Flora Duffy executed the perfect race today, Saturday 16th September, in Rotterdam, to not only win the Grand Final, the unofficial world championships of triathlon, but also finish the World Series with a perfect 5200 points after 6 wins.
Almost predictably Jessica Learmonth of the UK pushed the pace on the 1500m swim to split the field. Flora, in her own words, went into the “red zone” to stay with the small group who had around 20 seconds going into T1.
Flora wasted no time in driving the pace on lap 1 of the 40km bike and on the wet and technical course her bike skills were very evident. Only Learmonth and the USA’s Katie Zaferes were able to stay with Flora and by lap 1 they had 33 seconds on the chase pack. The gap continued to grow and by T2 the three had 1 min 30 secs on the chasers.
Zaferes exited T2 first but Flora soon passed her and then upped the pace to gradually pull away crossing the line 53 secs ahead of Zaferes with Learmonth holding on and taking bronze.
Flora’s six wins in a season was just one short of the record of 7 set by Gwen Jorgensen in 2015 and that despite missing the first two races due to injury.
Flora has changed the face of women’s triathlon this year producing such strong all round performances that she has left coaches of the world’s leading triathletes wondering how they are going to beat her. In the past Flora’s achilles heel was her run but this year she has shown that she can run with the best and today, despite slowing to acknowledge the crowd, she recorded one of the day’s fastest run times. What is frightening is that Flora believes she can improve her running further.
Congratulations Flora !
For full results ( yet to be published) and splits go to http://www.triathlon.org.