Flora Duffy is a two-time ITU World Triathlon Series World Champion, two-time ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion and four-time winner of the XTERRA World Championships alongside Bermuda’s first female Commonwealth gold medalist. So, she knows a thing or two about triathlon, not racing last weekend due to injury, Flora was on hand to check out the racing, provide commentary for the television broadcast and get some tips for when she steps into SLT.
Day one saw the female field take on the TRIPLE MIX which shakes up the existing format and provides three individual efforts of SWIM, BIKE, RUN but in different orders with a 10 min break in-between races.
21-year-old Cassandre Beaugrand of France produced a dominating display to take the win, followed closely by last year’s Champion Katie Zaferes, with Ashleigh Gentle rounding off the podium.
Day two put the tired legs up against the ENDURO – one of the most savage formats SLT has derived to this point, SWIM, BIKE, RUN yes but three times with no break in between. This format takes the short distance triathlon and transforms it into a brutal test of stamina and endurance as the athlete puts their body through the ringer to stay in touch.
It was fast from the gun on the woman’s side with Katie Zaferes proving exactly why she is the champion that she is. Katie showed true class as she took the race by the scruff of the neck and did not let go. She led home Kirsten Kasper, with the winner from the previous days racing, Cassandre Beaugrand, coming home in third. As Cassandre slipped to the third spot and Katie stepped up from second to first, it meant Katie was the one to take the overall Championship Weekend victory and with it the series lead going forward.
SLT – How are you feeling in yourself at the moment Flora?”
“It’s been a tricky year with my foot and the hardest part is I really wanted to be racing this weekend but I couldn’t – I was very excited to be at the race and to be doing some commentary – a little nervous about the commentating but it was fine”
SLT – So what was your view of the first SLT event of the series?
“Well I came in and I thought, how exciting can a triathlon really be…you know, because I’ve seen so many of them and been to so many. But. Yea this was incredibly exciting. With the format changes, the short chute and the dynamic racing in both the men’s and women’s fields it was incredible. No one really knew how well anyone would recover after day one so coming into the Enduro, with the elimination of two people after each segment and the 90 second rule, there was so much going on, so many races within races it was really cool!”
SLT – So when we spoke to you pre-race you picked both the winners – you nailed it!
“I went with the three that have performed the best this year and then I threw Cassandre Beaugrand in as a wild card too which still counts right? I was really curious because with this short format I just didn’t know how it was going to play out, some might have lost time on the swim but been able to bring it back on the bike – it was so exciting watching it play out and finding out if I was right or not”
Flora vs. Reality
- Katie Zaferes (USA) Katie Zaferes (USA)
- Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA)
- Vicky Holland (GBR) Kirsten Kasper (USA)
SLT – So what did you think of the performance on the woman’s side?
“It was amazing to see Katie just really go for it, use her strengths and attack the race, just blowing it apart. Amazing. I loved watching Katie win today, I was trying to hide my bias in commentary”
SLT – Did anything surprise you about the weekend?
“What surprised me most was if you had a first bad leg how much that could negatively impact your race – so how important it was to set up the race in each individual leg. On Sunday we saw Jodie Stimpson and Rachel Klamer have bad first swims which just put them on the back foot and they ended up getting eliminated much sooner than you’d think. Also, if you made a mistake it was exploited, you just could not do that”
SLT – So you put Cassandre Beaugrand as a wild card and she ended up second in the series rankings having won on the Saturday and then coming third on the Sunday
“Yea I think the first leg she had on the Saturday was crucial for her confidence and how she was going to approach the whole weekend – you could see from that moment she filled with confidence, knew how to race this and really go for it. Was really cool to see”
SLT – Was there anyone from the female side that did not perform as you thought they might?
“I think Vicky Holland had an off two days – maybe a bad five mins on the first day and that really impacted her overall chances. Again, we’re looking at one small mistake and that’s it. I’m sure when she comes back again she’ll have thought through what went wrong and I’m certain she’ll come back stronger next time”
SLT – Who are we looking out for going into Malta?
“Katie. She has got this format down”
Overall Podium and Championship Standings:
- Katie Zaferes
- Cassandre Beaugrand
- Kirsten Kasper