Can anybody beat the French at enduro racing? That was the big question coming into this weekend and the resounding answer by the end of the weekend is no as Jerome Clementz came away with a white wash. In the men's category anyway, for the women Anka Martin showed up from Oregon of all places and schooled pretty much everyone on how you race enduro. Heavy rain in the night had left the ground damp and as the first riders headed up into the mountains above Suaze D'Oulx the rain set in for the day. The rain didn't dampen the quality of the racing as the world's fastest enduro racers went for the sport's biggest prize - the trophy of nations (this year hand carved by local sculptor Maurizio Perron).
Italy's Manuel Ducci going flatout despite carrying an injury from earlier in the weekend
The conditions Sunday morning...
Clementz walked away with a clean sweep in the men’s competition – individual winner, on the winning national team and first down in the mass start race – he has to have had a slight sense of unease as he drove home though. His performance was mighty, in a top six that were separated by one and a half minutes, he walked away with a winning margin of about thirty seconds. However, Nico Vouilloz won six of the seven stages. The only stage he didn’t win was the second stage of the first day when he had a pinch flat. While it is comforting to most of us that a rider as great as Nico can be undone by something as simple as that, if you take off the five minutes he lost there it would place him a minute ahead of Jerome. Don’t doubt that Nico will be back next year, with a set of dual ply tyres on this time. Karim Amour also had a big technical problem on that second stage and without the two minutes or so to that he lost he would also have been breathing right down Jerome’s neck.
|It has been another great enduro of nations and I am proud to have taken the win for France. - Jerome Clementz, Cannondale Bikes|
You have to wonder how much further up that top five Karim Amour would have finished without his technical problem.
Rain, what rain?
Italy’s Andrea Bruno led the charge of those trying to hunt down the French. One minute forty-four seconds isn’t such a big gap to close if you have his determination, although even he would admit that he was pretty happy to be that close to Jerome. Following Bruno were Switzerland’s Florian Golay and England’s Alex Stock. Stock’s result is particularly impressive seeing as it’s only his first season on the circuit and he’s definitely a name to watch over the next few years – he beat Nico down in the mass start, which isn’t a bad claim for anyone to be able to make.
An unknown rider on the wet rocks on the lower section of the course.
Some of the top riders battling it out in the mass start race.
Golay and Stock’s strong performances did have big implications for the team event. They split up the pack of French riders nicely and were followed by other fast Italians. This meant that for the first time an Italian team has stood on that podium and made a brace of third places for Bruno. Davide Sottocornola and Marco Rodolico joined him there. Amour and Vouilloz’s slightly less well known, young teammate Nicolas Lau led their team to a solid, if disappointing for them, second. Once again this weekend, Jerome Clementz was there on that top step, with Greg Doucende and Theo Galy for France.
Nico Vouilloz has to be gutted about his flat.
In the women, you can put Anka Martin’s dominance into perspective by looking at Nico Vouilloz’s times and remembering that Nico is regarded by many as the fastest downhiller ever to put foot to pedal. If you take the five minutes he lost away and maybe assume he won that stage by ten seconds, he’s still only around two minutes ahead of the Jerome Clementz. Martin won by four minutes. Impressive is the only word you can use for that kind of performance.
|It was a great weekend, I really enjoyed it, it's such a good format for racing. It was so fun sliding sideways everywhere today too! I'll definitely be coming back next year. - Anka Martin, Santa Cruz/SRAM|
The winning teams and the incredible crew behind the event.
Here’s the main results
The women's podium.
:Men’s individual results
1 JEROME Clementz, France 59'04.2250
2 NICOLAS Lau, France 1:00'33.0200
3 BRUNO Andrea, Italy 1:00'48.5170
4 GOLAY Florian, Switzerland 1:01'09.7150
5 ALEX Stock, United Kingdom 1:01'32.0130
6 SOTTOCORNOLA Davide, Italy 1:01'34.9100
7 KARIM Amour, France 1:01'40.1900
8 GAMBIRASIO Vittorio, Italy 1:02'17.0800
9 GREG Doucende, France 1:02'29.8700
10 OLIVIER Giordanengo, France 1:02'30.0600
15 NICOLAS Vouilloz, France 1:03'54.9250Women’s individual results
1 MARTIN Anka, U.S.A. 1:15'57.3000
2 DIFFENTHALER Pauline, France 1:19'43.8000
3 UTTINI Marianna, Italy 1:21'19.8000Team results1 France 1 3:52'56.5
4 JEROME Clementz 1:14'30.2
5 GREG Doucende 1:18'34.8
6 THEO Galy 1:19'51.42 France 3 3:53'06.5
15 NICOLAS Lau 1:16'12.5
13 KARIM Amour 1:17'19.4
14 NICOLAS Vouilloz 1:19'34.53 Italy 1 3:58'23.3
1 BRUNO Andrea 1:18'07.3
2 SOTTOCORNOLA Davide 1:18'18.8
3 RODOLICO Marco 1:21'57.24 France 2 4:01'40.0
12 OLIVIER Giordanengo 1:19'56.9
11 THOMAS Decugis 1:20'15.2
10 MARIN Trocello 1:21'27.85 United Kingdom 4:03'52.6
20 ALEX Stock 1:17'11.4
19 ROWAN Sorrel 1:22'29.6
21 JAMES Mcknight 1:24'11.5
You can find the full results on the Superenduro website
Photos by the incredibly talented Simon Cittati and Matteo Cappe.