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Race Report: EWS Round #4 – La Thuile

A breathtaking final has just closed the epic weekend of La Thuile. This first-time involvement of the Aosta Valley venue in the Enduro World Series has been remarkable and the Round run perfectly under all perspectives. The organizing machine worked really well and it nicely brought La Thuile to the finish line of a challenge that started more than one year ago. Starting with the first idea about the event, going throughout all the following phases, as the terrain inspections, the detailed planning and the promotion in the media, the local staff with the help of the Superenduro crew has been able to make the top riders of the mountain-bike enduro meet all together under the Mont Blanc slopes.

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For more than the 450 riders taking part, the race itself has been memorable as well, as they experienced every weather, with snow and hail on top. This has been a very special Round, with more that 35 km of riding during the Special Stages, more than one hour of timed action and a total descent nothing less than 4000 m. Thankfully, the local administration and the Funivie Piccolo San Bernardo joined forces with the organizing staff. Not to forget the help given by more than 100 volunteers, perfectly coordinated, who provided the highest level of safety during the Special Stages.

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After six SP distributed over Saturday and Sunday, the French Damien Oton of the team Devinci Alltricks.com could get his first victory. After more than one hour of racing, the advantage over the compatriot Francois Bailly-Maitre (BMC Enduro Racing) has been a thin 3”15. The third position goes to the British Joe Barnes (Canyon Factory Enduro). The Swiss Rene Wildhaber (Trek Factory Racing) is fourth, just in front of the Australian Jared Graves (Yeti, Fox Shox Factory). For the public, the show has been thrilling until the last meter of the course, as the top four riders were still within a four-second time window before the last SP. The finish line in the paddock area has offered one of the most intense moments in the history of the Enduro World Series, especially when Oton erupted realizing, after the last rider, that he had made it. The Italian riders have been left quite far from the top positions: Denny Lupato (Lapierre – FRM Factory) got the forty-first place, but his performance can be considered positive as this is the first season he races in the Enduro discipline.

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The race of the ladies has been controlled by the British rider Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing), in front of Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) and Cecile Ravanel (GT Pulse) both from France. Tracy secured her advantage during the morning, after the very long PS “Superkappa” and since then the rivals could not close the gap, even if they rode well the PS 5 and 6. Laura Rossin (Devinci – Dream Team) has been the best Italian rider and confirmed that the National jersey she conquered last June is well deserved.

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In the Junior category Sebastien Claquin (Giant) has been the fastest, in front of the Italian Alessandro Levra (Bikecafe), national promise of the discipline, and Clement Decugis (Yeti Tribe).

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The weather has not really created any problem to the unfolding of the event and a huge public could cheer the riders along the course. A few could even watch the race from the very top, with a number of heli-flights organized especially for the tourists. The Enduro World Series jumps now to the other side of the Ocean for the two American Rounds in Colorado and Canada.

Words & Pictures: Superenduromtb.com

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