Eight time World Champion Flora Duffy is to headline Abu Dhabi Elite Women's Field on March 2nd on Yas Island.
Nine of the top 10 women in triathlon will lead a pack of 50 Women from 20 countries at the ITUís World Triathlon Series (WTS) season opener. The world-class field, set to tackle a 750m Swim, 20km Bike and 5km Run on the spectacular Yas Island course, will make for one of the most competitive Womenís line-ups in the history of ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.
The women's field - crowded with World Champions, Olympians, titleholders and contenders - includes Bermuda's Flora Duffy, ITU World Triathlon Series 2017 Champion; New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt, Abu Dhabi defending champion; Austria's Sara Vilic, who also earned a podium finish in Abu Dhabi last year; World Number two Australia's Ashleigh Gentle, World Number three and Olympian USA's Olympian Katie Zaferes and Olympic medalist Great Britain's Vicky Holland. The top nine female titans boast a total of 61 wins and 171 podium finishes between them.
"This is another world-class field for Abu Dhabi and itís fantastic to see nine of the top ten female triathletes in the world taking part, including two World Champions and 22 Olympians headlining the 2018 race,Ē said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, host of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi. "This will be one of the most exciting fields on the WTS calendar, greatly complementing our efforts to encourage more women in the region to follow in the footsteps of such inspirational athletes and take up the sport."
After a stunning 2017 that saw Flora Duffy notch-up four gold on the WTS circuit and the World Champion title, Bermudian superstar is looking forward to make her debut on the iconic Yas Island course.
"I was disappointed to miss the Abu Dhabi race last year due to an injury," said Duffy. "I've heard a ton of great things about Yas Island course so I can't wait to tackle it next month Ė especially the bike course which looks like itís really suited to my aggressive style of racing."
"I've never topped the podium in Abu Dhabi so, of course, it would be amazing to start the season with a win. Iím going all in as always and hoping for the best possible outcome!" said Duffy, who has made a name for herself as one of the strongest cyclists in the field.
Carrying the USA flag next month will be compatriots World Number three and four Katie Zaferes and Kirsten Kasper, returning to take on the Yas Island course this March.
"I had a really good season last year and I am intent on maintaining that momentum," said Zaferes who earned medals in three WTS races in 2017 and finishing in the top 10 in all but one race. She finished the WTS series ranked third overall, which marked her first-ever world championship medal. She was fourth overall in 2016 and fifth in 2015.
"I am very fond of the Abu Dhabi race and have flown in to compete since 2015. The start list is very exciting and I can't wait to get back to the Yas Island course this year," said Zaferes who is intent on a podium finish.