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Canadians off to strong start in opening day of racing at EWS #2

Stormy weather plays in Canuck's favour at Enduro World Series Val di Fassa

Jesse Melamed Crankworx Summer Series Photo by: Clint Trahan / Crankworx

Stormy skies greeted racers Friday for the opening race day at Enduro World Series second round in Val de Fassa, Italy. Late changing weather either helped some Canadian and confounded others, as changing conditions arrived mid-way through the women’s race.

Canadians slide and/or shine

Early beneficiaries appear to be Nathan Sterckx, who found enough speed in the slick conditions to set the fastest under-21 men’s time on Friday’s Pro Stage by a solid 6.89 seconds. Johnathan Helly followed in 33rd.

On the women’s side, the Canadians had split luck. Rachel Pageau starts her race weekend with a fourth, 5.83 seconds of stage winner Camille Rast. With conditions changing mid-race for the women, and continuing to look unpredictable for Saturday’s remaining stages, anything could still happen.

Melanie Pugin (France) is currently the top placed from EWS #1’s podium finishers, sitting in 10th at 23.8 seconds back. Wednesday’s winner, Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp) is currently 14th at 28.83 seconds. Andréane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain Race Face), fourth at Round 1, is currently 25th, another 20 seconds arrears. Miranda Miller, who crashed hard near the finish line, sits 29th after Friday’s Pro Stage.

How much will the weather shake up the women’s standings? Which of the top riders will rally on Saturday? That could all depend on what the weather does overnight.

Melamed at home in the rain

All the top men faced similar conditions on Friday, resulting in a very similar-looking podium to Wednesday’s racing. Richie Rude (Yeti Fox) sits 5.5 seconds up on Jack Moir (Canyon CLLCTV). Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain Race Face) sits 6.29 seconds off the lead, having slid his way down in sketchy conditions not dissimilar to his current home in Squamish, B.C.

WATCH: Jesse Melamed’s wild post-thunderstorm race run

Friday’s results keep the Canadian within striking distance of Rude’s leading time. Melamed’s teammate, Remi Gauvin, is a few spots back in 18th at 20.30 seconds. Kasper Woolley (Yeti OneUp) is 61st, Carter Krasny 67th, McKay Vezina (Giant) 74th, all within 9 seconds of each other in the crowded middle ranks in the Pro Men’s field.