Cozumel will provide the backdrop for the final WTS race of the season this weekend when it hosts the 2016 World Triathlon Grand Final.

Text By Rob Sheeley | Images By ITU and Witsup

The race looms as a mouth-watering contest with the battle for the world title likely to come down to a matter of seconds.

Duffy (c) Witsup

In the red corner is the challenger Flora Duffy. The uber biker from Bermuda has had a career best season and sits at the top of the rankings. Finishing first or second here will guarantee her a maiden world title.

In the blue corner is the reigning world champion, Gwen Jorgensen. The American recently added the Olympic gold medal to her near perfect short course CV. She is looking to become the first woman to win three consecutive world titles. Should she do that, she would also join Emma Snowsill as the only athletes to have won three world titles and an Olympic gold medal.

Jorgensen will be looking to win the race and hoping that Duffy finishes at least two places behind her so that she can etch her name into the history books.

A lot is likely to hinge on how the race transpires.

Duffy is a regular lead pack swimmer and likes to capitalise on that with her outstanding ability on the bike.

We can expect her to be joined up front in the water by the likes of Carolina Routier, who led the Olympic field at the same stage.

Brits Jess Learmonth and Lucy Hall are always prominent on the swim along with Americans Sarah True and Katie Zaferes.

Jorgensen is never too far away and should be in the front part of the field, looking to be well positioned going onto the bike. Andrea Hewitt Non Stanford, Helen Jenkins and Vicky Holland should be in a similar position and could form a strong chase pack if they are not out front.

Hewitt (c) Witsup

The key part of the race for Duffy is undoubtedly the bike. Her best results of 2016 have been when she has led a breakaway and pushed the pace.

A lot will depend on if she has any allies in this quest. The Gold Coast saw one of the more memorable races this season where  Duffy worked together with Helen Jenkins and Andrea Hewitt to build up a lead that proved too big for Jorgensen to gun down.

Helen Jenkins

That sort of attack looks to be the best hope for Duffy again in Cozumel. Her fate may be in the hands of other athletes and whether or not they choose to go with her.

Jorgensen has a penchant for riding smart and will be doing what she needs to in order to be within striking distance on the run.

This is where we will see the best of Jorgensen. She possesses the most devastating run in world triathlon and is sure to be putting pressure on anyone in front of her.

Should Duffy be in front, Jorgensen making the pass is almost a fait accompli. The real danger for her is holding the rest of the field at bay.

Holland and Stanford will be two of the main candidates pushing for a podium spot, along with Jenkins and Hewitt. However there is a host of others who could also threaten with Aussies Ashleigh Gentle and Emma Moffatt two of the most likely.

Moffatt

Rest assured, this race is going to be an engrossing affair and likely to be decided very late in proceedings.

Jorgensen is the consummate professional and loves to perform on the big stage. She is likely to execute her race with precision; the world title really rests in the hands of Duffy and what she can produce when it counts.

 WTS Grand Final Cozumel 2016 Startlist

1 Flora Duffy BER
2 Gwen Jorgensen USA
3 Katie Zaferes USA
4 Andrea Hewitt NZL
5 Ai Ueda JPN
6 Helen Jenkins GBR
7 Vicky Holland GBR
8 Rachel Klamer NED
9 Ashleigh Gentle AUS
10 Kirsten Kasper USA
11 Sarah True USA
12 Charlotte McShane AUS
14 Non Stanford GBR
15 Vendula Frintova CZE
16 Summer Cook USA
17 Emma Moffatt AUS
18 Mari Rabie RSA
19 Emma Jackson AUS
20 Renee Tomlin USA
21 Anastasia Abrosimova RUS
22 Jolanda Annen SUI
23 Lisa Norden SWE
24 Nicky Samuels NZL
25 Sara Vilic AUT
26 Yuka Sato JPN
27 Hanna Philippin GER
28 Carolina Routier ESP
29 Yurie Kato JPN
30 Lindsey Jerdonek USA
31 Rebecca Spence NZL
32 Yuko Takahashi JPN
33 Gillian Sanders RSA
34 Miriam Casillas García ESP
35 Mariya Shorets RUS
36 Alexandra Razarenova RUS
37 Juri Ide JPN
38 Agnieszka Jerzyk POL
39 Annamaria Mazzetti ITA
40 Gillian Backhouse AUS
41 Claire Michel BEL
42 Simone Ackermann NZL
43 Sarah-Anne Brault CAN
44 Aileen Reid IRL
45 Valentina Zapatrina RUS
46 Charlotte Bonin ITA
47 Pamella Oliveira BRA
48 Jessica Learmonth GBR
49 Claudia Rivas MEX
50 Lucy Hall GBR
51 Zsófia Kovács HUN
52 Cecilia Gabriela Perez Flores MEX
53 Anja Knapp GER
54 Erin Jones USA
55 Natalie Van Coevorden AUS
56 Dominika Jamnicky CAN
57 Aoi Kuramoto JPN
58 Long Hoi MAC

About The Author

Rob Sheeley is the Race Editor for WITSUP

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