Blink and you might have missed this year’s WTS Hamburg sprint-distance women’s race, which saw reigning world champ Flora Duffy make light(ish) work of the historic German city’s streets to win her first WTS sprint distance and her third straight WTS race of 2017.
Just off the 750m swim pace, which saw Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes exit in a blistering 9:15mins, Duffy used her world-beating pedal power to bring herself and a group of almost 25 athletes up to the front.
By the end of the first lap, Duffy, USA’s Kirstin Kasper and GB’s Jess Learmonth had made their intentions known, working as a formidable threesome to put some serious space between them and the chasers.
Halfway through the six-lap 20km bike course, and the gap had grown to 25 seconds.
With just over 6km to ride, Duffy decided she needed some alone time, shooting off the front with the remaining duo unable to respond. By T2, Duffy had built herself a cushion of 41 seconds for the start of the 5km run.
With Duffy’s lead never in doubt, the race was on for the remaining podium places. Having beasted the last few laps of the bike leg as a pair, Kasper and Learmonth were soon swallowed up by the fresher-legged chase-pack athletes. The first to make the move to the front was Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle, who raced into second for her third silver-medal finish of the season.
The next was New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt (and winner of the Gold Coast and Abu Dhabi race), who was kept honest by Germany’s Laura Lindemann, Jolanda Annen (SUI) and the USA’s Katie Zaferes. But the local crowd helped decide the outcome, cheering Lindemann to a bronze medal in a sprint finish over Zaferes.
Duffy’s win also knocked Gwen Jorgensen’s biggest sprint winning margin, from London 2014, off the top spot, with a gap of 31 seconds the new benchmark.
Sophie Coldwell was the top-finishing Brit in 11th, Lucy Hall 14th and Jess Learmonth 17th.
Duffy, who remains unbeaten in 2017, now stands fourth in the overall standings, behind Kasper in third, Gentle in second and Zaferes in first.