Flora Duffy once again displayed just why she’s a three-time world champion with a dominant display at her home race, WTCS Bermuda.
In three weeks time, the Olympic Champion will find herself in pole position as she faces up against Georgia Taylor-Brown in the race for the world championship title.
Swim – No doubt over Duffy’s intentions
Whilst the weather had taken a slight turn by the time the women’s race got underway, the beautiful swim course in Bermuda looked no less inviting as the athletes took their marks on the pontoon.
In the water, Olympic Champion Flora Duffy quelled any concerns surrounding her race preparedness after the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships last week as she quickly got to work on whittling down the field from the first few strokes of the swim.
Up front, Dame Duffy was aided by the Italian Bianca Seregni, with the duo stringing the swim out from the first buoy and exiting the first lap of the water with a small advantage over Vittoria Lopes of Brazil and Summer Rappaport of the USA closely behind.
On the second lap, the gaps remained largely the same to the rest of the field, with the exception of Sophie Coldwell, who worked her way up to turn the early quartet of leaders into a group of five.
Exiting the water, this group of five were separated by around six seconds, with Emma Jackson of Australia and Laura Lindemann the first of the chasers into T1, with around a 20 second deficit to Seregni. Behind them, podium contenders Taylor Spivey and Taylor Knibb of the US and Beth Potter of Great Britain were around 30 seconds adrift.
Bike – Duffy caught by Kingma as Knibb shows class
Heading out of T1, Duffy quickly made it clear that she was happy to ride the 40km solo, just as she had done previously in 2018, leaving transition in haste and quickly putting close to 15 seconds into her compatriots from the swim. Behind, Maya Kingma (NED) was making her way through the field with some impressive riding.
Whilst everyone’s eyes were on Flora Duffy upfront, Kingma quietly snuck up on the defending champion, as she put in a momentous effort to bridge her way up to the double Commonwealth Games champion.
As this pair pummelled their way around the eight lap course in testing conditions, the chase pack continued to drop further behind, with the gap going out to over a minute halfway throughout the bike. With the leading duo riding so strong, it seemed improbable that anyone else would factor at the front of the race.
Hold your horses. Recently crowned IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Taylor Knibb, had something to say about the breakaway and was eager to make herself heard. After bridging to the chase pack, Knibb proceeded to drop the group and continued to make headway by eating into the lead of the duo up front throughout the first half of the bike.
Over the last couple of laps, Duffy and Kingma found a second wind and turned on the burners once again, with the gap down to just over 25 seconds back to Knibb after lap four seemingly refusing to drop any lower before reaching transition. In the end, Knibb came into T2 43 seconds behind Kingma and Duffy.
In the chase pack, there was no major reshuffling before T2, as the big names, such as Potter, Coldwell and Spivey, albeit two minutes down, were still running for the podium with the knowledge that Maya Kingma wasn’t at full fitness after an ankle injury in the build-up to race week.
Run – Duffy reigns supreme
Out at the front of the race, Flora Duffy really settled into her stride from the moment she set foot in transition, as she quickly dispensed of Maya Kingma and set out on the 10km run to victory.
Behind her, Kingma seemed to be wincing from the moment she set out on the run. After Knibb made the pass early on, Beth Potter caught the Dutch athlete halfway through as she moved up into third place.
As Duffy extended her lead, the battle for the rest of the podium was intensifying. Whilst Knibb looked to be home and dry in second, with an unassailable gap to Duffy in first, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion still had her work cut out to keep Potter at bay.
For Potter, Bermuda was her third podium of the year, with the 2016 Rio Olympian so far making a firm case for her seat on the plane to Paris for the GB Triathlon team in 2024. As well as her bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games, Potter also finished second in Hamburg and third in Montreal.
Post race reactions
Running down the blue carpet to cheers of adulation, Duffy couldn’t have envisioned a better first race at home since winning the Olympic Games. Post-race, Dame Duffy was quick to applaud Kingma for her work on the bike, saying “she is so good technically and I knew we would ride well together”.
Duffy spoke of her pre-race expectations, saying that “it was really difficult to keep my composure” but that she “really wanted to just enjoy and make the most of this crowd”. Ahead of the final race of the season, Duffy acknowledged that “it will be a good battle in Abu Dhabi” up against GTB, but that she’s ready for it.
Knibb, who ran into second, said “there were good parts and parts that I need to work on”, stating that Flora “taught us all a lesson here”. Just ten days after the race in St George, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion can be proud of her performance which above all else proves her versatility and the options open to her over the next few years.
For Beth Potter, her third podium of the season was a great boost ahead of Abu Dhabi, saying “I’m glad I came to Bermuda” and that whilst she was excited to go home she was ready to go for the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
WTCS Bermuda 2022 Results
Sunday November 6 2022 – ELITE WOMEN
1.5km / 40k / 10k
- 1. Flora Duffy (BER) – 02:01:26
- 2. Taylor Knibb (USA) – 02:03:04
- 3. Beth Potter (GBR) – 02:03:17
- 4. Laura Lindemann (GER) – 02:04:00
- 5. Taylor Spivey (USA) – 02:04:05
- 6. Maya Kingma (NED) – 02:04:26
- 7. Maria Casillas Garcia (ESP) – 02:04:35
- 8. Verena Steinhauser (ITA) – 02:04:38
- 9. Luisa Baptista (BRA) – 02:04:53
- 10. Bianca Seregni (ITA) – 02:05:01
WTCS Rankings Standings after Bermuda
- 1. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) – 3925
- 2. Flora Duffy (BER) – 3856
- 3. Beth Potter (GBR) – 3369
- 4. Laura Lindemann (GER) – 3200
- 5. Taylor Knibb (USA) – 3190
- 6. Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) – 3181
- 7. Taylor Spivey (USA) – 3105
- 8. Sophie Coldwell (GBR) – 2964
- 9. Maya Kingma (NED) – 2571
- 10. Miriam Casillas Garcia (ESP) – 2350