Third World Championship title of 2016 for Flora Duffy
A third consecutive ITU Cross Triathlon Gold for Ruben Ruzafa
Great Britain's Jacqui Slack took seventh place today at the 2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Australia, meaning she has now filled every position from 4th-7th over the past four editions of this event, the ETU European Silver medallist this year still seeking that elusive World Championship podium finish.
Triple Crown for Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) and Double for Flora Duffy (BER) at Cross Tri World Championship
Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) and Flora Duffy (BER) were crowned the king and queen of the rugged Snowy Mountains range after winning the 2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships. The pair conquered one of the toughest and technical world championships courses ever produced, Ruzafa earned an unprecedented third consecutive title, while Duffy earned back-to-back wins and her third world championship title for 2016.
It’s been a career best season for Bermuda’s Flora Duffy that just got dialled up another level when she dominated at the 2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship in Australia, and winning an historic third world championship title.
Duffy entered the race as the defending champion, reigning ITU World Champion, Xterra World Champion and raging favourite. She led from the gun and increased the margin at every change over to eventually win by four minutes from the pocket rocket, Chilean Barbara Riveros in the silver medal position, and Suzanne Snyder (USA) taking bronze.
“It’s really surreal and don’t think I’ve full absorbed it yet, this race was pretty hard and I was so empty on that run course today,” said Duffy.
“It’s cool, it was kind of a crazy idea that formed after the overall win at Cozumel. I thought there’s two more world titles this year maybe I can win them and to do it to, to keep it together for this long under this much pressure and attention to detail and you really have to race at a high level if you want to win, to do all of that is cool,” she added.
Duffy led from the outset and newcomer to off-road racing Charlotte McShane was not far off the pace in second after the swim.
But once Duffy got onto the single-track mountain bike leg she was out of sight and amassed a huge four minute lead off the bike. With limited time spent on her mountain bike McShane lost ground over the two lap, 16.4km loops. With McShane’s lack of bike handling skill she was soon overtaken by the last minute inclusion to the start line for Riveros, recovering from a broken foot and with no run training.
That didn’t seem to affect the fleet-footed Riveros who easily glided over the tough run trails and onto the podium for a second successive silver medal at the World Championships.
Snyder was consistent all day and slowly worked her way to the front of the field and into her first world championship podium for a bronze medal.
“I didn’t have much time to train I was almost running on fumes and hopefully going off all the training I’d done this year. So I was definitely unsure how this race would go, as it’s the end of a big year.
“I managed to pull it off and hold it together,” said Duffy.
In the Under 23 women’s race Anita Grabmullerova (CZE) claimed the gold medal in 3:34:20 and Anna Pauline-Saberath (GER) grabbed the silver medal in a time of 3:44:50.
2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship - Results
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 2:54:11
2. Barabara Riveros (CHI) 2:58:05
3. Suzanne Snyder (USA) 3:05:45
4. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 3:08:13
5. Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA) 3:10:39
6. Elizabeth Orchard (NZL) 3:114:41
7. Jacquiline Slack (GBR) 3:14:14
8. Catherine Sterling (USA) 3:15:36
9. Jessica Simpson (AUS) 3:17:25
10. Renata Bucher (SUI) 3:23:26
He was the hunter for the first part of the race, as he predicted, but his patience, experience and skill earned Ruben Ruzafa a third ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship.
After exiting the water in 16th place he clawed his way to the front on lap two of the bike and ran away with it from there, winning an unprecedented third consecutive year. Earning his first ITU podium, Josiah Middaugh (USA) finished with the silver medal and Braden Currie of New Zealand with the bronze.
“I thought the race would be more hard because the cause was flat. In the swim I lose less than I thought, maybe 1.20, and I caught the riders early in the beginning of the lap,” said Ruzafa.
“Every lap I try to increase my performance, on the last lap I push until the limit and I arrive first, I’m really happy because Maui was hard for me losing in the last 2km.”
Australia’s Ben Allen lead the two-lap 750m swim from the gun, predicting that to win this race you would need to nail the swim, Jen Roth (GER) kept right on his toes and the pair were first into transition with the wily Courtney Atkinson (AUS), Brice Daubord (FRA), Currie and Sam Osborne (NZL) all out in smart succession. The reigning world champion Ruben Ruzafa was 1min 15sec down in 16th position.
But the dual world champion quickly made up time with his superb bike handling skills, and on the second of the two 16.4km bike loops was leading the trio out front that included Currie and Allen. Ruzafa pushed his lead out to 3min 30sec at the end of the bike. Currie was next out followed by Allen.
The mountain bike trails encompass two alpine lakes and includes rocky paths, bridges, rock gardens and creek crossings, which required a high level of skill, which Ruzafa had in spades.
Getting overtaken in the final 2km of the Xterra World Championship hurt Ruzafa and was driving him on.
“I didn’t lose a lot of energy in the bike because it was technical in the second lap I just concentrated.
“Since the beginning I start to take time in the bike and then in the run take four minutes so it’s really a good time for me to start the run,” said Ruzafa.
But at the end of lap one on the run the changes were happening behind, Currie was 2min 50sec behind Ruzafa, but Middaugh was the big mover, up into third moving Allen to fourth.
The challenging trail run traversed the banks of the Little Thredbo River with a few surprises and challenges including creek crossings, a river run, suspension bridge, obstacles, rock scrambles and some true off road terrain. It began to take its toll on the field and Middaugh seized the opportunity moving into second.
“My swim is pretty dismal and I worked through the field really good, I was a bit worried with the single track, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get through but everyone was great sports letting me through,” said Middaugh.
While Ruzafa ran away with the win in the end, to claim a third world championship gold, Middaugh was elated with his silver and a fading Currie was good enough to hold on for the bonze.
“I’m pretty happy with that I wanted to finish the season with a good race, Ruben was on another level today he’s just amazing on those corners and there was no matching that. Second place I was pretty happy,” said Middaugh.
The Under 23 men’s race went to Brad Matthew-Edwards (RSA) in a time of 2:48:22, silver to Australia’s Max Nuemann 2:48:56 and the bronze to Domenik Wychera (AUT) 2:54:04.
2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship - Results
1. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:34:25
2. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:37:43
3. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:38:14
4. Brice Daubord (FRA) 2:40:12
5. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:40:49
6. Rom Akerson (CRC) 2:43:05
7. Sam Osborne (NZL) 2:44:40
8. Oliver Shaw (NZL) 2:44:47
9. Branden Rakita (USA) 2:47:45
10. Brian Smith (USA) 2:47:53