Flora Duffy of Bermuda and Ruben Ruzafa of Spain won the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship elite titles Saturday in Snowy Mountains.
Duffy combined a women’s-best swim, a by-far women’s-fastest mountain bike segment and women’s 2nd-best trail run to finish in 2:54:11 with a 3:54 margin of victory over three-time Chilean Olympian Barbara Riveros and 11:34 over 3rd place finisher Suzanne Snyder of the U.S.
The win was Duffy’s 2nd-straight Cross Triathlon World title and her third world championship of the year, coming after her ITU World Triathlon Series season-long points title and her third straight XTERRA World Championship.
“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,” Duffy told ITU media. “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 keep it together for this long under this much pressure and attention to detail, you really have to race at a high level.”
Duffy entered the race as a prohibitive favorite and carved out a 56 seconds lead on WTS Grand Final bronze medalist and Cross Triathlon newcomer Charlotte McShane of Australia with a women’s-best 18:08 swim. Duffy also banked a 1:28 advantage on top contender Barbara Riveros and 2:22 on Suzie Snyder of the U.S.
Once out on the tough and technical mountain bike segment, Duffy sped away to a dominating 1:41:02 split that was 5:27 better than nearest challenger Riveros, 6:45 better than Snyder and 11:35 better than McShane, who struggled with her first exposure to a tough, tight technical off-road single track. With a 6:55 lead in hand at T2, Duffy cruised to a 3rd-best 53:07 run that surrendered 2:37 to Riveros’ women’s-fastest 50:33 trail run split that still gave her a comfortable margin at the finish.
Riveros earned a second successive silver medal at the ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds.
Snyder was happy with her first ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship podium, following her 3rd place finish at XTERRA Worlds – a stellar comeback after breaking her foot earlier in the season.
Ruzafa made up for a 16th-best swim with a dominating mountain bike leg and the 3rd-quickest trail run to finish in 2:34:25 with a 3:18 margin of victory over 2015 XTERRA World Champion Josiah Middaugh of the U.S. and 3:49 over 3rd-place finisher Braden Currie of New Zealand.
“I thought the race would be harder because the course was flat,” Ruzafa told ITU media. “In the swim I lose less than I thought maybe, 1:20, and I caught the riders early in the beginning of [the second 16.4 kilometer lap]… I’m really happy because Maui was hard for me losing [to champion Mauricio Mendez of Mexico and runner-up Josiah Middaugh] in the last 2km.”
Australia’s Ben Allen led the swim in 17:33 which gave him a 3 seconds lead on Jens Roth of Germany, 7 seconds lead on Brice Daubord of France, 11 seconds on Braden Currie of New Zealand, 43 seconds on Sam Osborne of New Zealand, 1:15 on 16th place defending champion Ruben Ruzafa of Spain and 2:08 on overall contender Josiah Middaugh of the U.S.
Once on the two-loop single track mountain bike trail which encircles two alpine lakes and includes rocky paths, bridges, rock gardens and creek crossings, former pro mountain biker Ruzafa took charge. After a race-fastest 1:27:55 ride, Ruzafa entered T2 with a 3:36 lead on Currie, 4:06 on Allen and 4:45 on Middaugh.
Ruzafa said his bitter late race loss at Maui motivated him to focus every moment of the race. “I didn’t lose a lot of energy in the bike because it was technical and I just concentrated. Since the beginning I start to make time in the bike so it’s really a good time for me to start the run.”
The challenging run along the banks of the Little Thredbo River included creek crossings, rock scrambles and some rugged off road terrain which took its toll on the field and opened the door for Middaugh, who moved into second place. “I’m pretty happy with that,” Middaugh told ITU media. “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. I was pretty happy with second place.”
ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship
Snowy Mountains, Australia
November 19, 2016
S 1.5k / MTB 32.8k / TR 10k
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 2:54:11 – $5250
2. Barbara Riveros (CHI) 2:58:05 – $4200
3. Suzanne Snyder (USA) 3:05:45 – $3150
4. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 3:08:13 – $2100
5. Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA) 3:10:39 – $1680
6. Elizabeth Orchard (NZL) 3:13:41 – $1470
7. Jacqueline Slack (GBR) 3:14:14 – $1260
8. Catherine Sterling (USA) 3:15:36 – $840
9. Jessica Simpson (AUS) 3:17:25 – $630
10. Renata Bucher (SUI) 3:23:36 – $420
1. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:34:25 – $5250
2. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:37:43 – $4200
3. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:38:14 – $3150
4. Brice Daubord (FRA) 2:40:12 – $2100
5. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:40:49 – $1680
6. Rom Akerson (CRC) 2:43:03 – $1470
7. Sam Osborne (NZL) 2:44:40 – $1260
8. Oliver Shaw (NZL) 2:44:47 – $840
9. Branden Rakita (USA) 2:47:45 – $630
10. Brian Smith (USA) 2:47:53 – $420
DNF: Will Kelsay (USA), Courtney Atkinson (AUS)