Despite the efforts of defending her XTerra World Triathlon title the week before, in what was a strength sapping performance, travel from Hawaii to the Bahamas and two days of hard racing, Flora finished a creditable third today in Stage 3 of the $500,0000 Invitational Island House Triathlon in the Bahamas to wrap up the three days of racing in third overall.
After taking 3rd in the Prologue on Friday and 2nd in the Olympic Distance race on Saturday Flora was well placed to possibly challenge for overall honours as she had 22 seconds on Sweden’s Lisa Norden but trailed ITU World Champion Gwen Jorgensen by just over 40 secs.. With today’s sprint distance (750 meter swim, 20km bike and 5km run) being non drafting on the bike Flora, who is renowned in triathlon circles as one of if not the strongest cyclists amongst professional women in triathlon, might have been hoping to put sufficient time on Jorgensen and Lisa Norden to steal overall honours in the elite 10 women field.
However, it just wasn’t to be as Flora’s exertions over the past 10 days caught up with her and despite a creditable finish today, she could not get away on the bike.
It all looked promising after the swim with Flora (10 mins 29) and Norden (10 mins 25 secs) exiting the water with almost a minute’s lead over Jorgensen ( 11 : 16). However with the non drafting format it came down to who had the stronger legs on the bike and it was the fresher Norden (33 mins 34 secs) who opened up a telling gap on Flora ( 34 :41) and Jorgensen ( 34 : 48). Jorgensen’s lead of 1 min and 3 secs had been blown away by Norden who started the run with just over a two minute lead on Jorgensen and a 45 second lead on Flora. Sensing victory, Norden, the 2012 ITU World Series gold medalist and 2012 Olympic silver medalist ( in a photo finish for gold in London) who is renowned for her strength, did enough on the run ( 17 min 16 secs) to hold off Jorgensen ( 16 mins 39 secs) and Flora (17 mins) to take overall honours for the three days of racing ahead of Jorgensen. Flora was never in any danger of losing third on the day or overall but she was no doubt left ruing what might have been had the tough three days of racing been a couple of weeks later.
as the pictures show, the race took place on the beautiful Highbourne Cay on Xuma, Bahamas and hopefully Flora will be able to spend a couple of days there after a long and stunningly awesome season. way to go Flora, you have done us proud and we look forward to recognizing your achievements at the Bermuda Triathlon Association dinner on 21st November.
At the time of writing this post the mens third stage had not got underway but having won the Prologue on day 1 and the Enduro on day 2, world champion Javier Gomez leads by over 50 secs going into Stage 3 from South Africa’s Richard Murray with Great Britain’s Tim Don just 22 secs behind Murray. Gomez should wrap up the title today but there could be an interesting battle for 2nd and 3rd between Murray and Don.