In an all too familiar pattern, it was the Flora Duffy show today as she once again dominated a strong women’s field to take her fourth World Triathlon Series win in a row in Edmonton, Canada.
On a course suited to her exceptional cycling talents, Flora exited the 750m swim with a large group of women but once again had a superb transition.
By the time Flora reached the tough new hill early on the bike course she had already open up a gap on all but one of the chasers. 19 year old Taylor Knibb of the USA, the junior world champion for the past two years. Knibb is no slouch on the bike and infact rode with Flora last year at a World Cup triathlon event in Montreal in which she finished 2nd to Flora. By the end of the first lap they had established and 18 sec lead, lap 2 a 40 sec lead and lap 3 a 1 min and 23 sec lead. That lead held steady for the rest of the bike. Flora though put the foot down on the last lap on the hill and entered transition with about a 20 sec lead on Knibb. Flora’s bike time of 32 min 11 secs for the 20km was a minute and 30 secs fastest than the chasing pack.
With Flora now running either the fastest or one of the fastest run times in WTS races ,despite riding solo or with little help for the bike, there was no chance of her being caught and even though she shut down her effort considerable towards the end and took time to high five the crowd, she still finished exactly a minute ahead of Knibb in 1 hr 22 secs and with the third fastest run time of 17.21 with third place Zaferes, who had to battle to the finish with compatriot Summer Cook, posting the fastest run of 17 min 14 sec to take third in 1:01:51 . Knibb at just 19 years old, took her first podium finish in a remarkable performance. Knibb’s effort meant that the WTS leader, Katie Zaferes ( another US athlete) lost the lead to Flora who took a slim 9 point lead over Zaferes in the overall points , having raced one race less than Zaferes.
Flora’s win has now put her 2nd in the all time WTS gold medal wins behind the USA’s Jorgensen.
Next up for Flora is the next WTS race in Montreal next weekend. After two sprint distance races,the race in Montreal will be Olympic distance over 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run, which will give Flora an even greater opportunity to once again dominate the bike, in particular if, as usually happens, the lead group out of the swim is much smaller over the longer swim course. The course has been redesigned this year through the old city of Montreal and it is quite technical, which will suit Flora and a small lead group on the bike if the race goes according to plan for Flora.
Depending on her result in Montreal, Flora will then decide whether to race the last WTS race in Sweden before the Grand Final in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in September, a race which is viewed as the World Championships and which carries double points for the World Triathlon Series.