Flora Duffy will take to the start line at the World Triathlon Series next stop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada this Saturday 29th August 2017 at 1:06PM Edmonton time (4:06 Bermuda time) full of confidence after dominating the three previous race series events.
After sitting out the first two events due to injury, Flora won the Yokahama, Leeds and Hamburg races and a win in Edmonton will either take her top of the World Series points or close to the top depending on other results. Flora is the World Series defending champion.
Some might have doubted whether Flora’s tactics of powering away from the field on the bike ( sometimes dragging a couple of others with her) would work in a sprint event such as Hamburg. Unlike in Yokahama and Leeds, Flora was not able to open up a slim margin over the main contenders on the 750m swim. However, not content to be involved in a runfest at the end, Flora again went out bravely from lap one of the 20km bike and the huge chasing pack could just not get organised to chase her down.
The key to Flora’s success is that the pace she is setting at the front is so hard that the chasing pack are finding it hard to match that pace. Logically the best cyclists in the group would cover any moves by Flora but the reality is that by the time they react ,Flora has the gap she needs and by the time the chasing group gets organised it is too late. In addition, these lap courses through city streets are technical and Flora has great technique and does not have the burden of the chasers who have to deal with the turns and often narrow roads alot more carefully when in close proximity.
In a cycling race, it would be almost impossible for one rider to open up the type of gaps that Flora is opening up and sustain it to the finish. Even three or four riders would have difficulty doing that. In addition, the advantage that Flora has getting through the technical parts of the course would not really be that relevant in a pure cycling race where all of the riders are proficient enough on the bike to handle large packs going into corners at speed.
And… in triathlon there is also the run to think about and it would appear that very few of the better triathlete cyclists are willing to put in the work to match Flora’s pace and reel her back in because if they do they will be setting up others to outrun them. At the end of the day it would seem that the fear of not making the podium or producing a strong result is more in the minds of these chasing triathletes than catching Flora.
It is hard to believe that an organised pack would not catch Flora although that though must be entering some triathletes and their coaches minds ! Added to that is the knowledge that Flora can run pretty much with everyone other than Jorgensen ( who is not competing at present) and it leaves Flora’s competitors with a real dilemma.
So….expect more of the same in Edmonton. The course has a somewhat challenging hill in it which will give Flora, and the one or two athletes who might choose to go with her, a real chance of once again opening up an insurmountable gap going into the run.
As I said before Hamburg, I would love Flora to win getting off the bike with a group of established runners, which I think she can do, especially if she can sit in the pack on the bike and rest her legs which is something she has not been able to do much in the three races she has won. But if the swim / bike formula works again this week again then that’s great too.
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