Pinkbike Predictions: Who Could Win the Second Round of the Enduro World Cup?

Mar 30, 2023 at 10:55
by Ed Spratt  
Remi Gauvin hucking his way tot he finish on stage six.

The dust may have only just settled after last weekend's season opener at Maydena but the riders and teams have made the four-hour drive to Derby for the second stop of the 2023 Enduro World Cup season. Derby may not be a new venue for international enduro racing but after a four-year break plenty has changed since we last visited. We have given it our best shot to think about what could happen this week so here are some predictions on who could be a top performer on Saturday.

Who Was Fast at the Opening Round?

Ryan Gilchrist turned heads all day to end the day 6th

Riders have not had long to rest after the opening round in Maydena last weekend but we are straight into the next race as we stay in Tasmania for the return of Derby to international racing. Last week Isabeau was on her usual strong form securing three stage wins and no stage result lower than fifth. Sitting in second place at the end of the day was Morgane Charre who secured a win on the longest stage after a mixed day of racing with two 3rd places, two 2nds and a 10th across the six stages. Scottish racer Ella Conolly is back on strong form with a string of 2nd and 3rd places alongside a fourth-placed stage one. Ella did finish the race with a slower 10th place on stage six but with plenty of short stages this weekend she could be even more of a threat.

In the Men's race, Luke Meier-Smith backed up his U21 overall win in 2022 with his first Elite win at his first race. Alongside Luke Maydena trail builder and flat pedal shredder, Dan Booker crossed the line in 2nd with no stage result lower than 3rd and a win on the first stage. Connor Fearon secured his best result since taking the silver medal the last time we visited Derby in 2019. Rhys Verner is worth a mention as the only non-Australian rider inside the top six.

Who has Won Here Before?

Connor Fearon on his way to third place is Tasmania.

Derby has twice been a host for the EWS and while it has been four years since the last time many of these riders were here it is always worth a look back to see past results. In Women's racing, Isabeau Courdurier has dominated at this venue taking her only win against Cecille Ravanel in 2017 before backing this up with another victory in 2019. The only other Woman inside the top four at both of these races taking part this weekend is Noga Korem who has taken fourth place twice.

For the Men, quite a few riders are racing on Saturday who have performed well at this venue. In 2017 the Men's race was topped by Adrien Dailly who pulled ahead of Greg Callaghan by 2.65 seconds. While Richie Rude ended the 2017 race in fourth place, 11 seconds off the win. Looking at the 2019 event Martin Maes originally took the win before it was taken away following a positive test for a masking agent. Sitting in 2nd after the adjusted results was Connor Fearon in his best result, following a very successful weekend in Maydena Connor is back on strong from in 2023. Kevin Miquel may not have had the best start to the season with a DNF but he did place very well in 2019 crossing the line in fourth place.

Who Could Win the Women's Racing?

Another win for Isabeau Cordurier

After a 2022 overall EWS win Isabeau Courdurier has continued 2023 where she left off last year as she took the win in Maydena. Isabeau has always done well at Derby winning both times the EWS visited so it is hard to bet against her winning once again this weekend. While Isabeua may be a clear favorite this weekend our other two picks did manage to beat her across three of the stages at the 2023 Opener.

Morgane Charre ended the day in 2nd

Morgane Charre is our next pick for the win in Derby, while she took 7th when the EWS visited in 2019 Morgane has quickly risen to be one of Enduro's best riders in recent years and took her flat pedals to 2nd at last weekend's racing. Morgane is on the hunt to secure the overall title she will be wanting to secure an advantage over her fellow French racer before the EDR breaks for a few months until round three.

Vali Holl with the best finish line whip on the day

Finally, we have Vali Höll, last week we questioned whether the DH racers would put pressure on the Enduro Pros and it turns out they did in a big way. Until a crash on stage five Vali Höll was not only putting down a strong performance but she was in the running for the win with only Isabeua Courdurier matching her. Vali now has two international Enduro races to her name and we think she will be after a big result in the tricky conditions this weekend.

Who Could Win the Men's Racing?

On a charge all day Luke Meier-Smith took his first elite win here in Maydena

Just like Isabeau, it is difficult to go against last week's winner as Luke Meier-Smith is proving he is worthy of being amongst the World's best in the Elite category. Luke is already looking comfortable on Derby's trails and the wet conditions don't seem to be holding him back as he is flying in practice. The big question will be can he make history again this weekend and become the first first-year Elite to take back-to-back wins.

Sketchy moments and crashed saw Jesse Melamed end the day in 19th

Jesse Melamed had a wild time in Maydena, with some race moments that have to be seen to be believed. After a tough weekend that placed him in 19th for the race and 11th overall Jesse will be wanting more this weekend to back up his EWS overall win in 2022 and we think he can do just that.

Connor Fearon pinned and on the podium

Connor Fearon took a career second-best finish last week with only his performance on the Derby trails in 2019 achieving more with a 2nd place. With this in mind, Connor will be a rider to watch in the timing feeds as he will not only be looking to continue his strong form but also try and keep the Forbidden Synthesis team at the top of the rankings for another round.

Honorable Mentions

While we have made our main predictions for potential winners above there were other riders who we should mention as potential top performers this weekend.

4th for Ryhs Verner and the first non-Australian

Rhys Verner is on our list for honorable mentions this week as he secured a career-best Elite finish with fourth place in Maydena and was also the only non-Australian rider to break into the top six. Rhys has proved he has the form against a very strong collection of Australian riders hungry for victory at home so we are watching him for another round of Tasmanian racing on Saturday.

Ella Conolly 3rd

Next up is Ella Conolly who took home a strong third place after some consistent stage results last week in Maydena. It seems Ella had a chain issue on the longer stage six with an eighth place but with all the stages in Derby falling way below or at most around 4km and with hopefully no mechanicals we think Ella will be a potential threat as she did very well on the shorter Maydena stages never falling below fourth.

Bex Baraona in 4th

Finally, our last rider in our predictions is Bex Baraona who featured fourth on last weekend's timings but after spending a few weeks racing the Trans Tasmania Enduro series she already has two wins in Derby under her name in 2023. Some extra knowledge of the trails can definitely help when practice is limited and add this to some great speed shown in Maydena and she could be on for another top performance.

Who do you think can win this weekend?


  • 193 0
 Maybe if there was Enduro Fantasy, we could play this game of "who do you think can win this weekend"
  • 34 4
 they just straight up removed the entire fantasy tab without saying anything lol
  • 24 11
That’s not true. Pinkbike has commented a number of times that they didn’t have time to set it up this year as they had other commitments.

It sucks as it was a lot of fun, but it is also hard to complain about something they haven’t been able to deliver when they were more than likely doing something that paid them, when we didn’t pay anything for the fantasy league
  • 117 0

“hard to complain”

You must be new here.
  • 8 1

Unfortunately not Frown

But at times I do like to think the better of my fellow pinkers.
  • 11 0
 @everythingsucks: username checks out
  • 2 0
 @jgoldfield: if you want, there is FANTAmtb Smile new good project Smile

however in the wet it is difficult to predict, it will be an "elimination race" Smile
  • 1 0
 hahha, i also wonder why there no enduro fantasy for this season Frown
  • 1 0
 @Herb1234: We might not have paid anything, but as I understand it the fantasy league sponsor also paid for the PB staffs time for setting up the league either directly or through an advertising package.
  • 1 0
 FANTAmtb Smile
  • 18 0
 Personally rooting for Rhys. Such a cool dude who deserves to win one soon.
  • 16 4
 Who could win?

Definitely not the fans, as theres no reliable way to keep up with scoring, times, nor any sort of live stream.
  • 8 0
 Genuinely curious as to how a live stream would work with enduro. You do know that it was 7 hours from when the juniors took off to when the pro men finished right? You just pay some commentators to sit there for 7 hours while they compare who can blow the biggest snot rocket on the transfers?
  • 1 1
 @derekbnorakim: A camera with a commentary box at the bottom. It would almost be like a radio show. We could see the finish line, but mostly it would be running commentary with splits, times, and position updates. As well as updates for any crashes & mechanicals.
  • 4 0
 @derekbnorakim: But I'd just settle for a functioning website.
  • 4 0
 The YouTube coverage has been an improvement. over past years. It's a long race, it would be tough to do live and I'd rather watch an extended summary over some sort of play-by-play broadcast. I suppose it could be cool to keep up with the times at each stage though. There's apps for that in amateur car racing that anyone can download and find various events.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: holy shit I'm bored just thinking about that.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: For 7 hours? I mean, I’m good with watching DH for an hour and a half maybe two hours on a Sunday, but then I’m riding my bike.
  • 1 1
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: I like and am passionate about bikes too bro. Big e-hug and enjoy your weekend Smile
  • 9 0
 Jesse had a 1st, 2nd, and 4th in Maydena aside from the other disaster stages that landed him in 19th, so he's definitely up to speed. Could see him contending for a top spot.
  • 2 0
 Yeah he is on form, that whip in front of the crazy crowd (that would have killed most riders) was unreal. AND he's on a perfect small bike for the more pedal-ish stages in Derby, so I bet he is in it to win it....
  • 11 0
  • 9 0
 Booker, yeah boy yeaahhhh!!!!
  • 7 0
 Derby is flatter and has a bit more pedalling, watch out for Ryan Gilchrist, the bloke pedals like he's on fire.
  • 8 1
 I could win if I was good at bikes Frown
  • 5 0
 Ella struggled on stage six not because she's not fit, but she was riding chainless.
  • 6 0
 Cheering for Connor!
  • 5 2
 Ella broke her chain at the top of stage six in Maydena. Good luck to her and all the girls racing!
  • 2 1
 Issy is going to be thought to beat …. As usual …. But if anyone can my money is on Ella
  • 1 0
 Still had a chain when she finished so not sure what the problem was. Dropped or jammed maybe.
  • 1 8
flag flaflow (Mar 31, 2023 at 3:47) (Below Threshold)
 @clivem25: her chain was clearly hanging off the bike as she padded toward the finish.
I'd like to know why the f*ck PB stopped posting the EWS wrap-ups? Maybe because the dip-shits going on about no 'live' coverage?
  • 3 0
 @flaflow: We do post the race highlights, last weeks can be found here.
  • 4 0
 @edspratt: Opps I missed it. Thanks for that!
  • 6 2
 You know who wins? Chris Ball
  • 1 0
 Looks muddy from the rider posts I've seen on Insta? If so, shouldn't we be picking exclusively Brits for the win?
But seriously, Bex and Ella both spring to mind as Scotland-based riders.
  • 2 0
 Looks like Isabeau had a decent crash in practice and the course still looks horrendously wet despite a decent day of sunshine….
  • 4 0
 Lebron James is gonna win this round
  • 2 0
 And usher in the era of the 36er
  • 4 1
 Bring back fantasy even if we miss some rounds!
  • 2 0
 Nah, it costs PB to run the contest as they licence it from a 3rd party specialist (I believe), and there's not the same interest in enduro as DH.

They better get their shit together for the DH one though.
  • 3 2
 If I was the UCI, I'd jump at the chance hosting their own fantasy league. They just need to hire some good developers to make it working. But that can't be too hard, right?!
  • 4 0
 if they had the ability to hire good developers the live timing feed would work...
  • 1 0
 LMS looks the most dialed in the videos I've seen. Gilly would be a good pick too. That kid is fit as feck on a flatter course than Maydena.
  • 3 0
  • 3 0
 Carl Hungus
  • 2 0
 Booker. Would love Moi Moi, but maybe not yet.
  • 2 0
 Jesse Cseh, he's everested a G6 and rode 230km of Rotorua trails non stop
  • 2 0
 Rooting for luke meier smith, go mate
  • 1 1
 How did Jesse get 19th in the race and 11th overall? Wasn't that the first race of the season? Shouldn't 19th = 19th at this point?
  • 4 0
 Pretty sure there’s bonus points for each top 10 stage result. Might be wrong though
  • 2 0
 Might be wrong but I think it's because points are awarded for individual stages this season, as well as the overall race result, which benefited Jesse because he had a few strong stage results
  • 2 0
 There are bonuses for stage places - think of it as a bonus incentive for doing well in each stage. It’s a bit weird to me but it is what it is. They did a write-up after Maydena on this - but I forget the article.
  • 1 0
 He did get extra points for his stage win, second and 4th place. At least all top ten gets extra points. I guess this is fair, perhaps making riders not play it too safe. I just wish Chris Ball could stand by his earlier words, to make enduro accessible as a (tv-)spectator.
  • 1 0
 Ella Connolly didn’t struggle on the longer stage 6. She nailed it, without a chain….
  • 2 0
 Thanks, I missed that one. I have updated the article and she is even more likely for a win or top result then.
  • 1 0
 She most definitely had a chain at the finish, check the video. She didn't pedal for the whole finish straight though so an issue of some sort.
  • 1 0
 @clivem25: she had a chain but it was going round the idler or chainring
  • 1 0
 bollocks - “wasn’t”
  • 1 0
 Yes that kind of effort, to place well despite having to paddle your way to the finish, is what makes racing so great!
  • 1 0
 @edspratt: Thanks Ed for your work on this. Why has PB stopped posting the wrap-up of these races?
  • 1 0
 @flaflow: We haven't stopped posting the wrap-ups for these races. The highlights from round one were posted here.
  • 2 0
 Let’s do a poll. Who signed up to GCN+?
  • 2 0
 Can we get some bike checks PB?
  • 2 0
 I'm in the Donny boat!!!
  • 3 2
 ....Flats for the Win \m/
  • 2 4
 Not likely.
  • 1 0
 Ryan Gilchrist is looking good out there
  • 1 0
 Definitely not the broadcast.
  • 1 0
 I reckon either Eliot Heap or Cole Lucas and Noga Korem
  • 1 0
 Connor Fearon

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