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No Bermuda event but Dame Flora Duffy set to face returning old foes this year

Memorable moment: Dame Flora Duffy celebrates winning on home soil in the WTCS event last year. However, fans will have to wait to see the four-time world champion compete on island again after the sport’s international governing body confirmed this year’s seven-race series will not be making a return to Bermuda this campaign

Dame Flora Duffy may never again compete on home soil as World Triathlon has confirmed that Bermuda will not host a Championship Series race this year.

Last year’s event signalled the end of an existing three-race deal with World Triathlon – 24 months after it’s scheduled end date as a result of the pandemic – with many on island left longing for another chance to see Dame Flora Duffy back on home soil to repeat her resounding victory in November en route to a record fourth WTCS crown.

But as Duffy prepares to mount her challenge for a fifth women’s title, the sport’s international governing body has confirmed there are no concrete plans in place for the island to stage another event just yet.

“What has been made public is the final schedule for 2023, and unfortunately there will not be any event in Bermuda,” a spokeswoman said. “We are working closely to try to have the event back on the island in the near future.”

While the series will not be making a return to Bermuda this year, anyone who witnessed the climax of the men’s and women’s title challenge in Abu Dhabi, will be relishing what the new campaign has in store.

The seven-race series this year gets under way in the United Arab Emirates and will revert from the standard distance of last season’s finale back to sprint-distance racing on the renowned Yas Island F1 course on March 3 and 4.

While Duffy will be rightly considered among the title contenders, there will be no shortage of challengers in the shape of Georgia Taylor-Brown, Taylor Knibb, Beth Potter as well as the returning Katie Zaferes and Jorgensen.

Zaferes is scheduled to return for her first WTCS as a mother as she eyes qualification for the Olympic Games in Paris next year, while Jorgensen is considered of one of short-course triathlon's greatest athletes, winning 12 consecutive World Triathlon races, two world titles, and Olympic gold in 2016.

After the opener, the series shifts to Yokohama, Japan, and one of the most established races on the circuit, throwing up an Olympic-distance challenge that is fast, flat and technical and where the weather can prove to be as big an obstacle as the course itself.

The Italian island of Sardinia is the stage for the third race, with an event in Cagliari on May 27 and 28. The circuit made its debut last year and proved a daunting test with a tough beach start as well as two long straights and a handful of technical turns making up the flat 40km bike section.

Montreal welcomes sprint-distance racing back to Canada for the first time since 2019 after two years of the two-day Elimination format, on June 25 to 26.

The Team Mixed Relay will also return to the programme, with all eyes on the teams’ preparations for the Olympics, where for only the second time the format will be part of the Games programme.

The German city of Hamburg will host the two day, super-sprint Eliminator format on July 15 and 16, with qualifier rounds and repechage boiling the fields down to 30 men and 30 women for the first of three back-to-back super-sprints for glory.

Sunderland, in the north of England, will debut as a host city on July 29 and 30, with a 750-metre North Sea swim kicking off this fast, sprint-distance course on the sands of Roker Beach.

The race to become world champion will all boil down to a 1.5-kilometre swim, 40km bike and 10km run in Pontevedra, Spain, for the World Triathlon Championship Finals on September 23 and 24.

The athletes’ best four results from those seven events and Olympic test event in Paris on August 17 to 20, will ultimately determine this year’s champions.

Throw into the equation all-important Olympic qualification points on the line and a total prize purse standing at just under 3.5 million dollars, the battle for title glory certainly promises to be fierce.

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Published February 21, 2023 at 7:46 am (Updated February 21, 2023 at 7:46 am)

No Bermuda event but Dame Flora Duffy set to face returning old foes this year

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