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The continuous time random walk (CTRW) approach allows us to construct transport models based on waiting times and particle flight distributions. The connection between the distribution of particle flights and the distribution of radial extents of the connected components of the flow has already been shown by Garcia et al (2009 Phys. Rev. E 80 046410). Here, the connection between the large-scale cycles of the flow structure and the trapping times is explored. It is shown that the distribution of trapping times of the tracers is given by the distribution of lifetimes of the large-scale cycles in the flow structure. This distribution has a power tail, which is the result of the dynamics of avalanche transport.