Enduro World Series EWS Richie Rude
Richie Rude in full attack mode Image: Enduro World Series

After struggling to regain form through much of 2017, Richie Rude found redemption in Montagnes du Caroux, winning Round 3 of Enduro World Series racing. Cecile Ravanel, not about to be unseated on home soil after winning the first two rounds of racing in South America won the Women’s race with another display of enduro dominance. The seemingly unshakeable French rider won all but one of the eight timed stages.

Canadian’s had mixed results in Montagnes du Caroux. Rachel Pageau (Unior Devinci Factory Racing) scored a 12th place finish in her first EWS round of 2018 while Rocky Mountain / Race Face’s Jesse Melamed crashed hard on Stage 2, breaking his collar bone and being forced out of the race. Melamed was fourth overall going into the French event, and looking fast in practice. Before crashing out, he was second on the first stage of racing. Melamed’s teammate Remi Gauvin was the top Canadian man, ending the weekend in 20th, with Giant Factory Off-Road’s Mckay Vezina close behind in 22nd.

 

Enduro World Series
There was plenty of awkward moments on course in France, even for eventual winner Cecile Ravanel Image: Enduro World Series
Enduro World Series EWS
Richie Rude keeping it low down Montagnes du Caroux Image: Enduro World Series

Montagnes du Caroux is Rude’s first EWS win since Whistler in 2016. After dominating that seasons overall ranking, Rude (Yeti Fox) struggled all 2017, the same year that saw Sam Hill switch to race enduro full time from World Cup dowhill and win the series overall. The expected Hill-Rude showdown didn’t materialize all last year, with Rude managing fourth in Derby, Tasmania as his best 2017 result after winning four rounds the previous year alone.

Chile looked like it would finally bring the two top enduro stars head-to-head before a flat on Lo Barnechea’s marathon 11 km stage caused Rude to lose enough time to take him out of contention for the weekend. Rude still won several stages showing he was back up to the pace that saw him win so easily in the past, if he could only avoid mechanical issues. As he did during 2017’s “Enduro Wet Series,” so called for the improbably constant rain that followed the series at each round, from spring to fall, Rude struggled with Colombia’s wet weather and slick conditions, leaving fans to wait once again for a showdown with Sam Hill.

Rain in the forecast threatened to once again derail Rude’s return to the top of an EWS podium, but the Yeti rider faced down his demons to hold on to his lead even after rain soaked the already treacherous Montagnes du Caroux course. Hill, in a rare off-pace race weekend, finished a minute 24 seconds off Rude’s pace back in sixth. The Australian fan favourite remains the series leader, but the French round shook up the the standings for podium position behind him.

Enduro World Series
Adrien Dailly switchbacks to second in France. Image: Enduro World Series

Rain in the forecast threatened to once again derail Rude’s return to the top of an EWS podium, but the Yeti rider faced down his demons to hold on to his lead even after rain soaked the already treacherous Montagnes du Caroux course. Hill, in a rare off-pace race weekend, finished a minute 24 seconds off Rude’s pace back in sixth. The Australian fan favourite remains the series leader, but the French round shook up the the standings for podium position behind him.

Adrien Dailly (Team Lapierre) was the top French man at the end of the weekend’s racing, finishing just 5.79 seconds behind Rude in a tight battle that continued right to the eighth and final stage on Sunday. GT Factory Racing’s Martin Maes fought back from an inconsistent Saturday of racing to claim the final podium spot with a strong second day of racing. Both Maes and Dailly missed out on points in one of the South American rounds, though, so are still back in the standings. Robin Wallner (Ibis) and Damien Oton (Unior Devinci), ranked second and third after two rounds, struggled in France and were forced to concede points.

Enduro World Series
Martin Maes fought back over Sunday’s stages to finish third.   Image: Enduro World Series
Enduro World Series
Isabeau Cordurier worked hard to get back to second in Round 3 Image: Enduro World Series

While Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord) shows no sign of slowing down, even with at least one hard crash on the rocky, technical French trails, the battle for second behind her continues to ratchet up with every round of racing. Ravanel won all the stages but the fourth, which was won by Rae Morrison (Giant Factory Off-Road). Isabeau Cordurier (Intense Mavic Collective) again finished second, but not without a battle with Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Racing) and Katy Winton (Trek Factory Racing). Thoma would eventually finish third while Winton, who started Sunday in podium position, faded to sixth after a brutal crash through one of the gnarlier, steep rock chutes on course.

Canada’s Rachel Pageau (Unior Devinci Factory Racing) rode consistently all weekend and finished a strong 12th in her first EWS race of 2018. The result in the French EWS round adds to her solid 2018 season, which already includes a downhill podium at the Windrock Pro GRT earlier this spring. Behind her, Megan Rose finished in 23rd, including an eighth place finish on stage four.

Enduro World Series
Ines Thoma on her way to a podium placing in France.  Image: Enduro World Series

2018 Enduro World Series Montagnes du Caroux, France – One Minute Highlights

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