Whistler's CamelBak Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized Enduro World Series round once again lived up to its namesake of 'Crankzilla' as racers battled it out on one long monster of a day. Overnight rain had no effect on conditions, not even for the better. It would be a fight through dusty ruts, big holes and loose rocks over 5 long stages, culminating with the 20-minute beast that is Top of the World, down to Whistler village.
In the women's race, Cecile Ravanel jumped to an early lead, with Isabeau Courdurier and Adreane Lanthier Nadeau in tow - close, but safely behind. The order would stay the same heading into the 5th and final stage, but with half the overall race time coming from the last stage of the day, there was still much to play for. ALN threw down what looked to be a safe time to seal the final podium spot, but it would be a surging Noga Korem who had been flying under the radar all day who would put in an astounding time to steal the 3rd spot away. Cecile and Isabeau would cross the line together to finish in 1st and 2nd for the sixth time this season. Another victory for Cecile, but Isabeau's times have been inching closer each round. Perhaps a tighter battle will ensue at the last two rounds of the season.
Richie Rude would come out swinging from the get-go to take the lead on stage one in the men's race. He may well have done the same on stage two had he not smashed a tree at full speed mid-run down the rock slab on Crazy Train. Martin Maes established himself as the key challenger on stage one and would take advantage of Richie's mistake to move ahead after stage two. A spot he would hold until the end. Behind the battle for the lead, Eddie Masters dueled with Sam Hill for three stages until Sam leapt ahead going into the long final stage down Top of the World.
With Martin Maes just 1.5 seconds ahead, Richie Rude was surely a scary opponent to face in the final stage. Richie has won Top of the World twice before to win from behind in Whistler. Unfortunately, a puncture near the top would spelled disaster for Richie, while a stellar run by Maes ensured he wouldn't be playing the second place fiddle on the podium this time around. Instead, second place would be reserved for defending champ Sam Hill, with Eddie Masters benefiting from Rude's puncture to take 3rd.
With two rounds to go, Cecile Ravanel is all but unbeatable, and Sam Hill is comfortably in the driver's seat for the men. The remaining overall spots will be up for grabs when things heat up again next month in Ainsa, Spain.