ITU World Championships are just around the corner, with ITU Stockholm the penultimate event before the big show down. Flora Duffy smashed her fifth win of the season, with Jess Learmonth taking her first podium finish and Gentle running into third. Here’s how the race played out.
As the swim progressed, Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain powered to the front ahead of Lucy Hall and Flora Duffy. Learmonth is known for her fierce swim skills, but no one could have foreseen Learmonth’s ability throughout the rest of the race.
After a lightning fast transition, the women powered through the bike leg and a lead group of just three women formed. Duffy took the lead, followed closely by American Katie Zaferes and Jessica Learmonth.
Sadly though, halfway through the bike, Katie Zaferes lost her front wheel, taking her out of the race. Behind her, a thick chase pack had formed including Andrea Hewitt and Ashleigh Gentle, who were further off the pace than they had planned to be.
The run changes everything
After the bike, Duffy had established a solid lead, but behind her the battle had started. Jessica Learmonth, who no one would have though could have maintained her place near the front, was in second and Gentle had powered through the field to make her way to third after being 2.5 minutes behind Duffy at T2. It was Learmonth’s first podium finish, and an exceptional race for the British athlete.
The three women maintained their ranks until the finish, where Duffy ran to her fifth ITU victory. The Bermudian athlete will enter the World Championships with 4000 points. “My swim has been a bit shaky this year, so it was nice to come out of the water in third,” said Duffy, “I hammered the first lap on the bike which set up the race perfectly.”
With so many solid wins under her belt, Duffy still didn’t want to rely on her past results to get her through the World Championships. “I had five pretty good scores, but you just never know what’s going to happen on the day. I wanted to go into the grand final with the biggest buffer I could.” Duffy has absolutely achieved her goal, securing a huge five wins this season.
Now, all eyes will be on Duffy to see if she can claim yet another victory in Rotterdam at the World Championships in September.