Flat Pedals Still Win Medals, Consistent Top Performers & More Things We Learned from the Châtel EDR World Cup 2023

Sep 18, 2023
by Ed Spratt  
Jesse Melamed would be the only one to win two races this season in the elite men s division

After kicking off all the way back in March with two back-to-back Tasmanian rounds the first season of enduro World Cup racing has come to a close as riders battled for the overall in France. After seven great stages of racing and the overall coming down to the wire, here are a few of the things we spotted from the final enduro World Cup of 2023.

We Almost Saw a Repeat of the 2022 EWS Overall Standings

In a show of the incredible talent of the sport's top riders we saw the same riders in the top two positions for the Elite Categories and of course, Emmy Lan was once again the top U21 Women's racer. For the Elite Men, we did see a swap in the positioning as this year it was Richie Rude who took the title with 2022 EWS champ Jesse Melamed ending the season in 2nd place.

It really is amazing that despite some slight format changes and different venues spread across a very long season of seven months we still see Emmy Lan, Isabeau Courdurier, Morgane Charre, Richie Rude and Jesse Melamed at the top of the standings. The U21 Men's racing provided the biggest shakeup as last year's 6th-placed rider Lisandru Bertini topped the standings to take the win over Sascha Kim.

Emmy Lan U21 women s Enduro Wold Cup champ

Isabeau Courdurier & Morgane Charre Remain Unmatched

Another season and another year of domination from the French riders Isabeau Courdurier and Morgane Charre. The pair have been unstoppable in 2023 as they not only took the title fight down to the last race but also never dropped outside the top five across all seven races this year.

When it came to the final race this past weekend the racing couldn't have been more exciting as the lead changed back and forth across the first four stages. One moment for the history books will be the fifth stage where both riders secured maximum points as somehow they set the exact same time. Isabeau had already lost just over two seconds at this point but she managed to pull back a bit of time in the sixth stage before Morgane Charre finally shook off the 2023 series winner in stage seven and created a final winning margin of 6.87 seconds. We were truly given some amazing racing at the final round and the rest of the Elite Women's field has a lot to think about going into the off-season.
Morgane Charre on her way to victory in Chatel

Flat Pedals Are Still At the Sharp End of Racing

Sam Hill may not have been racing this season but in his absence, Morgane Charre, Dan Booker and Alex Rudeau have been flying the flag for flats and taking some big results. Morgane Charre has been the most successful this season on flats as she took them to the top step of the podium in Châtel along with five stage wins here and 2nd in the overall title fight. Alex Rudeau and Dan Booker also gave them a good running as Alex went third in the overall while taking 2nd in the final race and a stage win. Dan Booker backed up his strong start to the season with a fifth place a the final round and also took a stage win for flats. It's interesting to see that while flat pedals are disappearing in downhill World Cup racing they are featuring on podiums at enduro World Cups.

Dan Booker 5th doing it for the flat pedal crowd which also incudes winner Morgane Charr and runner up Alex Rudeau

Jesse Melamed & Morgane Charre Join Isabeau Courdurier as the Only Riders With More Than 1 Win in 2023

2023 has been one of the most unpredictable seasons of racing with both elite men's enduro and downhill World Cups producing fresh faces at the top for every round, at least until the racing Châtel. Jesse Melamed was on a mission in France as he won four of the seven stages and never dropped outside of the top four on his way to a second victory this season. A feat that remains unrivalled amongst the elite men across enduro and downhill so far in 2023. It also marks a drop from 2022's EWS season where we saw both Jesse Melamed and Richie Rude secure three wins each.

Also in the hunt for the overall Morgane Charre managed to best fellow French Isbeau Courdurier to take her second win in 2023. It was almost a complete French domination of the Women's win as only Bex Baraona was able to take the top podium spot away from either Isabeau or Morgane. 2023 sees Morgane up her wins from the 2022 EWS season where she won once with Isabeau matching her 2023 total of four wins.

Jesse Melamed s win or die trying pace in Chatel was incredible to watch as he truly lay it all on the line on each of the 7 stages to take the win.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
2,854 articles

  • 180 18
  • 16 6
 Clippy pedal shills seething rn
  • 2 0
 @wburnes: Gotta keep that SPD money rolling in!
  • 9 9
 @wburnes: Why seething? Clipless pedals won both overalls and the most rounds overall for the season. Am I missing something?
  • 15 1
 @bscic: Indeed. 3 riders out of the top 20(men & women combined) on flats, it seems.
  • 4 3
 Flats4Life. They are just the best, so many amateur categories are won on Flats, with the road shoes looking up at the Flaters.
  • 5 0
 @ashfordakers: Imagine how many more wins they would have if they switched to objectively superior flat pedals
  • 1 0
 @ashfordakers: True...
But on the other side, if you average the rankings of flat pedals on EDR, it's higher than that of clipless pedals.
Fact !
  • 2 0
 @bscic: yea, you're missing out on the flat life!
  • 87 1
 Fair play @edspratt for all the analysis and content all season, especially in the face of insurmountable whinging...
  • 18 0
 Would like to file a complaint: how dare anyone accuse Pinkers of whinging: on North American site, we insist you call it whining!
  • 15 0
 @powturn: two-stage colon violation renders your complaint void
  • 4 0
 @owl-X: Touche. In attempting to avoid double exclamation points, a lesser crime was still committed. May I re-submit for consideration if second occurrence is downgraded from full to semi-colon?
  • 2 0
 Didn’t want to upvote as the score was on 69.
  • 3 0
 @powturn: bro really i could care less irregardless. for all intensive purposes your free to go with it no matter what!
  • 79 0
 It should be interesting to note that zero competitors lost any races using old school toe strap clips
  • 18 0
 Sounds like a challenge for someone next year.
  • 3 0
  • 6 0
  • 34 3
 I like how they wrote, “Took a stage win for flats,” like they were racing on flats as some kind of statement or ideology, rather than simply what works for them.

Ride what works for you, people. You don’t need pros or race results to validate your decision.
  • 45 0
 I googled "confirmation bias" and got flat pedal results
  • 10 1
 Or better yet. Switch between them from time to time. It makes you better and mixes it up.
Some of my bikes have flats and other don't.
It also depends on what I'm doing / riding that day. Freeride type trails =flats. Long pedaly rides=clips. Ride in to do trail work=flats etc
  • 2 0
 @DizzyNinja: it’s funny. This debate has been going back for years, ever since they introduced clipless. People get riled up about it, but I don’t understand. I have no dog in the fight because I don’t care what other people use. It doesn’t affect me. And what I use affects them even less than that. Every single one of those guys could have won on old school Schwinn-type pedals (you know, those rubber blocks with the reflectors on them), and it wouldn’t matter to me because I’m not changing.
  • 4 1
 @TheR: Pick a pedal system, drive train/shock/fork/material/brand etc. and be a dick about it. Is seeming to be the norm. People need to be right about something to feel superior. Like you said no one cares what anyone ride and it doesn't invalidate what they do if someone is different. It definitely gets boring reading teh inane comments about it all the time.
  • 5 1
 @devlincc: No one has added anything to the conversation since 1999.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: so true.
  • 4 0
 @devlincc: you need to add crank length to the "... and be a dick about it" these days
  • 3 1
 Meh-if you can’t ride flats, you don’t know how to ride. I think any mountain biker should spend at least one full year on flats to clean up bad habits (pulling up to clear ledge ups, relying on cleats to stay attached to the bike in the air etc).

So if anything, casual/recreational riders have the most to gain from time on flats.

Then-if you still prefer, go back to clicking in.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: conversely I've only ridden flats a few times in 30 years of mtb riding. Mostly been an spd user from day one. I have no problem in bunny hoping over trail obstacles on flats though and can clear the same heights as I do with the clips. So my lens on that idea is a little skewed. I've stuck with clips because my left ankle is now fused and find my foot wanders off the pedal far too easily when I have ridden flats.

I do agree that beginners will probably feel a bit more confident not being attached when tackling new techinical stuff so it's good to try out both systems and see what suits you best.
  • 27 2
 I'm completely flattened by your insight
  • 16 0
 Seems like a Pinkbike pun train is afoot.
  • 12 0
 Let’s put a pin in this one.
  • 3 0
 @vw4ever: I really connect with flat pedal people now. Just can't clip in with the idea of using SPDs anymore, they just feel bad.
  • 8 0
 It’s definitely sole crushing
  • 5 1
  • 3 1
 @mkul7r4: this pun thread is brining a leg up, which some claim can boost it's power. Not proven, yet, though.
  • 10 0
 An analysis of @edspratt coverage: must be a lot of work. Very appreciative and regardless of all the things people can complain about structure wise, I felt very informed about what was going on. Thank you!
  • 13 0
 Clip on the left, flat on the right - stay friends with everyone.
  • 4 0
 Not with me, Flat on the left, I say!
  • 13 0
 Flat pedalled girls, they make the ridin' world go round.
  • 9 0
 Alex Storr also on flats. Not a "top performer" but one of the better all around riders in the field.
  • 10 1
 Flat pedals win medals, but clips win 'ships
  • 6 0
 Back to back to back boats.
  • 2 0
 SPD's win BLT's
  • 8 0
 Didn't Morgane win in Pietra and Chatel?
  • 6 0
 Good point I missed that. I have updated the article now. It's wild to see Isabeau and Morgane become even more dominant in 2023 compared to 2022 with only a single race where one of them wasn't the winner.
  • 2 0
 Was a big win too
  • 2 0
 @edspratt: nice one, glad I wasn't imagining it.
  • 5 0
 Anyone know what brand flats Charre, Rudeau and Booker use? Just curious. I've tried many myself and keep coming back to DMR Vaults.
  • 6 0
 Charre and Booker are on Nukeproof flats, I'm not sure about Rudeau.
  • 2 0
 @edspratt: Nice thanks Ed.

I do have a set of NukeProof flats and once I took the spacers out they are very good.
  • 2 0
 Rudeau is on Crankbrothers stamp from the looks of his Instagram
  • 4 0
 @edspratt: The Horizon flats are excellent
  • 4 0
 Yoooo love my DMR Vaults!
  • 1 0
 @Dankebleistift: What shoes was he running?
I know Charre runs Freerider Pros and Booker was on 2FO Roosts.
  • 8 2
 Flat pedals and 26" wheel will always be the most fun on a bike
  • 3 1
 Forgive the circular reasoning but if more downhillers used flat pedals there would be more podiums with flat pedal users on. In racing people hate to feel they are missing the edge so everyone switched to clipping in because everyone else has. Put Coulanges , Bruni , Dak on flats next race , one will podium at least
  • 1 0
 Maybe. I’m all for flats for most MTB applications, but the margin for DH races is sometimes within a second or two. DH pros ride flats because they are on the ragged edge of control, barely hanging on.
  • 3 2
 "It really is amazing that despite some slight format changes and different venues spread across a very long season of seven months we still see Emmy Lan, Isabeau Courdurier, Morgane Charre, Richie Rude and Jesse Melamed at the top of the standings."

Your life must be one of endless wonder. I am envious.
  • 3 0
 Maybe I missed it, but I feel like a bigger deal should be made out of the fact that it's been 7 seasons since Richie last won a world title. That is a long time to go to stay at the top.
  • 4 1
 What about all the teams that are quitting their support? Updates on that?
  • 23 0
 We have reached out to the teams and will hopefully have something coming soon.
  • 36 1
 @edspratt: Any chance of an interview with Chris Ball or Ruaridh Cunningham?
  • 8 0
 @dmb1: I think the comments section would be busy after that.
  • 9 0
 @dmb1: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Ball did an ask me anything ages ago. Answered nothing then disappeared and has been silent in the media ever since. Their heads are well and truly buried in the sand.
  • 1 0
 @mark-88: genuine question: was the AMA before the sale of EWS or after? Possible an embargo shit that down and he's just stayed away because of it.
  • 1 1
 @fatduke: Stick it behind a paywall. They'd like it and it would make $$$ for Pinkbike...
  • 1 0
 @mark-88: I'm not sure they can hide from this much longer..
  • 13 0
 Teams are quitting because they don't have any money. Bike sales are dead. Too much new inventory. Used bike market is saturated. Direct to consumer brands are selling at cost to keep revenue flowing. Retailers without cash will be BK in a few months. Q4 will be the great consolidation and in Q 1 and 2 of 2024 the market will switch to consumer direct or vertical paths for brands. Good news is a racer can buy a 10k bike for 5k and use 5k on travel to race. Win win.
  • 1 0
 @Matturalistic: I could be wrong, but I don't think EWS was sold - it just became affiliated to UCI, then the owner ESO took on the rights to all UCI MTB.

The AMA was after it was announced that ESO had won the rights for DH and XC.
  • 2 0
 @mark-88: Their heads are definitely buried in something, but I don't know if it's sand...
  • 1 0
 Not enough eyeballs-sports at the pro level are entertainment. And enduro racing can be hella entertaining for the racers, but not so much for viewers/spectators.

It’s a format that lends itself much more to grassroots racing than something like pure DH or even XC racing.
  • 2 3
 Who else is convinced that the flat pedals bit was only thrown in there as rage bait, to drive engagement? 'cause that one is *always* red meat for the commentariat.

Full disclosure: I'm a long-time clipped-in XC racer turned old-guy "enduro bro" (i.e. I got older/slower and traded in the hardtail for a full squish.) with flat pedals. My riding groups, when I'm not riding solo, are probably about 50/50 clipless/flat pedal riders. Don't really have a dog in this fight.
  • 1 0
 totes obvi
  • 1 0
 I’d say it is interesting that enduro racers can do well on flats, but elite DH racers are all clipped in, at least on race day.
  • 2 0
 Richie last won a title in 2016. That is a huge gap to go between championships in a sport that has exploded since then.
  • 1 0
 IMO why its important to bring attention to this , is that its harder to ride plat pedals , so these riders are demonstrating more skill than their co-competitors.
  • 3 1
 Watch Eddies Youtube coverage for some trackside entertainment.
  • 1 0
 I think flat pedals are faster in corners but on rowdy descents the chances of blowing a pedal is higher
  • 2 0
 It’s gotta be the shoes
  • 2 0
 Did anyone win on magnet pedals yet?
  • 1 0
 i was gonna put my clips on for tomorrow's ride but it could be wet and I haven't clipped in in since covid
  • 12 11
 "Flat pedals win medals" biggest cope in MTB
  • 2 0
 Long live flat pedals!
  • 1 0
 Flat pedals win fun. And also Lee you honest.
  • 1 0
 And also *keep* you honest.
  • 1 0
 Why do all you dorks get so hung up on what pedals people use?
  • 1 0
 So flat pedals still suck for racing
  • 1 0
 Speed Honor Longevity
  • 4 4
 Why no ebike love? Its much faster and fast is fun!!
  • 1 2
 The season no one even knew that it was happening. Zero coverage, perfect environment for prototype testing
  • 9 11
 You mean three riders on flats did well. but let's forget to mention all the other riders on clips that won or placed.
  • 5 0
 But is it fashion
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