FLORA FINISHES 2ND OVERALL AFTER THIRD DAY OF RACING IN $500,000 ISLAND HOUSE TRIATHLON

Despite a strong effort on the bike today in the final event of three,  Flora was not able to prevent Gwen Jorgensen from taking her 2nd Island House Triathlon title but her effort meant that she finished 2nd overall with the UK’s Holly Lawrence taking 3rd. After 2nd place finishes on days 1 and 2 Flora had hoped to finish with a win on day 3 over the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run but despite opening up a lead on Jorgensen going into the run, the American caught her towards the end of the run.

 

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FLORA DUFFY ON THE BIKE ON DAY ONE OF THE ISLAND HOUSE TRIATHLON THREE DAY EVENT

South Africa’s Richard Murray as expected won the mens event.

Full results of day 3 and final cumulative results were not posted at the time of this post. Go HERE to catch the full results later by scrolling down to Island House Triathlon with results then in the red and black box on the right of the page.

To see video interviews with the athletes go HERE to the Island House Triathlon twitter website.

 

KAREN SMITH AND MATHEW OLIVIERA TAKE AON NATIONAL SPRINT TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2016

On a warm day at Clearwater Beach today, Karen Smith and youngster Matthew Oliveira dominated proceedings to comfortably take the AON 2016 National Sprint Triathlon Championships.

16 year old Matthew had a strong 750m swim exiting the water just behind Jon Herring but the junior, who has been making a name for himself on the local cycling scene, caught Jon on the first of 4 x 5km bike laps and slowly stretched out that lead going into T2. He did not falter on the run, crossing the line in 1 hr 03 mins 35 secs with Jon, a former winner of these championships, comfortably in 2nd place in 1:06:52 and Matt Thompson 3rd in 1:08:47.

Making a welcome return to something close to top form after injury, Karen trailed 16 year old junior Lyndsey Palmer out of the water but soon took command of a race that she has won on multiple occasions. The threat from Ashley Estwanik, who was probably partly feeling the effects of her 2nd place at Ironman 70.3 Miami, never materialized as Karen entered T2 with a comfortable lead and after a solid run was able to hold off the fast finishing Ashley. Karen finished in 1:09:38 with Ashley crossing the line in 1:11:58 and Lynsey holding on for an excellent 3rd place in 1:13:50.

The junior races that preceded the adult championships showcased some of Bermuda’s talented up and coming juniors. 8 year old Rory Fleming not only won the 7-8 year old boys age group category but was the first finisher amongst 7 to 10 year olds over 100m swim, 5km bike and 1km run in 19 min 45 secs. Eddie Norman (10) took the 10-11 boys age group in 19 :55 and was 2nd amongst 7-10 year olds.

Jasmine Hasselkus (9) has emerged as a very bright junior prospect and she was the first girl in the 9-10 age group and 3rd overall amongst 8 -10 year olds finishing just behind Eddie Norman in 20:05. Charlotte Millington, despite some mishaps, finished the race to take top spot amongst the 7-8 year old girls.

Two other outstanding juniors, Tommy Marshall and Zoe Hasselkus, took the boys and girls 11-12 top spots over 200m swim, 10km bike and 2km run in 31:29 and 37:08.

Jessie Marshall (41 min 07 secs) and Nick Pilgrim (35:34) were the 13 to 15 age group winners over 375m, 10km and 2.5km.

More age group and junior results to follow.

FLORA 2ND TODAY AND 3RD OVERALL AFTER ROUND 2 OF THE ISLAND HOUSE TRIATHLON

Flora Duffy sits in 3rd place overall going into the final sprint distance race tomorrow in the $500,000 Island House Triathlon. After finishing 2nd in the time trial yesterday to the UK’s Holly Lawrence, Flora was again 2nd today in the Enduro event, but this time to Olympic gold medallist Gwen Jorgensen, who had a very strong race to take a commanding lead going into tomorrow’s final non drafting 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

There was very little time difference between Jorgensen ( 10 min 55 secs), Lawrence (10:50) and Flora (10:51) after the first 750m swim but on the first 5km run Jorgensen (17:05) as expected opened up a big gap on Lawrence (18:00) and Flora ( 17:55) who were racing neck and neck.

Lawrence, who had an outstanding bike yesterday, again blew away the field over the 40km bike with a time of 1hr 00 mins 11 secs against Flora’s time of 1:01:08 and Jorgensen’s time of 1:01:58. With little separating these top three contenders it was Jorgensen who then took control, surprisingly outswimming Flora and Lawrence who both had 10:50 times for the 750m second swim with Jorgensen clocking 10:27.

Jorgensen then turned on the afterburners for the 2nd 5km run with a very fast 16:52 with Lawrence fading badly on her weakest discipline (18:53) allowing Flora (17:31) to pull back valuable seconds.

Jorgensen crossed the line in 1 hr 59 mins 11 secs with Flora in 2nd in 2:00:20. Australia’s Ellie Salthouse had a great 2nd half of the race to finish in 2:oo:41 and just edge out Lawrence who was 4th in 2:00:44.

The field is now cut to the top ten overall and Jorgensen will be very hard to beat as she leads with a combined time over the first two days of 2 hrs 56 mins and 53 secs with Lawrence now in 2nd in 2 hrs 57 mins 38 secs and Flora dropping to 3rd in 2:57:48.

With a 45 secs lead over Lawrence and just short of a minute lead over Flora, Jorgensen will start as the favorite tomorrow. With the swim evenly matched, Lawrence will need a very special bike to claw back 45 secs from Jorgensen and also give herself a big enough cushion going into the run to then stay in first place overall. Lawrence might take the win again tomorrow but unless Jorgensen has a melt down after so much hard racing I can’t see her losing 45 secs to Lawrence. Meanwhile Flora must be really feeling the effects of XTerra Worlds and a hectic few months of racing and travelling and it will take a very special effort on her part to take back the ten seconds she needs to finish 2nd overall. She might well finish 2nd tomorrow ahead of Jorgensen but I think it will be hard to overtake Lawrence on combined time on the run if, as most expect, Lawrence has a big lead going into the final 5km. However, Lawrence clearly faded badly on yesterday’s 2nd run so it could be a very tight finish.

In 4th place going into tomorrow is Ellie Salthouse but with a combined time of :2 : 59 :23 she, as well as the other final 6 competitors will be very hard pressed to catch Jorgensen, Lawrence and Flora.

In the men’s race South African Richard Murray produced two very strong runs today to win comfortably with Cam Dye in 2nd and Terenzo Bonzzone in 3rd.

Murray, third yesterday, has what now appears to be an insurmountable lead going into tomorrow with a combined time of 2:42:53 with  Dye moved right up the field into 2nd in 2:43:58 and Bonzzone 3rd in 2:44:11 and the surprising overnight leader after day 1,Aaron Royle, now in 4th in 2:45:02. Brent McMahon of Canada was a big mover today and moves into 5th overall in the combined standings with 2:45:15.

FLORA DUFFY IN 2ND AFTER ROUND ONE OF ISLAND HOUSE TRIATHLON

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FLORA EXITING THE SWIM TODAY IN NASSAU BAHAMAS

Flora Duffy got off to a strong start today in The Island House Triathlon, Bahamas which brings forty of the world’s best triathletes, from multiple triathlon racing distance backgrounds, to test themselves against each other and the clock in a new and exciting triathlon format . The athletes  compete over three days in individual time trials, enduro and sprint non-drafting formats to determine the best overall athlete. The prize pool of $500,000 is  a record for any event of its type in the world.

Day one TODAY saw the athletes race each discipline 750 m swim, 20km bike and 5km run completely on their own as individual time trials so no drafting was possible.

In a women’s field of the very best triathletes in the world Flora exited the water in 10.21 which was the 3rd fastest swim time but World Ironman 70.3 World Champion Holly Lawrence of the UK and Olympic Champion Jorgensen were within 3 seconds of Flora’s time. In winning the World Ironman 70.3 World Championships Lawrence destroyed the field on the bike and she showed the same form today as she recorded a very fast 28 :31. Perhaps feeling the effects of her efforts at XTerra World Championships last weekend together with the travel from Hawaii to Bahamas, Flora recorded a respectable but not outstanding time of 29:25 which was the 6th fastest bike time which left her trailing Lawrence by almost 50 secs. Meanwhile Jorgensen lost time on both Lawrence and Flora as the non drafting time trial format did not suit her as she is not as strong a cyclist as the other two. Her time of 30:28 was only the 14th fastest bike. With the combined time over the three events counting for overall positions, Flora was able to claw back some seconds on the run with a 17:44 ( the second fastest run split) to Lawrence’s 18:02. However Lawrence’s overall time of 56:54 against Flora’s 57:28 means Flora trails Lawrence by 34 seconds going into round 2, the Enduro, tomorrow, with Jorgensen, who as expected had a blistering run of 16:50 a further 13 seconds back as she finished in 57:41.

These three have slightly distanced themselves from the other competitors with 4th place Helle Frederiksen finishing in 50:oo:09.

Tomorrow is a brutal day which will really test the professionals as they will swim 750m, run 5km, bike 40km, swim 750m and run 5km. These distances will to some extent favor the longer distance triathletes who may recover quicker from day 1 and will mostly have more staying power than sprint speed. Lawrence will be looking to use her strong swim and especially strong bike to extend her lead and Flora will need a good 40km bike to try and match her and then make up time on the runs.

Only the top 10 women ( and top 10 men in the mens event) will go into Sunday’s final race, a sprint over 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run, where the athletes (separate men and women races) will again start together but will not be able to draft on the bike.

After day 1 the men’s race has a surprise leader  with Aaron Royle finishing in 52:58 just six seconds ahead of New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone and South African Richard Murray in 3rd a further 6 seconds back. The mens race looks to be much tighter and places could well change more dramatically as athletes scramble to make the last 10 into Sunday.

To see full results from day 1 ( including the mens results) and see tomorrow and Sunday’s results and combined times go HERE

To go to the race site go HERE

AN EVENING WITH FLORA DUFFY – NOVEMBER 4TH, 2016

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FLORA DUFFY – catch me if you can !!

For Flora Duffy, 2016 has been an astonishing year and on Friday 4th November those people who are quick enough to get tickets will get a chance to rub shoulders and listen to Bermuda’s newest world champion as Flora will be the guest of honour at a wine tasting evening (see details below) . Flora will talk about her extraordinary year and what it has taken to become the No. 1 triathlete in the world, with all of the ups and downs she has been through, including a spell away from the sport, since in 2006 as a promising youngster she took a silver medal at the junior world championships and turned professional.
In the life of a professional athlete there can be many highs and lows and the margins between failure and success are often very small. Sometimes the pieces all fall into place and sometimes they don’t. Going into the 2016 Olympics in Rio Flora, with her fearless racing style, had turned the world of professional women’s triathlon on its head and she arrived in Rio with the weight of the expectations of her small island home on her shoulders. But in the end the pieces just did not fall into place on the day because if they had, Flora would have brought home Bermuda’s first Olympic medal since Clarence Hill’s legendary bronze medal. Nevertheless an 8th place finish in a field of 75 of the best triathletes in the world on an off day was still something to be proud of.
But since a very young age Flora showed the mental strength and dedication which combined with her athletic talent was always someday going to make her a champion. She had already twice been crowned XTerra (off road) triathlon world champion, but in the world of professional triathlon the two titles that really matter are the ITU World Series and Grand Final crown and the Ironman World Championship crown.
Still wondering what had gone wrong in Rio, Flora headed to the blistering heat of Cozumel, Mexico with her whole season in the balance. It was here that the Grand Final of the ITU World Series would take place and although Flora was leading the series everyone knew that the Olympic champion, Gwen Jorgensen, who had been virtually unbeatable all year, could take the title with a win at the Grand Final and very few in the know were betting against Gwen. By being ranked number 1 in the world going into the Grand Final Flora had by her own admission exceeded all of her expectations but deep down she must have known that if she failed to capture the crown after her Rio disappointment it would all be a case of what might have been.
But it was in the cauldron of Cozumel, in the Grand Final of one of the fastest growing sports in the world infront of a worldwide television audience of millions that a calm and confident Flora showed the mental strength and ability to suffer like very few can as she executed the perfect race and the pieces of the puzzle fell perfectly into place. Leading from the front in her usual  manner  she destroyed the field to win by over a minute from the strongest field of triathletes assembled in 2016 to become the triathlon Grand Final champion and the overall 2016 Points Series World Champion.
And just this week Flora made history again by demolishing the field to win her third Xterra World Championships in a row in a sport in which she has become virtually unbeatable in recent years.
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Flora’s smile and look of disbelief as she crossed the line in Cozumel captured the hearts of Bermuda and by all accounts the hearts of millions across the globe who admired her  “ from the front “ racing style that put everything on the line. But she also sent out a message that hard work and dedication can bring great success no matter where you are from and also showed that our little sports mad island can produce world champions.
Tickets for “An evening with Flora Duffy” from 5.30 – 8PM on Friday 4th November at the Bermuda Society of Arts can be ordered via on line payment to Bermuda Triathlon Association HSBC Acct # 010-226678-001 – Reference: Your Last Name – Flora. You should then EMail : btamembership@gmail.com for your ticket confirmation. Tickets are $60 for adults and $20 for those under 18. Tickets include wine tasting and the chance to bid for some prizes. Proceeds will go to the Bermuda Triathlon Asociation to assist with its programmes.