Like for the last days of the Tour de France, the weather in the South Alps of France was not really friendly this weekend for the third round of the French Enduro Cup. But some said it was not that bad, with only one big thunderstorm, lightning and hail followed by rain on Saturday, and no rain but fog on Sunday with a few rays of sun for the podium ceremony...
Reallon resort is at 1560 m above sea level, 30 minutes from Gap, on the edge of the beautiful Ecrins National Park, and has a stunning view on the Serre-Poncon lake from the top of his trails where the « Cirque des Aiguilles de Chabrieres » stands. The tracks of the race were a mix of existing bike park tracks and new and natural trails shaped on rocks at the top and loamy dirt and slippery roots in the forest. A very good mix of technical vs fast parts served by 2 chairlifts which means riders had to pedal only 600 m up during the week-end and they rode down 4000 m during the 4 stages. Two of the four stages were half-blind raced and due to the bad weather, two of the six timed stages originally planned were cancelled.
The men’s category was dominated by Alex Rudeau all over the week-end meaning that he just won his first French Enduro Cup race ever. Yannick Pontal climbed on the second step of the podium 36.176 seconds behind Rudeau after 33:13.524 minutes of racing. Clement Benoit managed to keep his 3rd spot few seconds in front of Louis Jeandel who was 5th on Saturday and finished 4th on Sunday in front of Loic Piazzon. A special note on Mathieu Ruffray who took the start with the last plate of the men’s (#195) as he forgot to register to the race! Despite his position, he managed to take the 23rd spot on stage one, but unfortunately had a bad crash (hip fractured) on Stage 2 on Saturday and will not be able to ride during the next month.
Laura Charles continues to dominate the women’s field delivering a good battle against Estelle Charles only 14 seconds behind after 40 minutes of racing. Axelle Murigneux was consistent enough to secure the 3rd place. In the Men Juniors category, Thimote Mille almost signed a perfect week-end but failed on the 3rd stage with a second position behind Francescu Camoin.
The next and final round of the French Enduro Series will be in Loudenvielle, in the Pyrenees mountains closed to the Spanish border.
Tourist view of the Cirque des Aiguilles de Chabrieres and the famous Serre-Poncon lake.
Putting Michelin DH 22 tires with style while every rider was welcomed with a local beer in their bag.
Great speaker Phillippe Join-Lamber launching the week-end with the security points and the good vibes.
First riders opening the week-end like...
Number 1 plate Eliott Baud was not able to keep his position after a bad Stage One.
Two chairlifts meant only 600 m pedaling up during all the week-end.
Louis Jeandel had a pretty good start with the 1st spot on Stage one before the storm.
Clement Benoit, 3rd place this week-end.
Couldn't get bored of the view when the sun was still there on Saturday morning.
2nd place Estelle Charles riding a "corner with a view".
Matthieu Ruffray with the last Men Category plate number, but always with style. It was on Stage 1, before his bad crash on Stage 2.
A view from above a rainy Stage 1 with Reallon as a background.
Minutes before the storm got really crazy on Saturday and the had to stop the race during more than 30 minutes.
Alex Rudeau en route for his first win!
Laura Charles keeping her lead in Stage 2.
Natural wet track between rocks, trees and roots.
Junior Thomas Lapraye lost a lot of time on stage 2 resulting in a 7th place at the end of the week-end.
A Cadet attacking a turn in the nice forest of Stage 2.
Camille Lepley took the 1st spot in the Master 1 category.
No thunderstorm anymore on Sunday, but a lovely fog...
Hopefully riders had a training run on the 1st stage of Sunday. You better go in the right direction to not fall!
Same spot, different angle...
Yannick Pontal left his e-bike at home and came back with a second-place only with his own legs and a bit of talent.
Some nice place between rocks with a bit of misty fog during stage 3.
Juniors loved to send it all over the week-end.
A small mistake in the big rocks meant Lucas Monetti was down within a second. Stage 3 was hard, technically and physically.
3rd place Axelle Murigneux riding the beautiful top section of Stage 3.
Gilles Doze took the 1st place in the Master 2 category.
The battle for the 1st spot in the Master 1 category was very intense between 2nd place David Metche (pictured) and 1st place Camille Lepley with only 3 seconds difference after 37 minutes of racing!
Last climb of Sunday was hard for everybody, in particular for Masters!
Second place Junior Francescu Camoin in the blind part of the last stage of the week-end.
Men and Women winners, Alex Rudeau and Laura Charles form a nice couple in real life.
Elite Women and Men podiums.
1st : Alex Rudeau 33:13.524
2nd : Yannick Pontal + 36.176
3rd : Clement benoit + 46.831
1st : Laura Charles 40:23.118
2nd : Estelle Charles + 14.413
3rd : Axelle Murigneux + 1:37.719
Full results here