TraithlonWorld.com recaps the women's championship at the ITU WTS Grand Final and speak with champion Flrora Duffy and runner-up Gwen Jorgensen.
September 18, 2016 | NEWS|
It was the race she was supposed to execute in Rio. Flora Duffy (BER) burst into the conversation of potential Olympic medalist earlier this year as she used her incredible bike prowess at the WTS Gold Coastrace to drive a breakaway that led to Helen Jenkins' win - American Gwen Jorgensen's first defeat in over two years.
Duffy followed that race up with a number of top finishes and rolled into Cozumel for the Grand Final in first place in the standings. A win or runner-up finish would be enough to take the WTS championship - for Jorgensen to unseat her the two-time defending world champ would have to win and Duffy would have to finish third or lower.
Nothing was stopping the woman from Bermuda today, though. We recap the race below - first, though, we've got some thoughts from both Duffy and Jorgensen - words that prove just how amazing a year it's been for Duffy, and how classy Jorgensen is.
This was my Rio race. It didn't quite go as planned in Rio ... I'm glad the Rio race happened today. It's almost equally as important. It clinched the world title, which is mindblowing to me.
It's really exciting to win [for Bermuda] - there were quite a few Bermudians who came to do the age group race and a couple of juniors, so I had a whole Bermuda contingent cheering me on - the flags everywhere. It's pretty cool and I hope it inspires more Bermudians to take up the sport. It puts us on the map. We're a little country, but we have a lot of passion. I think everyone back home is going to be pretty excited.
This year kind of blew my expectations out of the water. I think it's going to take a couple of days to process what just happened. It's what you train for - races like this - and then it just happens.
I said the whole year that if I won nothing but the Olympics I'd be happy. Obviously I'm not too happy today, but Flora outperformed me today. She had a great swim, a great bike and I think she outran me - she had a phenomenal performance and she deserved it today.
I think after the Olympics everyone has some highs and lows - Flora probably had stress as well after the Olympics. I think the best moment of the day for me was my training partner Charlotte McShane had her first elite podium finish. I'm just so happy for her. She's pushed me to become a better athlete. She's always running with me and she's always there in training and I'm just so happy to finally see her perform. She does a lot in training and I'm happy to see her perform on race day.
Obviously you want to win, but this year the sole focus was Rio. I came out here and gave it my all and Flora was better and she was a deserving athlete.
Women's race recap
Duffy's amazing day was set up from the end of the swim as she followed Jessica Learmonth (GBR) and Lucy Hall (GBR) out of the water. Those three exited the water just seconds ahead of Jorgensen, Sarah True (USA), Carolina Routier (ESP) and Pamella Oliveira (BRA), but thanks to a quick transition and some fast riding early, the three swim leaders were able to get away.
Jorgensen, Routier and Oliveira were joined by a group of 14 that was led by all three British Olympians - Vicky Holland, Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins. As she did in Rio, Jorgensen was very active on the bike and spent most of the ride either at or near the front of the 17-woman chase pack, but the larger continuously lost time to the three breakaway riders. Duffy spent a lot of time at the front of that group, driving them to a lead of just over a minute over the chase group by the end of the ride.
A minute lead over Jorgensen normally isn't enough, but on this day Duffy was simply too good. Rather than lose time through each lap the Bermudian actually padded her lead and would eventually finish 1:17 ahead of Jorgensen, giving her the world championship title.
As you saw earlier, Jorgensen was thrilled to watch her training partner, Charlotte McShane outsprint Jenkins for the bronze medal. Ai Ueda's fifth place finish was enough to earn her third in the WTS World Championship standings behind Duffy and Jorgensen.
ITU World Grand Final - Elite Women
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