After missing the first two races of the 2017 season due to a hip injury, Flora Duffy of Bermuda won her 3rd straight WTS victory with a dominating performance at the Hamburg sprint.
Duffy emerged from the 750 meter Alster See swim in 9th position with a 9 seconds gap, charged to the front on the first lap of the bike and reached T2 with a 39 seconds lead. Duffy closed with a 4th-best 16:32 run to finish in 59:00 with a 31 seconds margin of victory over Ashleigh Gentle of Australia (race-best 16:10 run).
After her victory, Duffy was pleased with her first ever WTS sprint distance win. “I really can’t believe it. Coming into my third race of the year, I felt a lot of pressure, especially it being a sprint and in Hamburg [where] I have not raced in years. So, I just really had to go for it, I tried to race fast from start to finish and I had to make the most on the bike because I knew that my run pace speed was not at the same level as some of the top runners, so I just took a chance and luckily it worked out.”
Gentle explained her come-from-behind silver medal: “I actually had a good start at the dive in, but I got squished from either side and got dunked for a little bit. It was quite horrific to be honest. So I just got onto my bike and did the best I could. There has been plenty of races where I have been in that situation, but I have been able to salvage a good result so there is no reason you should quit after the swim. I just raced as hard as I could and thankfully it paid off.”
In a sprint to the finish line, Laura Lindemann of Germany (16:22 run) edged Katie Zaferes of the U.S. (16:17 run) by 1 second for the final spot of the podium, 10 seconds behind Gentle.
Lindemann was thrilled with her breakthrough WTS bronze: "I am so happy about the podium today. Here with the home crowd, it is so wonderful. I was just pushing as hard as I could and I was so amazed with the crowd!”
The win was Duffy’s 5th WTS victory which includes a win at the 2016 WTS Grand Final at Cozumel, the 2016 WTS World Championship, and 2017 WTS wins at Yokohama, Leeds and Hamburg – her first WTS sprint distance title..
By finishing 4th, Katie Zaferes of the U.S. advanced to lead the 2017 WTS women’s point standings. Kristen Kasper of the U.S., who led the women’s WTS rankings after 4 races, fell to 3rd place in the rankings after finishing 9th.
Vittoria Lopes of Brazil led the swim in 9:15, followed by Carolina Routier of Spain (+1 second), Kirsten Kasper of the U.S. (+2s), Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain 6th,(+6s), Flora Duffy of Bermuda 9th (+9s), Katie Zaferes of the U.S. 13th (+11s), Laura Lindemann of Germany 14th (+12s), Taylor Spivey of the U.S. 16th (+13s) and Jolanda Annen of Switzerland 24th (+18s),
By the end of the first of six laps on the 20 kilometer bike leg, Duffy grabbed the lead with Learmonth and Kasper next in line with equal times and Spivey 3 seconds back in 4th place. Of the eventual podium contenders, Jolanda Annen of Switzerland was 10th and home country hero Lindemann 12th at equal 5 seconds deficit. Zaferes was 18th and 7 seconds down while and Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand was near the back of the chase pack, still within range.
After the second lap, Duffy led by 1 second over Learmonth and Kasper and the trio opened a 19 seconds gap on Lindemann and 20 seconds on Annen, Spivey and Zaferes in 9th through 11th.
At the end of the 3rd lap, Cassandre Beaugrand of France and Jure Ide of Japan crashed, suffered minor injuries and withdrew from the race. On the 4th lap, Duffy broke away to a 4 seconds lead on Learmonth and Kasper and Ashleigh Gentle of Australia went to the front of the chase pack, 30 seconds arrears and Lindemann, Tomlin and Annen were 31 seconds back. Hewitt hung in 34 seconds back of Duffy in 20th place.
By the end of the 5th lap, Duffy left her rivals behind – by 22 seconds on Learmonth and Kasper, and 43 seconds on Lucy Hall of Great Britain, Emma Jeffcoat of Australia and Lindemann. Hewitt advanced to 17th with a 45 seconds deficit and Zaferes was 25th, 47 seconds back.
After a race-best 31:57 bike split, Duffy held a 35 seconds lead on Kasper and Learmonth and 54 seconds on a large pack that included Annen, Tomlin, Lindemann, Hewitt and Gentle while Zaferes held 24th place, 1 minute arrears.
After one lap of the run, Duffy held her ground, 39 seconds on hard-charging Gentle, 50 seconds on Lindemann, 51 seconds on Hewitt, 53 seconds on Annen and Kasper and 59 seconds on Zaferes.
After a 4th-fastest 16:32 run, Duffy finished in 59:00 with a 31 seconds margin of victory over Gentle and 41 seconds on Lindemann, who earned her first WTS podium by 1 second over Zaferes.
Kristen Kasper of the U.S., who led the overall WTS standings coming into this event, fell to 3rd after a 9th.place finish. Katie Zaferes advanced from 2nd to 1st in the WTS rankings with 2,507 points after her 4th place finish. Ashleigh Gentle advanced from 3rd to 2nd place in the rankings after her 2nd place finish. Duffy, who missed the first two WTS races, advanced from 6th to 4th place in the rankings with a perfect 3-for-3 wins and a 2,400 point total.
July 15, 2017
S 750m / B 21k / R 5k
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 58:59
2. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 59:30
3. Laura Lindemann (GER) 59:40
4. Katie Zaferes (USA) 59:41
5. Jolanda Annen (SUI) 59:48
6. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 59:51
7. Renee Tomlin (USA) 1:00:02
8. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 1:00:04
9. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 1:00:04
10. Rachel Klamer (NED) 1:00:05
13. Taylor Spivey (USA) 1:00:25