Flora Duffy went a long way today to put the disappointment of the Olympics behind her as she produced another astonishing display to destroy the field at the Triathlon World Championships.
Flora got the perfect start as she exited the water with the British pair of Lucy Hall and Jessica Learmoth, two renowned cyclists with whom she made a break when winning the ITU World Series race in Stockholm. In that race the British pair received instructions not to assist Flora but this time they did just enough of the work to make the difference and gradually they opened up over a minute lead on a chasing group of twelve that included Olympic gold medallist and pre race favorite Gwen Jorgensen of the USA. Going into transition the lead was around 1 minute 10 secs and with very hot conditions the money was on Jorgensen once again reeling in Flora. It soon became clear however that Jorgensen was not closing the gap on Flora at all, despite moving into 2nd place.
As the 10km run went on and Flora got the splits showing that Jorgensen would not catch her , she kept her pace and it soon also became clear that barring a melt down the gold medal and World Series title was hers. There was no meltdown as Flora posted a faster run split to win by over 1 minute 30 secs.
Flora’s performance, where she once again led from start to finish in brutal conditions, will rank as one of the greatest performances in triathlon. Flora now becomes the only woman to have won both the road and off road triathlon world championships.
As a young girl Flora showed the drive and ambition to one day be on top of this podium and after so many ups and down since she first turned professional, this win will be all the sweeter.
I recall when Flora finished 18th in Canada in the Quebec Provincial Championships as a junior just before heading off to school in the UK. She was disraught and told me that she didn’t think she could be good enough. I told her at the time that I knew she had it in her to be the best and she has proved me right. Charlie and Maria, who have done so much to help her get to this point, deserve so much credit as do all of those in Bermuda and abroad who have worked to help Flora achieve her dream. Bermuda is so proud of Flora, not just for her astonishing achievement but for the way she has represented Bermuda in such a classy manner and shown the world that it is the best swim, bike and runner, not just runner, who is the best triathlete in the world ; and her name is Flora Duffy !!
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