Vicky Holland continued her good form from the Commonwealth Games with a silver medal behind Flora Duffy at the ITU World Triathlon Bermuda.
Racing in front of a partisan home crowd, Duffy was a dominant winner, with Holland winning silver after a photo finish with USA’s Katie Zaferes. Norway achieved a shock 1-2-3 finish in the men’s race, with the virtually unknown 21 year-old, Casper Stornes, winning gold.
With the weight of expectation on her shoulders, Duffy lead from start to finish in front of big crowds. She smiled her way around the bike course, including ten ascents of Corkscrew Hill, and put more time into the rest of the field on the run. The ITU world champion achieved what she described herself as ‘the absolute highlight’ of her career.
Britain’s trio of Vicky Holland, Jodie Stimpson and Georgia Taylor-Brown had mixed fortunes in the swim. Taylor Brown was penalized for jumping the gun at the start as 32 athletes plunged from the harbor wall into the Atlantic Ocean. Holland swam well, and she and Stimpson both made the pack that appeared to be working for silver and bronze after Duffy had disappeared up the road.
Holland lost a little time in the second transition but caught up to Katie Zaferes within the first kilometer and the pair were locked together until they reach the finishing line. Only a photograph and the judges could separate them and award Holland the silver medal. It was her first World Series podium finish since June 2016.
She said: “I couldn’t have told you at the finish, we were waiting five minutes to find who it was that came second. This is my first Olympic distance [race] in 11 months, so I wasn’t sure how I would fare on the second half [of the run], so I really just let Katie do the work and backed myself for a sprint.”
Complimenting Duffy’s winning performance, she said: “It’s all very well knowing what a competitor is going to do and plan for it, but it’s another actually being able to do anything about it.”
Jodie Stimpson finished eighth, matching her finishing position at the ITU Grand Final in Rotterdam last September. Taylor Brown was 14th.
The men’s race didn’t feature any British athletes after Jonny Brownlee withdraw earlier this week. It was an historic result for Norway, becoming the first nation ever to achieve a podium sweep in a men’s World Series race. No one would have predicted Stornes as the winner, including the rest of the field, who allowed him to establish a big lead on the bike, which they were then unable to catch on the run.
The next round take place in Yokohama, Japan in two two weeks’ time.