Little could Bermuda’s hero Flora Duffy have imagined that the summer of 2021 would be the most special of her career. Three weeks after becoming the Olympic champion, the Bermudian has again already been showing magnificent form, claiming her first WTCS victory since 2018 in Montreal and landing in Edmonton with a comfortable lead on the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Series Ranking. With a circuit that looks like designed for her - tough bike, flat run - only a handful of athletes can prevent the Bermudian claiming a record-equaling third women’s world title and becoming the first triathlete in history to win Olympic gold and the World Championships in the same year.
The athletes will take the stage on Saturday at10.50am local time for the World Triathlon Championship Finals on a course well known by the athletes. The 38 women face a beach start for a 2 -lap, 1500m swim in Hawrelak Park lake to then take to their bikes for 8 hilly and rather technical laps. The race will be decided in the final 10k run, four laps around the lake to finally crown the 2021 World Champion.
Only a week ago, Duffy proved in WTCS Montreal not only that she is one of the strongest athletes in the circuit, but that she is also a master when it comes to race tactics, and that she knows how to economise efforts. Saving some legs and still claiming the victory in Montreal could be decisive for the Bermudian this Saturday, when she will have to battle once more with “The Taylors”: USA’s Taylor Spivey and Taylor Knibb.
Currently ranked second in the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Rankings, Spivey has never been on top of a WTCS podium, but no place would be better for her first than Edmonton this weekend to consolidate her podium position in the World Championships after not making the US Olympic team.
Spivey will have teammates Knibb and Katie Zaferes lining up with her, both trying to consolidate a top five place in the World Championships or even to step up on the podium, and both of them have proven they can produce the goods on tough Olympic-distance courses.
It is a similar case with Netherlands’ Maya Kingma, the rising star of the beginning of the season after claiming silver in WTCS Yokohama and gold in WTCS Leeds, bringing valuable Series points that have put her in position to fight for the World Championships podium, only 9 points behind Spivey. A specialist in the Olympic-distance races, Kingma’s powerful bike skills put her in a position to push hard for a breakaway with the likes of Knibb, Duffy, Spivey and Zaferes.
With the top British duo of Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jessica Learmonth not racing in Edmonton, the hopes for the British team will be pinned on Sophie Coldwell, Non Stanford, Beth Potter and Vicky Holland, all of them in great form and holding some of the better running splits of the women lining up in Hawrelak Park this Saturday.
Talking about impressive running splits, French Leonie Periault is vying for her first-ever WTCS podium after a top 5 last week in WTCS Montreal and at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Laura Lindemann (GER), Alice Betto (ITA) and Nicole Van der Kaay (NZL) will also be among the ones to watch, always consistent during the last few races and ready to go one step forward.