A typically imperious breakaway on the bike led to Flora Duffy winning her third straight World Triathlon Series event in Hamburg by a record margin on Saturday.
The Bermudian was victorious in the sprint event in the German city in a time of 59 minutes exactly. Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle finished second in 59:31, with Duffy’s winning margin of 31 seconds the widest in a sprint race. Laura Lindemann, of Germany, completed the podium in 59:41.
The victory is Duffy’s third in a row in the International Triathlon Union series, after winning in Leeds last month and Yokohama in May.
The 29-year-old missed the first two WTS races of the season, in Abu Dhabi in March and Gold Coast in April, with a hip injury. Duffy’s triumph was her first sprint-distance victory.
“I really actually can’t believe it,” Duffy told the WTS website. “Coming into the third race I felt a lot of pressure, especially it being a sprint and in Hamburg, I have not raced here in years.
“So, I just really had to go for it, I tried to race fast from start to finish and I had to make the most on the bike because I knew that my run pace speed was not at the same level as some of the top runners are, so I just took a chance and luckily it worked out.”
Duffy finished the 750-metres swim 11 seconds behind leader Vittoria Lopes, of Brazil, but she had a good transition and quickly emerged among the leaders on the bike. She broke away with American Kirsten Kasper and Britain’s Jessica Learmonth on the first lap, before making a lone charge with five kilometres remaining of the cycle.
Duffy led Kasper and Learmonth by 25 seconds entering the second transition, with the chasing pack a further 20 seconds behind.
“I came out of the swim a little further back than I wanted to so I just really hammered the first part of the bike and I knew the chute was quite technical so I knew if I just hammered that into transition I would be OK,” Duffy added.
“We were able to breakaway three of us, we were working OK, I was getting a little frustrated though so I thought I would attack and go solo and that ultimately made the race for me.”
The work on the bike made the run relatively easy, with Duffy running solo the whole way as she stretched her lead even farther.
Gentle took silver after a getting “squished” and “dunked” in the swim. “It was quite horrific, to be honest,” the Australian said of the swim.
The most exciting race was for bronze, with the home crowd roaring Lindemann past overall leader Katie Zaferes, of the United States, by one second, with Jolanda Annen, of Switzerland, and New Zealander Andrea Hewitt, who won the first two WTS races of the series, close by.
Duffy has moved up to fourth in the overall WTS rankings, despite the 29-year-old Bermudian missing those first two races of the season. She is on 2,400 points with Zaferes, on 2,507. Gentle is second overall on 2,486 points with Kasper third on 2,478 after a ninth-placed finish in Germany.
Duffy will have the chance to take over the overall lead when the series resumes in Edmonton, Canada, in two weeks.