The temperature was hot and humid and there were talks about reducing the race to a sprint distance, but the soaring temperatures did not daunt Flora Duffy from Bermuda who executed a fantastic race to take the win and world title, with USA’s Gwen Jorgensen taking second.
Because when you have just won your first Triathlon World Championship and the first ever for your country, ya gotta do a lil skip down the finish chute. Well done, @floraduffy! #BER #wtscozumel #triathlon #worldchampion
A photo posted by World Triathlon (@worldtriathlon) on Sep 17, 2016 at 5:29pm PDT
Duffy entered the race as the series leader knowing she had to come at least second to take the world title; if Jorgensen won and Duffy came in third the title would be Jorgensen’s, her third in row and her place in the history book assured forever.
But it wouldn’t be Jorgensen’s day. After a solid swim Duffy came out the water third behind Brits Jess Learmonth and Lucy Hall. Jorgensen was hot on their heels but couldn’t quite make the lead group and the trio made a break and were soon 20 seconds up.
The three leaders worked together well and gradually extended the lead despite the hot temperatures, and by the time they entered T2 they were a minute up on the chase group, which included Jorgensen, and Brits Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins. Sadly a crash on the bike led to Olympic bronze medallist GB’s Vicky Holland to retire.
A clean transition for Duffy meant she left T2 a minute up on Jorgensen and had everything to play for – a title was within her grasp. And she set out as if she meant business, looking strong throughout the run soon creating a gap on Learmonth and Hall.
Although Jorgensen fought her way through to second she looked like she was struggling and never managed to gain on Duffy who maintained her one minute lead and take the victory and the series win.
“I am speechless. I have no idea how that happened. The perfect day came when I needed it.” She said.
She was grateful of the assistance from the British duo of Learmonth and Hall, adding: “It was really great working with them , and I thank them for working with me. In triathlon you want to make the bike count.
“Anything is possible. I hope this inspires, no matter where you’re from, a little country, you can be up there with the best.”
Jorgensen said: “Flora had a great race, she was better today than me. Flora has been great this year, she’s really pushed me to be a better athlete.”
It was a great, brave, tactical race from Flora Duffy and her series ends with two WTS wins as well as two other podium finishes, and a world title.
Gwen Jorgensen finished the series in second, while Japan’s Ai Ueda came third in the series after a fantastic run meant she finished 5th behind Helen Jenkins in WTS Cozumel. Jenkins just missed out on a podium finish when Australia’s Charlotte McShane out sprinted her to the line.
But the congratulations today need to go to Flora Duffy.