The best triathletes in the world including Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, will gather in Sweden this weekend for the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm, one of the most emblematic and scenic races on the ITU calendar. For the penultimate leg of the WTS season, athletes will be competing on a standard distance course, the same one from last year, in one of the most beautiful set ups of the world, which sits right next to the Royal Palace.
A field of 35 women will dive in the water of the Riddarfjärden in what will probably be an all-against-the-current-WTS-leader, Bermudian Duffy.
She will be indeed the one to beat in the streets of the Royal city, wearing the golden swim cap reserved for the number one of the series, and knowing that no other athlete can take away that position form her, no matter what she does this weekend. The clear dominator of the season will be trying to get in Stockholm her fifth victory of the season, something only American Gwen Jorgensen has done before.
Duffy’s dominant season has seen so far a record for the largest winning margins in both Standard distance (11 seconds, in WTS Yokohama), and Sprint distance (31 seconds in WTS Hamburg), so it looks like there’s little the rest of the athletes can do to kick her out of the leading position, but the Bermudian will have to prove herself strong and consistent to be able to win again in Stockholm.
One of her strongest rivals will be, Australian Ashleigh Gentle, who just comes back from an astonishing victory –the first of her extensive WTS career- in Montreal. But Gentle’s performance was not a one-day show, as she has been one of the most consistent athletes of the season, enough to get her at the moment the second place on the overall rankings.
Same scenario applies to American Katie Zaferes, one of the more consistent athletes of the season, and who has finished within the top four positions on most races this season. One of the strongest runners on the field, she will be in the fight for the podium in Stockholm, but also fighting to keep herself on the final podium of the season.