Flora Duffy has returned to Boulder, Colorado from her winter training base in Cape Town to continue her preparations for the summer Olympics and on retaining her Xterra World Championship title.
Flora leaves Cape Town ranked number 1 in the ITU World Triathlon Series after 2 x 4th place finishes and her 3rd place in Cape Town. As the series leader and XTerra World Champion Flora is understandably garnering alot of attention in the triathlon world, in particular because of her aggressive racing style that is putting alot of pressure on the strongest runners in the field. With a tough bike course in Rio and the possibility of a group breaking away on the bike I expect alot of triathletes will be working on their bike strength in the next few months. Although it was Flora’s astonishing swim / bike that got the most attention, to me what was most impressive was her improving run as Flora recorded the 3rd fastest run split (just 10 seconds slower than winner and renowned runner Non Stanford ) despite swimming and riding solo for the first two legs which would have taken alot more out of her than her competitors.
Here is an extract from the ITU update on the current world rankings :
Flora Duffy (BER) had an exciting race in Cape Town. Based in nearby Stellenbosch for much of the year, Flora’s local knowledge saw her make a tactical directional decision in the swim which paid off, leaving her with a significant gap over the main field at T1. Having finished fourth in the first two races of the season, Flora was motivated to reach the podium and kept up the attack on the bike. When she was caught by the huge chase pack on arriving in T2 that looked in question. Always a strong swim-biker, Duffy has developed as a complete triathlete and despite her efforts on the bike, the third fastest run of the day brought her home to a bronze medal. The new leader of the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, Duffy is the only female athlete to have finished in the top ten in all three races on 2016. Flora crossed the line eight seconds ahead of Anne Haug (GER)… which is exactly the net time gain she made over the German athlete within transitions. Those seconds matter.
Flora also revealed this week how local knowledge and smart tactics can give one the edge you need to make the podium. Boyfriend Dan Hugo, who hails from the Cape Town area, advised Flora to start on the far left away from the harbour oncoming currents. Swimming alone out of the current Flora emerged from the water with a 30 second lead, almost unheard of in these elite races over just 750 meters swim.
Flora is next scheduled to race in the Yokahama, Japan leg of the World Triathlon Series on the weekend of MAY 14-15th.
After yesterday’s football results, which saw Burnley win and so secure their return first time around to the Premiership, it has been a good couple of weeks for the Duffy household as Charlie Duffy, Flora’s dad, is a passionate Burnley supporter although daughter Flora is a Manchester United ( and Burnley !!) supporter.