Today was Flora Duff’s day. After a good swim in choppy cold water conditions that required wetsuits she exited the swim in the lead group of US athletes Sarah True and Katie Zaferes and then on the bike she made the brave decision to go out alone after the two couldn’t stay with at the level she wanted.
Duffy would have hoped to have had some of the other good cyclists with her like GB’s Helen Jenkins but a bad swim for Jenkins where she exited about 40 seconds behind Flora, meant she had to race solo.
A very good technical cyclist she made the most of the technical parts of the bike course to extended the lead to a minute before the two chase groups united and started to rein her in, thanks in no part from a staggering performance from the USA triathlete 18 year old Taylor Knibb and Helen Jenkins.
Duffy came out of T2 with a 25 seconds lead that she refused to give up on despite her tired legs. About about half-way through the run Helen Jenkins and Andrea Hewitt made a break from the chase group and extended their lead over the second chase group to 35 seconds but there was no danger of catching the Bermudan out in front. It was then a uphill sprint finish for Hewitt and Jenkins for silver and bronze with Hewitt just having the better and fresher legs. Vicky Holland finished about 37 seconds behind Jenkins in 4th. Non Stanford and Jodie Stimpson pulled out.
“I have been trying and trying to win one of these and today when I was out there on the front of the bike I had no idea how it was going to play out,” said Duffy. “But I got off and felt strong on the run and just ran as best as I could. But obviously it is a bit scary with Helen and Andrea chasing me.”
“I managed to ride a bit more controlled today, I have learned from Leeds. It is so much more technical here and that is my strength, so I just tried to gain as much time as I could in the technical sections and then ride smooth for any straightaways. It was just how it worked out to ride solo. I came out of the swim with a few girls and I was hoping they would come up behind on my wheel but they didn’t and then I was in no-mans land, so there was times where I was questioning what I was doing out there, but I just stuck to my plan and it worked out today.”
“I am really happy to get on the podium today. I made life hard for myself, I had a terrible swim, but I felt good on the bike and on the run I just kind of hung in there, but I am really to come away with a podium,” said Jenkins. “Flora is so strong at the moment. I am actually really happy for her to get the win, I mean obviously I would like to, but she deserves it the way she raced today.”