|After three races across two days, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy and USA’s Ben Kanute are crowned the 2017 Island House Invitational Champions.
In the men’s race, Kanute scored the victory in a dramatic sprint finish with New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone. The two were separated by just 11 seconds on the overall leaderboard as they began the third and final stage, a sprint distance triathlon. The unique pursuit format of the race saw Kanute diving into the crystal blue waters of Xuma Beach on Highbourne Cay in the Bahamas for the 750 metre, two lap swim. Bozzone started the swim at his deficit of eleven seconds and was followed by South Africa’s Henri Schoeman, Australia’s Aaron Royle and USA’s Cameron Dye, 36 seconds, 39 seconds and 49 seconds further back respectively.
As the athletes transitioned to the bike leg, Kanute remained in front but Bozzone had been caught in the water by Schoeman and Royle. The trio started the three lap, 20km bike leg together. However, Bozzone had been the strongest on the bike throughout the entire weekend and he demonstrated his cycling power once again, eating time into Kanute’s bike lead and distancing himself from Schoeman and Royle.
Kanute retained a 20-second lead starting the run but Bozzone exited transition on a mission. The 5km run course takes athletes up and down rocky stairs to the beach and includes almost 2km of beach running. Bozzone used his prior race experience on the island to claw his way back to Kanute’s shoulder by the halfway mark on the run. The pair ran together along the beach and back to the finish line to set up for a sprint finish with about 200 meters to go. Kanute narrowly edged ahead of Bozzone in the final meters and broke the tape to take the win. Bozzone had to settle for second place.
The battle for the third was tight between Royle and Schoeman but the South African narrowly beat the Australian for the final podium placing. Dye had started the run in fifth place but was outclassed by the hard-charging Australian, Ryan Bailie for fifth and Dye finished in sixth place.
in the women’s race, Duffy was first to enter the water, 14 seconds ahead of USA’s Katie Zaferes with Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence and USA’s Kirsten Kasper 1:36 and 1:39 further back respectively.
Duffy extended her lead in the two-lap swim and mounted her bike with a 30-second margin over Zaferes. Lawrence and Kasper were neck and neck in the swim and started the bike leg together. While Duffy continued to extend her lead over Zaferes on the bike, Zaferes was holding her own against her chasers, Lawrence and Kasper. It was becoming clear that the race for third was going to be close. Lawrence was pushing the pace on the bike but Kasper was not allowing the gap to grow too large, keeping Lawrence in her sights.
Duffy started the run clear in first with Zaferes in second and those placings would remain the same throughout the 5km run. Duffy finally earned the title of Island House Invitational Champion, after placing third and second in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Lawrence started the run with a slim lead over Kasper and was able to hold on for the final podium spot. Kasper remained in fourth and Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle rounded out the top five.
In the CEO race, Tim Cosulich maintained the lead he held overnight to take top honours ahead of Anthony Sullivan in second and Shannon Horn in third.