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.
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.
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.
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.