Duffy’s Pan Am warm-up plans suffer set-back
Flora Duffy’s preparations for the Pan Am Games have suffered a slight set-back having been prevented from competing in any more World Cup triathlons until October.
Duffy hoped to use those events as a warm up for the Games, to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, but a lack of world ranking points has put paid to those plans.
Due to university commitments, Duffy only started her season in May, missing several races, which have cost her the points she needed to qualify for the upcoming World Cup races.
Instead, she will have to work her way into form by competing in non-drafting races, where there is no pack riding permitted, in the US, starting with the Life Time Chicago Triathlon on August 28. Her next World Cup Series race is in Huatulco, Mexico, in October.
“I did have some other World Cup races planned between now and (the Pan Am Games) but due to lack of world ranking points I didn’t get in,” said Duffy, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio.
“That’s partly due to the fact I didn’t start racing until May this year because I was in school, and it was just not possible to travel to Australia and Asia in March and April time while I was a full-time student. In the meantime I will be doing some non-drafting races in the US.”
Colorado-based Duffy is particularly looking forward to her race in the Windy City having regularly competed there in junior triathlons as a youngster.
“I’m really excited to race in Chicago because I used to do the kids’ triathlon when I was growing up and always dreamed of doing the pro race one day. After that I will race in LA a month later in another non-drafting race,” she said.
Last month saw Olympic hopeful Duffy make her debut in the World Championship Series the elite level of triathlon in Hamburg, Germany, finishing in 41st position.
Challenging among the frontrunners after an exceptional swim, Duffy followed up with a steady bike ride before losing ground on the race leaders during a disappointing run.
“I’ve never done a World Championship Series race before and it’s definitely a big step up from a World Cup,” she said. “All the top girls were there and it was a really intense race.
“I had a great swim coming out in the front pack, the bike was technical and fast but managed to sit in the pack comfortably and then I didn’t have the best of runs.
“I’m not exactly sure why, because I felt good but just didn’t have that extra spark to run really fast, which you need in these races. The girls are running so fast and if you’re a little off on the run, the race is over. So that was a little disappointing but still great to be up there racing with the best in the world again.”
Duffy’s hoping to discover her peak form during the second half of the season, which will see her striving to qualify for next year’s London Olympics her top priority.
“I’m reasonably pleased with how the season is going,” said the 23-year-old. “I think there’s still a lot to come and I will hopefully pull out some solid results in the second half of the season.
“The Olympics is still a main goal of mine, so hopefully I can do well in the remaining World Cup races of the year and Pan Am Games to secure my qualification.”
Both Duffy and Tyler Butterfield have been awarded London 2012 Scholarships to help them prepare for the Olympics.
A total of 16 triathletes, eight men and eight women, received Olympic Solidarity awards by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) earlier this year the largest number ever handed out. All of the recipients were identified by their own National Olympic Committees as potential stars on the international triathlon scene.