Flora Duffy has been forced to withdraw from the ITU World Triathlon Leeds this weekend because of a foot injury, The Royal Gazette can reveal.
The reigning two-times world champion revealed she has been suffering from the injury for a couple of months and admits her recent win in Yokohama, Japan, was a “step too far”.
Duffy is hoping the lingering injury will not derail her attempt to become the first woman to win three consecutive ITU world titles and is aiming to return for World Triathlon Hamburg on July 15.
“Today I had to pull out of Leeds, unfortunately,” Duffy said. “I’ve [got] a foot issue that I’ve been managing for the last couple of months.
“Yokohama was one step too far; it started screaming at me halfway through the 10K and has unfortunately been pretty sore ever since.
“I’m doing everything I can to get it right and get back to full training. I really want to defend my title and be back in Hamburg and bring my ‘A’ game there.”
Despite her injury, Duffy has dominated women’s triathlon this season — as she has for the past 18 months — claiming Bermuda’s second Commonwealth gold on the Gold Coast, Australia, before returning home to storm to a memorable triumph in WTS Bermuda. She then powered her way to victory in the World Triathlon Yokohama to move to the top of the ITU WTS overall standings.
Duffy believes her injury is a culmination of three bike crashes this year.
“I had a pretty difficult start to the year with three crashes: a trip in January on my knee, a mountain bike crash in February on my bursa and, of course, the crash in Abu Dhabi, all on my left side,” the 30-year-old added.
“I think I just picked up some negative compensation and here I am dealing with the aftermath of that.”
Duffy said she is desperately disappointed to miss WTS Leeds, describing it as “one of her favourite races”, and had family in Bermuda and England planning to attend the fourth race of the series.
“I’m trying to stay positive, but I really wish I was in Leeds racing — it’s one of my favourite races,” she said.
“Great course, great crowd, a lot of family were coming over and a lot of my family in England were going to be there to watch.It’s a pretty special one for me, so it’s sad to be here in Boulder [Colorado] watching on TV.”
Duffy, who joined basketball star LeBron James as the United States Sports Academy’s Male and Female Athletes of the Month for April, has won every race she has completed in the past 18 months other than the World Triathlon Montreal last August.
Alistair Brownlee, the two-times Olympic champion, has also pulled out of WTS Leeds because of injury.
The 30-year-old, who said he has a few “niggles” would have been going for his third win in his home town.