Flora Duffy of Bermuda avenged her 2014 silver medal and Ruben Ruzafa of Spain defended his 2014 title to win the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship in Sardegna, Italy.
After two straight wins at the similarly rugged XTERRA World Championship, Duffy was primed to improve on her runner-up finish to Kathrin Müller last year at Cross Triathlon Worlds. On an overall performance up curve, after several top finishes on the World Triathlon Series circuit this year, Duffy left no doubt about the outcome. The Bermudan posted women's-best splits in the swim (25:56), mountain bike (1:26:06), and run (38:35) to finish in 2:25:56 with a 3:50 margin on WTS veteran Barbara Riveros of Chile, and 12:14 on 3rd-place finisher Brigitta Poór of Hungary.
Ruzafa edged Francisco Serrano of Mexico by 27 seconds, thanks to a race-best 1:15:02 mountain bike leg (2:36 better than Serrano), and overcame Serrano’s 1:11 advantage on the swim and 57 seconds better trail run. Sam Osborne of New Zealand had the fastest swim and 5th-fastest run, but gave up 4:17 on the mountain bike leg and had to settle for the bronze, 2:51 behind the winner.
After her women's-best 19:50 swim, bested by only four men, Duffy led Riveros by 1:16, Carla Van Huyssteen of South Africa by 2:09, Jacqui Slack of Great Britain by 2:20, and Brigitta Poor of Hungary by 2:55.
Riding with superb technique and power, Duffy increased her lead with a women's-best 1:26:06 bike split that was 2:01 better than Riveros and 3:38 better than Poór, giving her a 3:23 lead on Riveros and 6 minutes on Poór. Duffy cruised home with a 38:35 run that was 19 seconds better than Riveros and 5:08 better than Poór, and had plenty of time to luxuriate in the cheers at the finish line.
Last year’s women's champion Kathrin Müller had an off day and finished 13th, 23 minutes back of the winner.
Germany’s Jens Roth led the swim in 19:09, 22 seconds ahead of Osborne and Jan Celustka of the Czech Republic, 31 seconds ahead of Serrano, 40 seconds ahead of Ben Allen of Australia, 1:37 ahead of three-time ITU Cross Triathlon Champion Conrad Stoltz of South Africa, and 1:42 ahead of Ruzafa’s usual non-spectacular swim.
Using his pro mountain biking experience to the fullest, Ruzafa passed 11 men on the first lap of the mountain bike leg and arrived in T2 with a 1:27 advantage on Serrano (1:17:38 bike leg), 1:56 on Francois Carloni of France (1:17:06 bike leg), and 3 minutes on Osborne (1:19:19 bike leg).
On the trail run, Serrano unleashed a 2nd-fastest 35:02 run split that took 57 seconds from Ruzafa’s lead but left the Mexican 27 seconds short of the winner. Osborne ran a 5th-best 35:58 to take 3rd, 2:51 back of Ruzafa.
Three-time ITU Cross Triathlon Champion Conrad “Caveman” Stoltz finished 13th in what he said would be his final Cross Triathlon World Championship performance.
ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship
September 26, 2105
S 1.5k / MTB 31k / TR 6.4k
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 2:25:56
2. Barbara Riveros (CHI) 2:29”46
3. Brigitta Poór (HUN) 2:38:10
4. Jacqueline Slack (GBR) 2:40:13
5. Carla Van Huyssteen (RSA) 2:40:26
6. Carina Wasle (AUT) 2:41:34
7. Monica Cibin (ITA) 2:43:06
8. Renata Bucher (SUI) 2:45:05
9. Elizabeth Orchard (NZL) 2:45:06
10. Ladina Buss (SUI) 2:45:30
13. Kathrin Müller (GER) 2:48:46
1. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:13:11
2. Francisco Serrano (MEX) 2:13:38
3. Sam Osborne (NZL) 2:16:02
4. Rom Akerson (CRC) 2:16:28
5. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:16:35
6. Yeray Luxem (BEL) 2:17:23
7. Kris Coddens (BEL) 2:17:40
8. Arthur Forissier (FRA) 2:17:42
9. Francois Carloni (FRA) 2:17:45
10. Bradley Weiss (RSA) 2:18:06
13. Conrad Stoltz (RSA) 2:21:07