Squamish, B.C.’s Kasper Woolley finished fourth in the second Enduro World Series round in Loudenvielle on Sunday. After two days and six stages of racing in France, the Canadian was just a handful of seconds off of earning his first elite Enduro World Series Podium.
Wolleey working back up to speed
Sunday’s big EWS result in Loudenvielle is a strong sign that Kasper Woolley (Yeti-OneUp Pro Team) is back near the form he’s shown over the last few years. The Squamish rider returned to the bike from injury right before the first half of the 2021 EWS season, and still posted strong results. Fourth in France delivers on the promise Woolley showed in fast u21 EWS races and Big Mountain Enduro wins in 2020.
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Miranda Miller (Kona Gravity) finished 13th in Loudenvielle, the only Canadian woman in the race.
McKay Vezina (Giant Factory Off-Road) was the next fastest Canadian in the pro men’s race, placing 29th. Rhys Verner (Forbidden Synthesis) was close behind in 31st. Remi Gauvin (Rocky Mountain Race Face) followed ten spots later in 41st. Carter Krasny added to the Canadian results in 54th, Evan Wall 63rd and Jacob Tooke 73rd.
Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain Race Face) was fifth after Saturday’s Pro Stage in Loudenvielle, and fifth again on the first stage Sunday. But mechanical woes saw the Canadian, who arrived in France ranked third overall, sidelined before the race finish. Leaving France, Melamed sits sixth, but he’s still in a tight race for that third position.
In the under-21 men’s race Emmett Hancock was the fastest Canuck, finishing 6th overall. That included third and fourth place stage finishes along the way. Other Canadians in the u21 race were Nathan Sterckx in 22nd, Jack Menzies 35th and Johnathan Helley in 37th.
Rude v. Moir and Courdurier’s return
Just in front of Woolley, Jack Moir (Canyon Cllctv) and Richie Rude (Yeti Fox) resumed their season-long battle for the top podium step. Neither rider has finished worse than second yet in 2021, and Loudenvielle would be no different. After winning the first half of a French double-header on Thursday, Moir took the lead early in the week’s second event. Moir won Saturday’s Pro Stage as well as the first and last stages on Sunday. That gave him the time he needed, beating Rude by 12.74 seconds after 33 minutes 59.90 seconds of racing in Loudenvielle.
Specialized’s French racer Kevin Miquel, clearly enjoying racing on home turf, took third for the second time this week.
On the women’s side, a return to French soil also appeared to help Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective). The past EWS champion was back on the top podium step on Sunday in an incredibly close battle for the women’s win in Loudenvielle. Though with Morgane Charre (Pivot Factory) and Melanie Pugin making it an all French podium, Courdurier’s win is more likely sign of a return to form than any kind of home turf advantage.
Jack Moir extends his lead over Rude in the EWS overall. Melanie Pugin still leads the women’s standings, but with Coudurier closing in behind her.
The Enduro World Series now heads high into the Swiss Alps. A traditional single-race weekend, the Crans-Montana EWS starts with a Pro Stage on Saturday, Sept. 11 before the main race-day takes place on Sunday the 12th.