmingham, England, in six weeks’ time, the Mont Tremblant race also represents the final opportunity for Duffy to book her place in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in St George, Utah, in October.

After her latest bout of Covid disrupted plans to secure a world championship spot in the Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga race last month, the incentive to race on Sunday is three final qualifying slots on offer for October’s showpiece final.

Even if not at peak condition, Duffy will arrive in arrive in Quebec as the prohibitive favourite. She will be expected to dominate the swim and, as one of the sport’s strongest cyclists, she is likely to remain at the front on the bike.

One question mark that remains is whether she will have the energy and form to hold off Canadian Tamara Jewett, whose formidable running strength could pose a major threat to Duffy.

With only 16 women registered for the pro race, others to watch out for include Mel McQuaid, a former Xterra and World Triathlon Cross Triathlon world champion, and American Ali Brauer, who has enjoyed 70.3 podium success in the past.

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Published June 24, 2022 at 8:21 am (Updated June 24, 2022 at 8:21 am)

Dame Flora Duffy skips World Triathlon Montreal for half-Ironman event

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