Flora Duffy was unable to continue her winning streak today but still produced another excellent race to take 2nd place in the Montreal World Triathlon Series behind Australian Ashleigh Gentle.
Perhaps feeling the effects of the race in Edmonton last week Flora was unable to break away from a group of 12 on the 40km bike and for the first time in the series this year found herself getting off the bike with some of the sport’s stronger runners, including Gentle.
A slow transition saw Flora trailing the lead runners out of T2 and she had to work hard to get to the front with the lead group of three runners that included Gentle and the winner of the first two WTS series races, the experienced New Zealander Andrea Hewitt.
Gentle, a renowned runner who did not race in Edmonton, slowly pulled away from the chasing three that also included Kirsten Kasper and by the midway point had a 41 sec lead over Flora who herself had opened up a narrow gap on Hewitt with the USA’s Kasper falling back to 4th. Flora worked hard to narrow the gap to just 23 secs at the finish but it was not enough to catch an emotional Gentle who had recorded 5 second place finishes since she started racing the WTC circuit in 2011 but had never before recorded a win. Gentle crossed the line in 1hr 59 mins 04 secs with Flora posting a time of 1:59:27 and Hewitt 1:59:48. Joanna Brown, an outstanding young Canadian produced a breakthrough race to outsprint Kasper for 4th.
Flora will know that things might have been different if the lead group of eight that started to pull away on lap 1 of the bike had maintained that momentum as Gentle was in a group that caught the lead group. Sometimes very fine margins come into play in WTS races. Gentle was actually 11 secs down after the swim but the steep and longish T1 run to the bikes allowed her to narrow that gap going into the bike. Then Flora’s uncharacteristically slow T2 in which she had to re rack her bike and stumbled whilst putting on her shoes also cost her important seconds.
For Flora though, this race will be a lesson well learnt and showed her that she is right up there with the best runners in the sport.
With the USA’s Katie Zaferes only finishing in 9th place today Flora’s lead in the series has stretched out to 654 points over Gentle who moves into 2nd place over Zaferes.
With just two races left in the series and the Grand Final in Rotterdam offering 1 1/2 the normal prize points (not 2 times the points as previously reported), Flora will need to do the maths to see if she should go to Sweden for the last race before the Grand Final.
Gentle showed today that she might well be Flora’s biggest threat for the WTS overall title but so much will depend on whether Gentle can stay with her on the bike.
Flora will however take note that there were a number of factors that might have played out differently, especially the failure of the leading 8 to get away and hopefully she will be encouraged with her run performance as she recorded the 2nd fastest run today even though she was perhaps not at her best. That said, Gentle was also suffering from a heavy cold going into today’s race so could she have run quicker ?
There is still alot to be decided in what should prove to be an exciting finale to the season.
Full results at :