After another impressive win the XTerra South African Championships, Flora Duffy will swap her mountain bike for a road bike this weekend in the opening race of the International Triathlon Union’s World Series. As with last year the opening race is in Abu Dhabi but unlike last year the distances will be 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run (last year’s event was 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run).
Flora finished third last year, her first World Series podium, after leading until about 2km into the run. That race was the start of a breakthrough season for Flora as she produced a number of top ten finishes to finish the season ranked 12th in the ITU points series.
Flora has shown that she can swim and ride with the best triathletes in the world and last year she made great strides forward. The question now is whether she can produce the kind of run that will allow her to finish consistently on the podium. There is always a chance that Flora can get away with a group on the bike but knowing Flora she wont want to rely on that scenario going into an Olympic year.
This is what the write up on the womens field on the ITU website had to say :
Duffy will arguably once again be one of the fiercest competitions on the bike course this season, as she proved right here in Abu Dhabi last year when she stormed through the bike for her first WTS podium finish. She consistently takes a place in the front of the lead pack during the second leg. This year she is hoping to make some huge personal gains in her performances, especially as she gets ready to compete in her third Olympic Games.
For the full write up on the womens field go to the ITU website home page at http://www.triathlon.org. There is an “athlete chatter” icon and a “strong womens field” icon.You can also find out how to follow the race live or sign up to watch it live by subscribing to the world series video coverage. Details are at the top right of the home page. Flora is also features in the photo for the “athlete chatter” post.