Flora Duffy in a class of her own in Hamburg

Flora Duffy - ITU World Triathlon Hamburg 2017

It’s three in a row for Bermuda’s Flora Duffy in Germany

Reigning World Champion in a different class at World Triathlon Hamburg

(CLICK HERE FOR THE ELITE MEN’S REPORT)

This could, perhaps should, be one of the shortest race reports I’ve ever written.

31 seconds doesn’t sound much (though, statistically, it is apparently the largest winning margin in a WTS Sprint Distance event), but it may as well have been 10 minutes. Flora Duffy was effectively in a different post code, in a different league, to everyone else racing today. Swim-Biker? Biker? Triathlete? Spin it however you want, but – to misquote an infamous Norwegian football commentator – “you girls took a hell of a beating!”

The opening 750m swim had little impact, though did have one result we’ve never seen before (or likely will again…)

Aside from seeing Italy’s Alice Betto, typically one of the fastest in the water, fished out of the Alster by a rescue boat, the swim saw little in terms of splits to the field. That didn’t matter to Flora Duffy, who in ‘Brownlee style’, created a break when there wasn’t one. Soon it was the Bermudian World Champion in tandem with Jess Learmonth and Kirsten Kasper at the front, with the gap to everyone else being added to every lap. Simple tactics, just ride faster than almost anyone else in the field can hang with.

Into the second half of the ride and even holding the wheel of Flora was too much for Learmonth and Kasper. Flora hit the gas, took off and the winner was clear long before we’d even reached T2. Seriously impressive, not just for pure biking power, but for the technical skills on the bike that Flora was showing on this tight city centre course. She was flying through the bends with ease.

No so everyone behind, a big crash going through transition resulted in lots of bodies on the blue carpet and unfortunately Cassandra Beaugrand (FRA) and Jure Ide (JPN) being carried away by Paramedics.

While Flora hit T2 alone with a comfortable 5km ahead, losing the wheel of the reigning ITU World Champion meant that the margin that Learmonth and Kasper had over the chasing group was small. Ashleigh Gentle was quickly into second place, but the battle would be for the Bronze. Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Laura Lindemann (GER), Jolanda Annen (SUI) and Katie Zaferes were pretty much stride-for-stride with 300metres to go.

The blue carpet and a loud home crowd got behind ‘their’ athlete and Lindemann, the Junior and Under-23 World Champion, secured her first WTS podium in third.

The day however belongs to Flora Duffy. Three back-to-back, totally dominant, World Triathlon Series victories. Having missed the opening races of the year she is now ‘only’ in fourth in the points standings, but make no mistake, she is the odds-on favourite for a second consecutive World Championship title.

ITU World Triathlon Hamburg – Saturday 15th July 2017
750m / 20km / 5km

ELITE WOMEN

1st – Flora Duffy (BER) – 58:59
2nd – Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) +0.31
3rd – Laura Lindemann (GER) +0.41
4th – Katie Zaferes (USA) +0.42
5th – Jolanda Annen (SUI) +0.49
6th – Andrea Hewitt (NZL) +0.52
7th – Renee Tomlin (USA) +1.03
8th – Charlotte McShane (AUS) +1.04
9th – Kirsten Kasper (USA) +1.05
10th – Rachel Klamer (NED) +1.06

11th – Sophie Coldwell (GBR) +1.10
14th – Lucy Hall (GBR) +1.28
17th – Jessica Learmonth (GBR) +1.36
26th – India Lee (GBR) +2.43
31st – Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) +2.56

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDING AFTER HAMBURG

1st – Katie Zaferes (USA) – 2507
2nd – Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) – 2486
3rd – Kirsten Kasper (USA) – 2478
4th – Flora Duffy (BER) – 2400
5th – Andrea Hewitt (NZL) – 2286