At what point does enduro become downhill?
What else of note happened during the weekend?
1. He’s in Rude health
Richie Rude is not only extremely talented and fearless bike handler, he’s also insanely fit. The time he put into his rivals on the now-infamous short uphill section of stage 6 spoke volumes. Fitness used to to be the trump card of the european enduro specialists. Not any more.
2. Will Clementz recover?
Or is he ‘past it’? It’s a brave person who comes out and says this and we’d not be keen on writing his chances off forever more. All racers go through lean periods and this appears to be his. It’s a sign of his previous dominance that a top 10 finish is seen as disappointing!
3. Geek stats are coming
The Enduro World Series bods have taken on some fancy live-tracking GPS stuff. It’s more for post-race analysis than as-it-happens monitoring though really. If you look at the graph above of how the elite women performed on stage 4, just after 2km, where the elevation appears to levels out (in reality it’s a steep climb) Ravanel pulls dramatically ahead, A.L.Nadeau also jumps up to second on stage and maintains that position to the finish.
4. Cecile Ravenel is The One
Much like how Ritchie Rude is the clear favourite in the men’s – it’s up to him to lose the series rather than win it – so to has Cecile Ravanel come to dominate the women’s racing. Cecile won every single stage of La Thuile.
5. It’s still a surprise to see Sam Hill crash
It really is ace to see Sam Hill seemingly having the time of his life racing the EWS this year. We all heard about his crash during a stage of La Thuile but it wasn’t until the videographer’s put together their footage did they realise they had captured it on film. This is the screengrab of the moment.
6. Joe Barnes comeback
Barnes has had somewhat of a mixed bag in the EWS of late so we should take stock of his top 10 result at La Thuile. No doubt the rowdy course suited his ballsy riding style but there needs to be more something more to a rider than just being bold. Hopefully Joe Barnes has his head back in the game.
7. Hard enduro is still not downhill
The tracks at La Thuile looked rough. steep and technical. Some internet commentators were complaining that it was too much like Downhill racing to be ‘proper’ enduro. This is a load of tripe. La Thuile was hard but it wasn’t demanding of triple-clamp forks and 200mm of travel. It may have looked more like Endurance DH than enduro – but that’s what one end of the enduro spectrum should look like.