Enduro World Series racing is back for another globe trotting season, starting in Rotorua, New Zealand. The Canadian contingent was looking fast at the opening round, squeezing four riders into the top ten. It was a Belgian and a French rider out front, though. Martin Maes pulled off the perfect sweep, while Isabeau Courdurier came within one stage of matching Maes dominance.
Courdurier takes top spot
The women’s field was wide open in Rotorua with the absence of the imposing presence of Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord) on the start line. The French racer is currently sidelined due to injury. Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Collective) made the most of the opportunity, starting her season off with a win in Rotorua. Coururier won four of five stages, only dropping one stage to fellow Frenchwoman Morgane Charre. Bex Barona (Ibis Cycles) finished third behind Courdurier and Charre.
“My expectations were super low, I just wanted to go out there and have fun on my bike and leave Rotorua feeling happy,” said Courdurier after the race. “So I am definitely stoked to see that I am able to race here and do a very good result. It was a hard battle,”
Andréane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain / Race Face) started her season with a sixth place finish in New Zealand. Miranda Miller (Kona Factory Team), 2017 downhill world champion now focusing on enduro, finished 10th.
Maes mastery in New Zealand
Winning the 2018 Crankworx EWS round in Whistler and the La Bresse World Cup downhill in France a week later, Belgian Martin Maes (GT Fcatory Racing) has firmly established himself as one of the top gravity racers, no matter the discipline. Maes started the 2019 season in fine form, sweeping all five stages in Rotorua.
“A great race for me, I didn’t really expect to be so dominant today but I think I have been extremely smart on the bike and managing my energy well,” said Maes after the race. “With all the changes we’ve done on the bike, it seems like it’s paying off.”
Unior Devinci Factory Racing’s Keegan Wright followed a busy Crankworx week with his best ever EWS placing, finishing second behind Maes. The Kiwi with endless energy reserves already had a win in Crankworx 100% Dual Slalom, a silver in the pumptrack challenge and a 10th place in the Air DH before practice started for the grueling EWS event.Florian Nicolai finished third.
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Very proud of these 3 today. @jessemelamed finished 4th, @remi.the.semi 7th, and @andreaneln 6th, landing our team 2nd in the overall. These three stayed strong all day. #lovetheride #ews #crankworx Photos: @davetrumporephoto @raceface @fox @maxxistires @rideshimano @smithoptics @wildernesstrailbikes @evocsports @stagescycling @oneupcomponents @peatysproducts @cushcore
Jesse Melamed (Rocky Mountain / Race Face) was the next fastest in Rotorua, placing fourth after a big, 60km day of racing. Melamed’s teammate Remi Gauvin followed in 7th, putting all three Rocky Mountain / Race Face athlete’s inside the top 10 and helping boost the squad to 2nd in the team standings.
Rhys Verner (Kona Factory Team) was the next fastest Canadian in 34th. Mckay Vezina (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) followed in 46th, then Max Leyen (NCES Development) in 65th, Jonathan Lefrancois (Devinci) in 80th and Trevor Thew in 96th.
Canada’s under-21 men had a strong start to their international season. Kasper Woolley finished 9th in Rotorua, followed closely by Jacob Tooke in 13th.
Special shoutout goes to Jeff Beston. Riding for Trail Bicycles in Courtenay, B.C., Beeston was fourth in the stacked Master’s men’s race.
Full Results: 2019 Enduro World Series Round 1 – Rotorua, New Zealand
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