Bermudian cyclist Flora Duffy claimed silver on her return to action for the first time in 10 months after finishing runner-up to Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown in a one-off World Triathlon Series (WTS) race held in Hamburg, Germany recently.
Deprived of the chance to seek Olympic glory in Tokyo this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 32-year-old Duffy said finishing second in the women’s event was a “really big step.”
The world champion is usually decided after a series of events on the WTS calendar, but the Hamburg race became the world championship after organizers were forced to cancel all the other WTS races, including one in Bermuda in April.
Duffy finished the sprint-distance race in 54:25.09 minutes behind gold medalist Taylor-Brown, who won in 54:16. In the absence of home-crowd support, with the race taking place without spectators, Germany’s Laura Lindemann came third in 54:39 to take the bronze.
“To miss most of this year because of COVID-19, it was a long time since I feel like I am in my stride and hit a podium,” Duffy said after Saturday’s event which also saw France’s Vincent Luis defend his title to be crowned men’s champion for a second time.
“I am happy for personal reasons to finish second today, it was a really big step for me,” added Duffy, a two-time world champion.
“I’ve had a good progression on my run. The last few months I have been able to be consistent again for the first time in a really long time. I knew I was coming in with pretty good run form. But you know, I am a competitor and every time I line up at a World Championships I want to win so maybe there is a little sting of being that close but it is great progression and I am just so thankful we got to race safely.”
Duffy was ruled out for eight months last season because of a career-threatening foot injury before making a superb return to competitive action, winning a fifth XTERRA world title in Kapalua, Hawaii, in October last year.
She was confident of carrying her strong form and was considered a medal contender at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer before they were postponed until next year because of the pandemic.
Heavyweight boxer Clarence Hill remains Bermuda’s only Olympic medal winner, having taken bronze at the 1976 Games in Montreal.