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Urban enduro and jungle speed tunnels: Melamed 10th in Colombia

Heavy rain makes for wild conditions in Manizales, while familiar faces rise to the occasion

Enduro World Series EWS Colombia Manizales
Sam Hill through Manizales, Colombia Image: Enduro World Series

Crowds were as thick as the mud in Colombia over the weekend, as huge numbers turned out to cheer on Enduro World Series racers in Manizales, Colombia. Many were out to cheer on local favourite, World Cup downhill racer Marcelo Gutierez, who took the home court advantage as a chance for one more battle against a dominant Sam Hill, who made his own switch from DH to enduro last season. Heavy overnight rains wreaked havoc on course, as racers battled deep ruts and peanut butter thick mud for six stages of racing in the jungle after an urban enduro prologue through the heart of Manizales.

Sam Hill and Cecile Ravanel showed again why they finished 2017 at the top of overall standings, quickly adapting from last weeks dry dusty conditions to dominate when heavy rains turned long sections of the course into deep, sticky mud. The change in conditions was enough to convince EWS organizers to shorten Sundays racing from seven stages to six, with racers rush to make liaison times through the thick slop proving as great a challenge as racing in the traction-less conditions.

Enduro World Series Ravanel EWS Manizales
Cecile Ravanel sped through the Colombian jungle to another convincing victory Image: Enduro World Series

In a rare departure from Ravanel’s usual dominance, the Commencal Vallnord rider dropped stage wins to Isabeau Cordurier (Intense Mavic Collective), Katy Winton (Trek Factory Racing), Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro) and Anneke Beerten (Alchemy Factory Racing) over the course of the weekend. Consistency proved key in the wild conditions, though, and Ravanel’s three stage wins still saw her to the top step of the podium ahead of Cordurier in second and Winton in third.

Ravanel now has until May 13th to decide whether she sticks with her original plan, to mix EWS events with World Cup downhill racing, or to continue to defend her series lead over Cordurier when racing resumes in Olargues, France. The possibility of a win on home soil will surely be motivating both riders, while the rest of the field continues to hunt for a way to dislodge them from the top steps of the podium.

Enduro World Series EWS Beerten Manizales
After winning the urban prologue, Anneke Beerten finds an inside line on stage four Image: Enduro World Series
Enduro World Series EWS Manizales Gutierrez
Well versed in urban racing and motivated by the home crowd, Gutierrez dominated the downtown prologue Image: Enduro World Series

Hometown hero, Marcelo Gutierrez (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) took a break from Downhill racing to join in when the Enduro World Series stopped by, with the Colombian national downhill champion taking an early stage win in the urban enduro prologue on Saturday. A massive roar of support was heard any time the Colombian was on course throughout Sunday racing. A string of seconds and thirds on the remaining stages was enough to stay on the podium, with only the hard charging Sam Hill able to surpass Gutierrez on the podium.

Enduro World Series EWS Colombia Orton
Two feet out and flying, Damien Orton slid into third by Sunday’s end Image: Enduro World Series

No stranger to success on muddy tracks, Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles) used his years on the World Cup DH circuit to great advantage, winning four of the seven stages to back up his win in Chile a week earlier. Hill won the first four of Sunday’s jungle stages, handily steering through the thick mud to build an impressive advantage before the days final two stages. Behind him, Gutierrez, buoyed by the home crowd’s loud cheers, battled to stay ahead of Damien Orton (Unior Devinci Factory Racing), who rode consistently to rise up through the ranks over Sunday’s six stages, ending a muddy, physical day in third.


Enduro World Series EWS Manizales Melamed
Jesse Melamed battled with the muddy conditions all day, slamming hard on his knee early on. After two rounds, Melamed returns to Whistler 4th overall in the series Image: Enduro World Series

Whistler’s Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain / Race Face) continued a strong start to his season, finishing 10th in Colombia after several crashes on the mud-slicked course. Combined with the Chile round, Melamed returns home sitting fourth overall in the EWS rankings. Rocky Mountain / Race Face’s Remi Gauvin, still fighting with recovery from a wrist injury, was the second Canadian in the rankings, salvaging a 30th place at the days end.

Ted Morton and Brendon Edgar were next, finishing 67th and 69th, respectively, followed by Trevor Thew in 78th. Takoda Crawford and Cody Macarthur found themselves close together on the rankings, at 103rd and 107th. Kelly St-Amant in 144th, and Levi Harapnuik in 167th round out the Canadian presence in Colombia, with Giant Factory Off-Road Team’s McKay Vezina forced out of the race after the urban prologue.

Enduro World Series EWS Manizales Vezina
Vezina went down in the high speed jungle tunnel during practice, earning some early stitches. Image: Enduro World Series
Enduro World Series EWS Manizales Hill
1st: Hill 2nd: Gutierrez 3rd: Orton Image: Enduro World Series
Enduro World Series EWS Manizales Ravanel
1st: Ravanel 2nd: Cordurier 3rd: Winton Image: Enduro World Series

Enduro World Series 2018 Round 2: Manizales, Colombia – One Minute Highlights