Flora Duffy continued on the comeback trail after a 12-month foot injury with a podium finish at the Banyoles ITU World Cup in the north of Spain yesterday.
The twelfth leg of World Cup circuit, the second-tier triathlon series, represented another opportunity for Duffy to get a race under her belt before the season ends, as she rebuilds her fitness after a lengthy layoff.
She completed the sprint-distance race — 750-metres swim, 20-kilomtres bike and 5km run — in a time of 55min 55sec to finish third, 17 seconds behind winner Laura Lindemann, of Germany, in 55:38.
Duffy, who was No 25 on the waiting list at the start of the week, only found out she had a starting position about 30 minutes before the race.
“I wouldn’t recommend that sort of race prep,” Duffy wrote on Instagram. “But I am super happy with my race and third place.”
Tamara Gorman, of the United States, came second in 55:52, while her compatriot Kristen Kasper, one of the leading performers in the ITU World Series last season, placed fourth in 56:37.
Like Duffy, Kasper has had injury problems this season, including a bike crash at the Tokyo Olympic Test Event last month that caused her miss the Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, last weekend.
Another top name in the field was former world champion Vicky Holland, of Britain, whose disappointing season continued with a seventh-place finish in Banyoles in 56:54.
Duffy made her long-awaited comeback from injury in Tokyo, winning in controversial circumstances after British leaders Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown were disqualified for causing a deliberate tie.
She followed up with another solid performance at the Grand Final, finishing the Olympic-distance race — 1.5-kilometre swim, 40km bike and 10km run — in 2:04:26sec.