Flora Duffy wins record fourth women’s World Triathlon title in Abu Dhabi

Bermuda athlete prevails in an epic battle with Georgia Taylor-Brown at the UAE capital's Yas Bay Waterfront

Flora Duffy won the Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Championship Finals and the overall title. Image supplied
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Flora Duffy won a record fourth World Triathlon title after a long drawn battle with Georgia Taylor-Brown at the Yas Bay Waterfront in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

The Tokyo Olympic gold medallist was in top form throughout the 1.5-kilometre swim, 40km bike stage and the 10km run as she won the Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Championship Finals and the overall title in the women’s elite race.

It was Taylor-Brown who led the bike stage but Duffy caught up with the Briton in the first of the four laps of the running stage before pulling away to finish the final race of a remarkable 2022 in 1 hour 53 minutes and 24 seconds.

Taylor-Brown crossed the finish line a minute and four seconds behind followed by Lena Meissner of Germany, a further 2 minutes 35 seconds down in third.

American Taylor Knibb finished fourth and took the overall third spot behind Duffy and Taylor-Brown.

Duffy, 35, will certainly go down as one of the greatest triathletes ever after a record fourth world championship. She’s also the first woman ever to have won an Olympic and World title in the same year.

Flora Duffy, centre, won the women’s World Triathlon title ahead of Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown, left, and USA's Taylor Knibb. Image supplied

Duffy hit the tape more than a minute ahead of Taylor-Brown but she insisted that was not a true reflection of the race.

“It was an absolute battle out there,” she said. “Georgia and I don’t give each other an inch. I thought I was pretty good today... [I had to] save, save, and take care of myself because it was super-hot out there.

“I stayed focussed. I opened the gap, I think in the third lap of the run, it was little sooner than I anticipated. It was audacious stuff but you know, you need to keep pushing.”

Duffy had thoughts of retiring from the World Championship format after her gold at the Tokyo Olympics but those plans have been shelved as she looks ahead to Paris 2024.

“I’m very glad I did change my mind,” she added. “I’m still really enjoying it. It’s a three year cycle for Paris so I’m trying to stick in there with a final Olympics with my friends and family, and enjoy that moment.”

Taylor-Brown, 28, was gracious in defeat.

“I gave everything I had today,” she said. “It has been hard few months personally and I just try to put everything in a box and forget it. I’m pretty proud of myself.

“It’s fun to compete with Flora. We were battling it out there until the end and I gave absolutely everything I had. I’m still learning but I still want to win that world title one day.”

Earlier in the day, Connor Bentley and Kate Waugh shared the honours in the U23 World Titles.

Bentley capped a remarkable end to his year with an outstanding run in the men’s age group event. The Briton led with a small group for much of the bike section and then found another level on the running stage to pull clear for the gold.

Waugh made a breakaway with teammate Jessica Fullagar on the bike stage and then pulled clear on the run, embarking on a gutsy solo 10km all the way to the tape.

Updated: November 25, 2022, 2:17 PM