The second round of the 2019 Enduro World Series is over and Martin Maes and Isabeau Courdurier dominated the field once again. The six stages spread across the Tasmanian jungle were lined with spectators all weekend long offering riders plenty of encouragement to go as fast as possible. Take a look at five things we noticed from the sidelines.
After taking the win at the previous round in Rotorua both Martin and Isabeau retained their vice-like grip on this season's racing finishing with commanding leads of 17.47 and 22.2 seconds respectively. Maes would win three of the six stages and never dropped outside of the top six on the other stages. His worst stage was stage five but he was still only 2.47 seconds back. Isabeau didn't drop outside of the top two and won three of the weekend's stages. Her consistent speed meant she never dropped more than three seconds back and won stage five by over 10 seconds. Both riders also won the Queen stage on Saturday giving them an extra 40 points in the overall. This means that both riders current have the highest possible points total thus far and carry leads of more than 200 points into the rest of the season.
In September Finale Ligure will play host to the first EWS Trophy of Nations. This event will see each country assemble a team of riders with the winner being the team with the most points. After the first two rounds of this season, the Kiwis look to be a force to be reckoned with. Filling 30% of the men's top 15 in Rotorua and 33% of the men's top 15 in Tasmania they are looking super-strong early in the season.
3. Jill Kintner taking another MTB accolade
Jill Kintner already has a long list of mountain biking achievement but now she can add EWS silver medalist. In her first world enduro race, she kept an impressive pace that would see her take two stage wins and never drop out of the top six. Jill's race was the most successful debut by a woman since Casey Brown also picked up second place at Chile in 2016. She lost 22 seconds to Courdurier over the course of the race but will no doubt be chasing wins before the year is out.
After suffering through Rotorua with an illness things didn't get much better in Tasmania for the two-time series champion. Finishing the race in 9th Sam only managed to get inside the top 10 on three of the six stages, although one of them was the final stage that he won by 0.02 seconds. With a long six week break until the next round, he has plenty of time to prepare to fight back against Martin Maes' control of this season.
With Martin Maes taking another dominating win in Tasmania that is now back to back wins for the 29/27.5 combo. Does the mix of wheel sizes really offer that much of an advantage? It will be interesting to see if any other riders appear in Madeira (or even at the World Cup in Maribor) in six weeks time with their own mixed wheel set ups.