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