Flora Duffy once again did herself and Bermuda proud in perhaps her best performance to date in Olympic distance triathlon as she finished 4th today in the Gold Coast World Triathlon Series just missing out on a podium place.
Unlike most of the athletes in the field, Flora only arrived in Australia 48 hours before the race but showed little signs of jet lag as she exited the water with the lead group of 23 athletes and soon moved to the front of the group. Eventually the pace set by Flora, New Zealand’s experienced triathlete Andrea Hewitt and two time world champion Helen Jenkins from the UK proved decisive as the three of them opened up a slender gap on the 3rd of 8 laps on the bike and on the technical course began to stretch their lead lap by lap.
By transition to the run, the three of them had over a minute lead on a chasing group of 18 that included Gwen Jorgensen of the USA, unbeaten since 2014, and the outstanding runner in the field.
Jenkins took off out of transition and soon opened up a significant gap on Hewitt and Duffy. The question was could the three of them hold off the inevitable charge from Jorgensen. Despite the heat, Jenkins, looking to stake her claim for the one remaining spot on the British team for the Olympics, lost only seconds on Jorgensen over the first 5km and soon distanced Flora and Hewitt. Hewitt opened up a gap on Flora as, on the out and back run course, the two of them watched Jorgensen closing in on them. Jenkins never looked back and won comfortably. Meanwhile with 2 1/2 km to go Flora passed Hewitt but with Jorgensen now just 50 meters behind them. Hewitt recovered on the last hill and with less than a kilometer to go Jorgensen came along side. The three of them entered the finishing area together but unfortunately Flora was unable to match Jorgensen and Hewitt in the sprint with Jorgensen just holding off Hewitt and Flora some 20 meters behind in 4th.
A second 4th place finish in World Series racing this season must have been hard to take after Flora held a podium position in sight for so long but she can take great heart from this performance as pretty much all of the very best female triathletes were in the field and the 5th placed finisher was almost a minute behind Flora and…… Flora’s run looked so much stronger and fluid.
The World Series now moves to Cape Town, South Africa, where Flora now spends a good part of the year training and is currently based. She will effectively be on her “home turf” and will be looking to impress and hopefully take a podium.
For full results go to http://www.triathlon.org and click on the results tab.