Dame Flora Duffy withdraws from World Triathlon in Cagliari
Dame Flora Duffy has withdrawn from the World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari.
The 35-year-old was due to resume her quest for a record fourth world title in Italy on Saturday – having recently raced in longer formats of the sport in the Collins Cup and PTO US Open – but will not be taking to the start line on Poetto beach.
That is despite the series entering a crucial point as the title chase remains wide open, with the defending world and Olympic champion, currently in second, trailing main rival Georgia Taylor-Brown in the standings by 368 points, with Beth Potter and Cassandre Beaugrand also in contention.
By the start of October, new world champions would usually have been decided but with three races remaining in Cagliari, Bermuda and Abu Dhabi, there are still plenty of potential twists before the champion is crowned in the United Arab Emirates in November.
The season kicked off with the first two races in September and November of last year in Hamburg and Abu Dhabi when the points chase towards this season’s titles due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With many of the Olympic contenders taking time out after their Tokyo 2020 exertions, including champion Duffy, the door was open for some of the breakthrough stars to shine.
It was local favourite Laura Lindemann who took the women’s gold to send the German crowds wild, with Nicole Van Der Kaay and Summer Rappaport claiming silver and bronze respectively.
The Abu Dhabi podiums had a more familiar feel as Duffy made her return in style, pulling clear to take the gold after another titanic battle with Britain’s Taylor-Brown, while Sophie Coldwell completed the podium places.
Just as it had in 2021, Yokohama opened up the new year of top-tier racing, and it was Taylor-Brown eventually pulling clear out of five contenders at the bell, powering to the line ahead of Leonie Periault, as Duffy finished third.
Having only just recovered from Covid-19, Duffy then put on a brave performance to finish seventh in Leeds. It was Beaugrand who claimed victory after putting together an impressive 5 kilometre-run, finishing ahead of home favourites Taylor-Brown and Coldwell.
The Bermudian then opted to skip the next event in Montreal, as Taylor-Brown held off a stern challenge from Beaugrand to claim gold, with Potter again settling for bronze.
However, Duffy was back to her imperious best in the last outing in Hamburg, Germany in July, overcoming a ten-second penalty from the first transition, and then a poor second transition that cost her eight places going out on to the run, to clinch an incredible victory ahead of Potter and Lisa Tertsch.