Flora Duffy takes the win at 2022 WTCS Hamburg

Fast-paced and furious racing took over Hamburg but it was Bermuda's Olympic champion Flora Duffy who took the win despite a 10s penalty, with GB's Beth Potter claiming silver as runner-up

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Reigning Olympic champion Flora Duffy executed a smart race from start to finish, adding the win at WTCS Hamburg today to her Olympic and world titles.

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Hamburg saw 56 of the world’s best triathletes dove off the starting pontoon into the city’s Alster today to set off the women’s elite WTCS sprint race.

Notably absent was Great Britain’s Olympic silver medallist last month’s Leeds WTCS winner Georgia Taylor-Brown, who supposedly is saving her fitness in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in just a few week’s time.

What happened in the 2022 Hamburg WTCS women’s swim?

Duffy dives into the water as the starting gong sounds (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Ironman)

One of the most iconic triathlon events of the year got underway in Hamburg with the women’s race setting off in the city’s Alster lake. It was a wetsuit-free swim for the short 750m loop that saw the women cruise round a buoy before heading through a dark 40m tunnel towards the exit.

After a slow start off the block for some of the athletes, the women started to gradually come together and form a line with the strongest swimmers including the likes of Vittoria Lopes (BRA) and USA’s Summer Rappaport out in front already pushing for a break away.

Hungary’s national champion Zsanett Bragmayer tucked into the front pack, with the front group swimming exceptionally spread out for such a typically short and intense swim leg. As the women headed towards the 40m tunnel, they would have been aware of the short distance left until T1.

What happened in the 2022 Hamburg WTCS women’s bike?

The front riders whizz around a corner, with Duffy maintaining her lead (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Ironman)

Exiting the water, it’s Rappaport out first, with Lopes and GB’s Sian Rainsley on her heels, with Taylor Spivey (USA) and Duffy close behind.

Ten minutes into the race and the women power out of T1, with an initial front pack soon taken command of by reigning world champion Flora Duffy.

High winds don’t do the women any favours with one athlete crashing out on a corner as the Bermudian nestles down into the drops, already racing her own race.

Duffy does the initial work to establish a gap and cut down the front pack to eight athletes by the end of the first lap, including Spivey, Lopes, Lisa Tertsch (GER), Rainsley and Bragmayer. It was up to Potter to lead the chase pack in a desperate sprint to catch the front runners.

Proving that even the best can make mistakes, the champion was awarded a shock 10s penalty for neglecting to pack away her goggles inside her transition box during T1.

A further five laps follow during which Duffy powers away at the front, showing her world class ability, with Potter slipping up into the front pack alongside 14 others including compatriot Kate Waugh and Maya Kingma (NED).

What happened in the 2022 Hamburg WTCS women’s run?

T2 is a swift affair, with not a moment to lose in this sprint race (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Ironman)

The women sped out of T2 onto the final fast 5km with Kingma first away with an initial gap while Duffy suffered another slow transition coming out 10s down and just holding onto the back of the pack.

After losing eight places, Duffy had a colossal task on her hands to reach the podium. Like Hayden Wilde who will later go on to win the men’s race, a calm and composed Duffy picked off her fellow racers one by one.

The final fast-paced few kilometres saw Duffy take the lead, with Potter struggling to cling onto her heels. No celebrating yet though for the Olympian, who still had a 10s penalty to take before the race is up.

Duffy battled hard to create a gap substantial enough to overcome the unavoidable time penalty. At the end of the first 2.5km lap, Duffy takes her penalty and watches painfully on as Potter powers into first position.

Who won the women’s 2022 Hamburg WTCS race?

It’s another win at add to the medal haul for Flora Duffy (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Ironman)

A chase on her hands, the Olympic champion set her sights on the track superstar and slowly but surely starts to reel her in. Duffy shows just why she is one of the greatest triathletes of all time, as rounding one of the last corners she overtakes Potter and continues to make distance on her.

Duffy kept pushing and charges to the finish tape to take her 13th world championship victory in a time of 58:37.

It was Esport World Champion Beth Potter’s time to take the silver and Lisa Tertsch from Germany close behind to take her first-ever medal with bronze.

In fourth place was Spivey, with Laura Lindemann (GER) taking fifth and GB’s Sian Rainsley eighth.

Quotes from the winner: Flora Duffy

On finding out she had a 10s penalty: “Oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe it. I came into T2 nad saw my goggles were out of the box and I thought ‘Oh dear!’. That really flustered me and I took forever to get my shoes on. Last out of T2. And then Dan my husband shouted at me – 10 second penalty- I was like ‘wow Flora, you’re really making it hard for yourself today’.

“I’ve never had a penalty, now I’m making all these mistakes. I’ve got slow transitions, I’m doing penalties. I guess I’m really trying to keep it interesting for myself and make it super, super hard to win a race.”

On when to take the penalty: “My husband, Dan, shouted at me to take it on the first lap. I think that was to have a 10 second reset and really charge it for the last lap.

“Honestly, I thought I was going to come out of that penalty further back in the top 10. I was pretty happy that I was still in second, I just had to try and chase down Beth which is much easier said than done.”

On winning 13 World Triathlon races: “[This win is the most satisfying because] I haven’t been pushed like that on the run. I thought, this can not come down to a sprint finish. I just tried to lengthen it out there. I’m super pumped to take a win after this year starting out so weird with two-times Covid, flying to races and my equipment not making it.

“Pumped to win. Pumped to get myself back in the series, and excited for the rest of the year.

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Top image: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Ironman