Flora Duffy will race this weekend in Rotterdam, Netherlands as she looks to secure her second consecutive International Triathlon Union’s World Series gold medal and her second consecutive Grand Final (unofficially the World Championships race within the World Series) gold medal.
After a brilliant 2016 season in which she won the World Series, the Grand Final in Mexico and the XTerra ( off road) World Championships, Flora has taken her performances to an even higher level in 2017 as in the six races she has entered in the world series she won five and finished 2nd once. But what has really caught the headlines in 2017 has been the manner in which she has won these races leading from the front and winning by margins of over a minute which in World Series racing is considered a large margin. In the process Flora has established the largest winning margin in World Series history and equalled Rio Olympic gold medallist Gwen Jorgensen’s most victories in a season.
Rotterdam will undoubtedly be Flora’s biggest test of the season as not only will the Grand Final feature the strongest field of the year but it will likely also see triathlon powerhouse countries like the USA, Great Britain and Australia adopting team tactics. Their main aim will be to ensure that even if Flora is able to get away with a small group on the swim that they use team tactics to reel her in early on the bike in the hope that their better runners can outrun Flora over the final 10km. However, Flora has shown that she can run with the best so even if a large group starts the run together expect Flora to be in the mix at the end.
If Ashleigh Gentle of Australia, currently 2nd in the series and the only person to beat Flora this year, were to top the podium then Flora only needs to finish 7th to take the World Series title. However, Flora will not be looking to simply do enough to finish top 7 as she looks to defend her Grand Final title.
Should Flora win then she will have won an unprecedented 6 World Series races in a season. Flora has already established herself as one of the greatest triathletes in the history of the sport and when she waits on the swim start pontoon this Saturday 16th September at 3.51PM Rotterdam time she will be looking to enhance her standing further with a gold medal performance.
To follow Flora’s race go to http://www.triathlon.org and either sign up to watch the race live on Triathlon TV or follow her on the race blog or related social media such as the ITU’s Twitter feed. Flora’s race will start at 10.51 AM Bermuda time and will be preceded by the Mens Final in which a resurgent Jonny Brownlee will be looking to forget the nightmare finish in the 2016 Grand Final when he succumbed to the heat when in the lead less than 1/2 km from the finish.
Both finals will also be televised live on the BBC if you have that feed.