Bermuda’s own Flora Duffy turned in one of the most impressive races of her career, turning in the strongest performance on the swim, bike, and run to take the win.
With nearly every Bermuda resident out on Saturday afternoon to support their hometown hero, Flora Duffy kicked off the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series with an impressive swim. Her 19:39 swim split put her as the leader of a long string of athletes heading onto the tough 40K bike course. On her heels were USA’s Summer Cook and Kirsten Kasper, the Netherlands’ Maya Kingma, and Portugal’s Melanie Santos.
Duffy went out hard on the bike, with Kasper initially looking like she was up for the task of keeping pace with the two-time world champion. As Duffy climbed the famed Corkscrew Hill for the first time, Kasper fell off the back—leaving Duffy out front alone. Though riding an entire draft-legal bike segment alone isn’t usually the strategy of choice, Duffy looked strong out front and built on her lead with every lap as she was encouraged by the boisterous crowd through every meter. Behind her, the main chase pack led by Katie Zaferes (USA) and Vicky Holland (GBR) failed to put together any kind of strategy that would threaten Duffy’s lead.
By the time bike turned to run, Duffy’s advantage stood at about 90 seconds. As she did on the bike, Duffy extended her lead with every stride. Ultimately she put together the best splits in the swim (19:38), bike (1:06:32), and run (34:29) to take the win in dominating fashion. Her winning time of 2:01:39 was nearly two minutes better than the second-place finisher.
“I don’t think this moment is going to sink in for a while, but what I will say when it does is that this will probably be one of the highlights of my career. I mean this is incredible, the streets were lined, and it was just a phenomenal atmosphere, it was incredible. It was hard for me to control my emotions throughout that whole 10km, but with like 9.5km to go I just thought I need to smile and celebrate and soak this in,” Duffy said of her hometown-hero win.
Though Duffy had the race locked up pretty quickly, the battle for the other two podium spots was heated throughout the entire 10K run. Zaferes narrowly led Holland throughout the 10K, and it ultimately came down to a sprint to the finish. It was impossible to declare a winner at first glance, so a photo finish declared Holland the second-place finisher. Zaferes rounded out the podium, with another American, Kasper, finishing fourth to claim the top spot in the overall World Triathlon Series rankings.
2018 ITU WTS Bermuda
Hamilton, Bermuda – April 28, 2018
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 2:01:39
2. Vicky Holland (GBR) 2:03:25
3. Katie Zaferes (USA) 2:03:25
4. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 2:05:40
5. Yuko Takahashi (JPN) 2:05:51
6. Alice Betto (ITA) 2:06:05
7. Yuka Sato (JPN) 2:06:23
8. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 2:06:37
9. Taylor Spivey (USA) 2:07:02
10. Joanna Brown (CAN) 2:07:38