Flora Duffy vs. Georgia Taylor-Brown: title race going down to wire
Two races to go in the chase to become 2022 world champion and triathlon’s biggest prize looks like being a straight shootout between GB’s GTB and Bermuda’s Olympic hero Flora Duffy.
Georgia Taylor-Brown’s three wins to Duffy’s two - and with the Championship Finals’ extra points always available in Abu Dhabi - the unpredictability of Olympic-distance swim-bike-run makes the coming weeks a fascinating finale to a scintillating season. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that 6 November’s WTCS Bermuda and 25 November’s Women’s Championships Finals in UAE must be etched in the diary.
From the awkward shallows of the beach start to the relentless bike pace from the lead group and a winning 32m43s time for the 10km run to the tape, WTCS Cagliari threw plenty of challenges at the 52 women lined up on Saturday.
With no Flora Duffy on the start, what Georgia Taylor-Brown’s emphatic third win of the season didn’t do was have a huge impact on the Maurice Lacroix Championship Series Rankings.
Points from four races plus the Championship Finals Abu Dhabi count towards the Series totals totals, so gold saw the Brit move up to 3925 points with three wins (WTCS Yokohama, WTCS Montreal and WTCS Cagliari) and a second place (June’s WTCS Leeds or the 2021 WTCS Abu Dhabi race that, along with last year’s WTCS Hamburg, count towards this year’s title).
Two golds, a bronze and a 7th to her name in the current campaign, Duffy remained on 3482 points after missing Cagliari to focus on preparations for WTCS Bermuda knowing that if she were to win her home race as well as the Championship Finals, 5106 points and a record fourth world title would be hers, leaving Taylor-Brown only able to hit a maximum of 5081. Fine margins.
Building to Bermuda
Bermuda’s first ever Olympic Champion will be hoping that the not insignificant impact of a 70.3 World Championship in St George on 28 October will be offset by the enormous boost of a home race in Bermuda a week later. With the 2020 and 2021 Series events there having been cancelled due to the pandemic and injury keeping her off the 2019 start, Duffy’s 2018 gold-winning masterclass was her only previous race on the island. Safe to say the crowds will be out in force to see their hometown hero and try to lift her to a world title showdown in Abu Dhabi.
With gold in the Finals counting for 1250 points, silver 1156 points and bronze 1070, victory in the final two races would see Duffy leapfrog Taylor-Brown at the line, regardless of where the Brit finishes.
Should Taylor-Brown take gold in Bermuda and Duffy the silver, Duffy would then have to win in Abu Dhabi and hope her rival finish 4th or lower if she was to become the only woman ever to win four world titles.
Waiting in the wings
Of course, there are many more permutations to plan for and anything can happen in triathlon. Cassandre Beaugrand currently lies in third place overall and Beth Potter fourth after finishing 8th and 10th respectively at WTCS Cagliari, Taylor Spivey’s 4th place helping her move into striking distance of the overall podium, the American having finished with the Series bronze in 2021.
So hold on tight and head over to TriathlonLive.tv and set your reminder for the final two races in Bermuda and Abu Dhabi - this season has still got plenty of stories to tell before anything is decided!
Maurice Lacroix World Rankings after WTCS Cagliari:
Decisive breakaway helps open golden gateway for Taylor Brown in Cagliari10:38 - 08 Oct, 2022
Opportunity knocks for Taylor-Brown in Cagliari as Duffy waits on Bermuda02:29 - 04 Oct, 2022
Race to the top: breaking down the 2022 season so far10:24 - 03 Oct, 2022
Dynamite Duffy produces compelling case for 4th title with Hamburg gold03:29 - 09 Jul, 2022