Duffy in Italy to continue comeback
Flora Duffy will be aiming to clinch gold in a second successive ITU Triathlon World Cup event as she takes to the start line in Arzachena, Italy, tomorrow.
Bermuda’s two-times world champion will be aiming to build on her triumph at the first rescheduled World Cup event, the Karlovy Vary ITU Triathlon in the Czech Republic last month.
The brand-new Arzachena course is the setting for the sprint distance affair which includes a beach-start to get the 750-metre swim under way ahead of a 20-kilometre bike with one major climb and descent on each of the three laps to really test the riders.
The 10km run also begins with a climb before gradually descending back to transition and finishing up in the Parco Riva Azzurra.
Duffy’s main rival and fellow world champion, Katie Zaferes, will be wearing the wearing the No 1 bib and looking to land a first podium of the year after a fifth-place finish at WTS Hamburg and an eleventh place in Karlovy Vary.
Like Zaferes, Duffy will no doubt view the bike climb more as an opportunity than an obstacle after she tore up the testing Karlovy Vary ride on the way to gold.
Having endured eight months out last season because of a career-threatening foot injury, the 33-year-old has stormed back to form on triathlon’s biggest stages and will be considered among the favourites again.
Also racing are the likes of Rachel Klamer, who would love to mark her 30th birthday with a return to the podium. The last time the Klamer landed a World Cup medal was in Cozumel in 2015, and it was also over the sprint distance that she scooped WTS gold in Abu Dhabi in 2018.
Meanwhile, a home World Cup event will suit Italy’s Alice Betto, Ilaria Zane and Angelica Olmo, while compatriot Verena Steinhauser impressed in the Czech Republic last month with an excellent top-ten finish.
The Belgian duo of Claire Michel and Valerie Barthelemy will be aiming to challenge once again, both equally at home over this distance as the Olympic and no strangers to the World Cup podium, along with Japan’s hugely experienced Ai Ueda.
Iceland’s Edda Hannesdottir and Estonia’s Kaidi Kivioja will represent the Asics World Triathlon Team in Italy. The development squad members both placed well in Cagliari two years ago and they will hope to replicate that form.
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