Flora Duffy (BER) could not have asked for a better race scenario as a sheer dominating performance captured her the 2018 MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda crown in front of thousands of cheering fans.

The gold earned on home soil was her first WTS win of the season and first for the inaugural event as she won with a marginal victory of 96 seconds in the first Olympic-distance race of the season.

“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.

Collecting the leading position in the swim, bike and run, Duffy’s win also meant she became the first woman in WTS history to win a race after being the leader in all three disciplines, which included a 40-kilometre solo bike ride.

“That wasn’t my plan, I wanted to get a small breakaway, that is why I pushed in the swim. Going up corkscrew I wasn’t really sure where everybody was, I knew Kirsten (Kasper) was there, I attacked it because that was my plan and I thought she would come with me, but she didn’t. So I thought, well I guess I am going 40km solo,” she added.

Flora DuffyFlora Duffy
(Photo: Wagner Araujo / ITU; click to enlarge)

Second place then went to Great Britain’s Vicky Holland after she won in a photo-finish sprint on the line with USA’s Katie Zaferes who then took the bronze.

Holland said of the dramatic sprint, “I just found out I came second, I could not have told you at the finish. We were waiting five minutes to find out who it was to see who came second. I think all credit to Katie (Zaferes) she pulled me around a lot on the run. I had a bad transition, it took me a lap to catch her and then after that I just sort of tucked in and tried to hold on. This was my first Olympic distance in over 11 months and I wasn’t sure how I would fare on the second half, so I really just let Katie do the work and prepared myself for a sprint.”

The women’s race directly followed the men, however with the headliner of Duffy being the hometown hero, the crowds for the women seemed to double in size. With the sound of the horn, the women dove into the water to get WTS Bermuda underway. Three women however, Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), Lisa Perterer (AUT) and Cecilia Perez (MEX) would be forced to serve a 15 second penalty in the first transition after a false start off the pontoon.

It took mere seconds for Duffy to get ahead in the water. Kirsten Kasper (USA) was also among the top and remained alongside Duffy for the 1500 metre two-lap swim. Duffy held onto her lead and exited the swim in the front, collecting the swim leader title for the first time in a WTS.

Gliding through a swift first transition, Kasper and Duffy headed out together onto the bike course, however it quickly became clear for Kasper that Duffy wasn’t going to mess around for this race on her home turf. She pushed the pace and by the time the two got to Corkscrew Hill, Duffy lost Kasper, who then was forced to wait for a chasing pack to catch.

Duffy then continued pushing on in a solo ride, an effort that resulted in her tackling a 40 kilometre bike course with a challenging hill ten times over without any help. The help for Duffy did find itself in the local crowd however, as the cheers went crazy for their very own Bermudian as she continued to conquer.

Although the main chase pack had strength in numbers with the likes of Zaferes, Holland, Jodie Stimpson (GBR), Kasper, Alice Betto (ITA), Maya Kingma (NED) and Taylor Spivey (USA), they continued to lose time each lap and Duffy entered T2 with a lead of over 1:20.

The Series leader entering the race, Rachel Klamer (NED) unfortunately did not feel at 100% and ended up in the second chase group trailing by over two minutes.

Once through T2, Duffy did not slow down even on the run. She held firm to her lead and gave her country a reason to rejoice as she ran the full 10-kilometre run unscathed. She entered the finish chute with the Bermuda flag in hand and secured the hometown win.

“I just want to say thank you to every Bermudian that came out to support. It was incredible and as I said, this is an absolute highlight of my career and I love that all sorts of people were out here whether they knew what triathlon was a year ago or not and they were celebrating. It was an amazing moment for me and my sporting career, it was incredible!” Duffy said of the amazing support from Bermuda during the race.

Second place then came down to a battle between Holland and Zaferes, who broke away from their cycle group. While Zaferes had the slight edge for the majority of the run, right in the final moments Holland pushed back and caused a sprint finish at the line. A photo finish confirmed that the silver went to Holland and Zaferes would get her first WTS podium of the season with the bronze.

Zaferes said “I am so excited to be on the podium, I mean this race wasn’t exactly an easy one. I was fighting from the start of the swim, it just did not feel good. I just am so happy to be on the podium.”

USA’s Kasper finished fourth in the day, added with her fourth-place finish from WTS Abu Dhabi she became the new overall Series leader.

Results: ITU World Triathlon Bermuda

Elite Women

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