After sitting out the first two ITU Triathlon World Series due to a hip injury, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy made a dramatic comeback in race 3 of the series as she blew away a stellar field in Yokahama, Japan to win by a record margin of nearly two minutes.
Flora then went on to an equally emphatic win at Leeds winning with over 1 min 20 secs to spare and finishing over 4 minutes ahead of most of the pre race favorites.
This afternoon ( Saturday 15th July AT 9.10 Bermuda time), Flora lines up for the Hamburg leg of the series looking to make it three in a row. As with last season, in her first two races in the 2017 series Flora used a slender lead out of the swim over other race favorites to team up with one or two swim / bike specialists and open up a significant margin going into the run knowing that she could easily outrun the athletes with her. This year she has backed up her swim / bike with a much improved run, recording two of the fastest run times in the field despite slowing in the finishing straight to accept the crowd’s accolades.
It is surely only a matter of time before Flora finds herself in a larger group coming of the bike that will include some class runners. I for one don’t care how Flora wins, so long as she wins, but it would certainly be a good test for her if she came off the bike in Hamburg with some strong runners. And if Flora was to outrun them then she would know that she can win either way and that would be a massive further boost for her confidence. Maybe today will be that day.
Here is the extract from the ITU website of Flora’s pre race interview :
On whether last season was the best ever for her:
“Absolutely. I think it will be pretty hard to top last year. Throughout the year I just kept doing one race after the other, and then I found myself in Cozumel, on the Grand Final, winning and winning the world title. It was incredible”.
On her performance on the start of this season:
“I am very happy. The start of the season was not very good for me, as I had a pretty bad injury and I had to pull out from Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast, so I was not very sure before Yokohama, but i think the extra rest actually helped me. I won my first two races, in Yokohama and Leeds, but I still have a lot to catch up the others”.
On what she needed to improve this season after winning the World Title in 2016:
“I had an injury at the beginning of the season, si I guess that my running was improving until then but I went too far. There are some really good runners on the circuit, like Gwen Jorgensen, so I thought I needed to improve mine a bit. It’s a long term plan, to improve my running for Tokyo 2020. Hamburg is usually a pretty fast course when it comes to the running, so we’ll see on Saturday so he race comes.”
On whether she likes to be the favourite for a race:
“Being the favourite definitely adds pressure and expectation on you, you have a few more obligations before the race, like coming to the press conference or doing some interviews, but it’s all about managing that. It is a privilege to be here and to be one of the favourites for the race, I really enjoy it, it’s part of the process”.
On still competing also on the cross triathlon world championships:
“Both events complement each other, but at this moment my focus is 100% on ITU and ITU races. It’s a bit tricky to race both events, makes my season a bit longer, but at the same time for me is fun, it’s different and it helps me to keep fresher and happier on the sport”.
On her expectations for the race on Saturday:
“Of course I’d love to win, but lots of the girls here have the same goal and expectations. I need to do the all three legs really well. It will be great to win but if I could get on the podium will also help my chances on the overall ranking, as well as a top 10 finish”.
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