What a day! Practice at the third round of the Enduro World Series in Les 2 Alpes is over and everybody is preparing their bikes for tomorrow’s race! After an incredible event in Val d’Allos last weekend with highs and lows for many riders fighting for the best time, this third round will be once again a huge challenge for many riders.
The altitude is definitely something many riders have to consider during the race. The village Les 2 Alpes sits at 1,650 m and stages will start at an altitude of around 2.400 m.
Just like in Val d’Allos the riders will be using lifts to reach the top of the 4 stages, from 7 to 15 minutes long.
Due to a record winter snow cover was still extensive on the mountain, there can be few places where dusty enduro racers mix with skiers on the same lifts!
Many teams are still not 100% sure what bike to choose, there’s also a clear strategy of changing the bike’s suspension setup during the race to adapt it perfectly to the terrain. The fact that the pits are located at the base of both mountains used for the special stages is good for the riders wanting to change their setup, but bad for (our) idea of enduro, where you ride one bike setup that will serve and last at least the whole day of racing!
Lukas Anrig from Norco World Enduro Team in the lower part of stage 2.
Sven Martin showing Anka some lines in the rocky and steep section of stage 2.
How will Sick Mick Hannah perform? He’s definitely one of the guys to watch tomorrow as he’s incredibly strong in pedaling as well as descending!
The tracks are very challenging: rough and fast. “More like a DH race — I actually don’t enjoy it very much, you have to risk too much to stay up front!”
“It’s so easy to crash!” Check out series overall leader Jared Grave’s take on the race:
Jared preparing his bike. Except a bigger chainring a full chain guide he’s racing with the same setup like on the previous Enduro World Series races. Race mode is fastest man starts last. Series leader Jared Graves (Yeti/FOX) is supposed to start stage 4 at 6 pm. That means even rougher tracks for the top guys!
Lars Sternberg from the US with number 62 this weekend. Clever mounted number by the way!
In the build up to the event conditions have been hot and dry, riders will be racing in the sun but overtaking (or just following) could be problematic due to the deep dust. In the pictures above you see Tracy Hannah following her brother Sick Mick!
Adam Craig (Giant OFFROAD Factory Racing / SRAM) just won an Oregon Enduro Series in the US. How will he perform this weekend?
You see lots of riders with GoPros / helmet cams riding the stages. As there’s only one day of training here in Les 2 Alpes many of the riders will be watching “TV” all night to learn the stages.This round of the EWS might favor some of the DH riders. DH pro rider Blinky (Lapierre) aka Sam Blenkinsop did quite a few training runs on stage 2 today!
Unfortunately the riders are spread all over the 4 stages during training so it might happen that as a photographer you wait more than one hour for a rider to pass you on the trail to shoot. This is why we didn’t see top podium contenders like Jerome Clementz (Cannondale) or Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre) today!
Photographer Sven Martin is a shredder. He just doesn’t care about having equipment worth plenty of thousands bucks on his shoulders.
Will Tracy Moseley (T-MO Racing / Trek) be able to take her third win at the Enduro World Series this weekend? Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) is back on track as well and definitely hungry to fight for the podium’s top spot
What about DH World Champ Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre)?
Due to the many high speed sections riders are switching to big chainrings in the front: Most riders will ride 36t or 38t on their SRAM XX1. Sick Mick runs a 40t chainring on his Shimano 11-36 setup!
Anneke Beerten in the pits after training doing some light rolling. She just got her Specialized Enduro 29, but will be racing on her Enduro 26 as she hasn’t had the time to adjust it perfectly and get familiar with this new bike.
Thanks to the whole SRAM crew for giving us great support with WIFI and everything we needed to provide you with this article today. Cheers!
Photo: Axel Brunst / R.S. Words: Robin Schmitt / Trev Worsey