Lightning might not strike twice, but the podium at Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park saw a return to the top step of all three winners of the previous round, Jérôme Clementz, Tracy Moseley and Martin Maes, marking the first time in the extremely tight Men’s Series, that a repeat victory has occurred.
It was also the first time that the inaugural Enduro World Series has dealt with lightning. After an overnight storm strike damaged the chairlift systems, organizers cancelled the original Stage 4 opting to break Stage 3 into two parts.
Riders competing in the Specialized Enduro at Colorado Freeride Festival had to be on their game for three days – a challenge, compounded by intense afternoon storms, rocky terrain and the altitude of Winter Park resort, that tested riders’ mental fortitude, as well as their physical stamina and equipment management skills.
The continual shifting format across all four rounds of the Series so far has tasked even the most experienced athletes, demanding extreme adaptability, and ensuring that the first Enduro World Champion will truly be the best mountain bike rider in the world.
Former downhill World Champion, Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) continued to dominate the Women’s contest, consolidating her overall lead with her fourth victory in a row. Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) won two of the five stages and placed second, with 4X World Champion Anneke Beerten (Specialized) placing third.
In the men’s race, despite an influx of some of North America’s top enduro racers finishing in the top 20, French riders dominated the podium. Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain) took his second consecutive victory of the Series, with Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre) in second, and round 1 winner Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) taking third.
Jared Graves (Yeti) won three of the five stages and finished second to Clementz in stage 3, but suffered a mechanical on stage 2 that dropped him out of podium contention and into 23rd place. Graves’ overall points and consistent performances throughout the Series have him currently in third, overall, with Barel just 44 points behind him.
Belgium’s Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) not only dominated the Junior contest, but finished 7th fastest overall amongst all the men.
Says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “The people standing on the top step at Finale will without doubt be the best riders in the world. This Series has tested these athletes from sea level to altitude, from the physical to the technical, through natural backcountry terrain to Bike Park trails, in bad weather and good. No one rider has been in their comfort zone throughout, and as we head to Crankworx Whistler for round 5, we’ll see how they fare against yet another format with a long single day race that will demand a high comfort level with wilderness self-sufficient riding.”
The Enduro World Series moves next to Crankworx Whistler, for round 5, where the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized will take place Sunday August 11.
Watch for the Official Highlights Show of the Colorado Freeride Festival’s Specialized Enduro, brought to you by Shimano from Dirt TV on Tuesday.
Words: EWS PR Photos: Winter Park Resort