War of Attrition - Enduro World Series, Round 3 - Valloire

Jun 21, 2014 at 13:09
by Matt Wragg  
Brutal is the only word for the racing today. Crashes, punctures and bruised egos were the cost of racing. The riders sitting atop the timing sheet this evening aren't only the ones who went fastest, they are also those who survived the punishment dished out by the mountains here in Valloire. We saw the leaderboard shaken up time and again, with every kind of problem you can imagine. So who were the victors in this war of attrition?

Mr Nico Lau s fork getting some love the day before the racing starts at Valloire.
  Mr Nico Lau's fork getting some love the day before the racing starts at Valloire.

Looking good the number one plate.
  Looking good: the number one plate.

The question before a French Enduro is what tracks do you walk These races are so physically demanding and there s no practice. Rather riders can only walk the tracks the day before. But when the stages are 15 minutes long at race pace hiking all that real estate is NOT the thing to do the day before going full tilt... So T-Mo taking some time to figure out exactly what stages to scout.
  The question before a French Enduro is what tracks do you walk? These races are so physically demanding, and there's no practice. Rather riders can only walk the tracks the day before. But when the stages are 15 minutes long at race pace, hiking all that real estate is NOT the thing to do the day before going full tilt... So T-Mo taking some time to figure out exactly what stages to scout.

The morning started pretty early riders were on the chair at 8am and on track shortly thereafter. But again at 15 miunutes long on track one and with the timed run starting at 10am riders had scant time to review go pro footage before having to give er. Essentially the riders were racing almost blind--the snap shot run before the timed run on a 15 minute stage is simply not enough to do much more than impart a general sense of the flow of the track.
  The morning started pretty early; riders were on the chair at 8am and on track shortly thereafter. But again, at 15 miunutes long on track one, and with the timed run starting at 10 am, riders had scant time to review go pro footage before having to give 'er. Essentially, the riders were racing almost blind - the snap shot run before the timed run on a 15 minute stage is simply not enough to do much more than impart a general sense of the flow of the track.

Rene Wildhaber checks out the start of stage one as the women take their first run of the day.
  Rene Wildhaber checks out the start of stage one as the women take their first run of the day.

Winner last time out in Tweedlove Nico Lau placed seventh on the first stage to put himself in touch with the leaders but he lost around three minutes on the second stage meaning his weekend was over before it had barely even started.
  Winner last time out in Tweedlove, Nico Lau placed seventh on the first stage to put himself in touch with the leaders, but he lost around three minutes on the second stage, meaning his weekend was over before it had barely even started.

It was a good start for Francois Bailly-Maitre this morning taking the win on the first stage.
  It was a good start for Francois Bailly-Maitre this morning, taking the win on the first stage.

Why should you come and race enduro in Europe Well it depends if you like the idea of tearing at full speed down fine ribbons of singletrack in the big mountains...
  Why should you come and race enduro in Europe? Well it depends if you like the idea of tearing at full speed down fine ribbons of singletrack in the big mountains...

Justin Leov opened his account with third on the first stage this morning but he was just getting up to speed...
  Justin Leov opened his account with third on the first stage this morning, but he was just getting up to speed...

It must be awkward in the Scott camp tonight. The team was put together by Remy Absalon but it is his young teammate Thomas Lapeyrie sitting ahead in the standings and inside the top ten this evening.
  It must be awkward in the Scott camp tonight. The team was put together by Remy Absalon, but it is his young teammate, Thomas Lapeyrie, sitting ahead in the standings and inside the top ten this evening.

Gustav Wildhaber doesn t seem to have much luck. This is his first race back from injury and he was smashing his way up to a top ten placing. But it wasn t to be he went down hard on stage three doing some major damage to his knee and ending his season after just two and a half race stages.
  Gustav Wildhaber doesn't seem to have much luck. This is his first race back from injury and he was smashing his way up to a top ten placing. But it wasn't to be, he went down hard on stage three, doing some major damage to his knee, and ending his season after just two and a half race stages.

It was a solid return to racing for Nico Vouilloz with respectable times on the first two stages but suffering problems on the final stage dropping him back to 31st this evening.
  It was a solid return to racing for Nico Vouilloz, with respectable times on the first two stages, but suffering problems on the final stage, dropping him back to 31st this evening.

Justin Leov and Tracy Moseley contemplate the snow at the head of stage two and three they ran the same stage twice on the clock . Many riders lost time here like Rene Wildhaber who was thrown out the front while his bike somersaulted on ahead of him.
  Justin Leov and Tracy Moseley contemplate the snow at the head of stage two and three (they ran the same stage twice on the clock). Many riders lost time here, like Rene Wildhaber who was thrown out the front while his bike somersaulted on ahead of him.

With more than a little spare time on our hands between stages we made good use of the snow that is still hanging around up high.
  With more than a little spare time on our hands between stages we made good use of the snow that is still hanging around up high.

Tracys pace through the technical sections was apparent.
  Tracy's pace through the technical sections was apparent.

Jared Graves had some trouble on stage two today crashing in the snow near the start. He finished twelfth on stage two and finished stage three in third.
  Jared Graves had some trouble on stage two today, crashing in the snow near the start. He finished twelfth on stage two, and finished stage three in third.

Rene Wildhaber is hitting his stride. He finished stage three in second today.
  Rene Wildhaber is hitting his stride. He finished stage three in second today.

Richie Rude flatted on stage one today then decided it was time for a new plan of attack- all out attack. It worked out well for him. third and fifth on stages two and three.
  Richie Rude flatted on stage one today, then decided it was time for a new plan of attack- all out attack. It worked out well for him. third and fifth on stages two and three.

Damien Otten followed up his form at Tweedlove with another solid performance today. He was fourth in the overall.
  Damien Oton followed up his form at Tweedlove with another solid performance today. He was fourth in the overall.

Martin Maes was running strong early in the day finishing third on the first stage. His luck would change late in the day and he now has what seems like an insurmountable amount of time to make up.
  Martin Maes was running strong early in the day finishing third on the first stage. His luck would change late in the day, and he now has what seems like an insurmountable amount of time to make up.

On the lower parts of the stages riders were flying through the flower-filled meadows.
  On the lower parts of the stages riders were flying through the flower-filled meadows.

Anneke Beerten was on a tear today. She pulled into second overall. She may have had less of a time gap had she not been stuck behind riders on stage three.
  Anneke Beerten was on a tear today. She pulled into second overall. She may have had less of a time gap had she not been stuck behind riders on stage three.

T-Mo on cruise control in stage 2. But it was stage 3 where she turned on the gas nearly catching Anne Caro.
  T-Mo on cruise control in stage two. But it was stage three where she turned on the gas, nearly catching Anne Caro.

Anne Caro getting chased hard by Tracy Moseley on stage 3 of the day. Anne Caro was expected by many to dominate here in Valloire but is instead sitting in third--a minute and ten seconds behind Moseley Anneke Beerten is sitting second some six seconds ahead of Chausson.
  Anne Caro getting chased hard by Tracy Moseley on stage three of the day. Anne Caro was expected by many to dominate here in Valloire, but is instead sitting in third - a minute and ten seconds behind Moseley (Anneke Beerten is sitting second, some six seconds ahead of Chausson.

Try as she may ACC just couldn t keep up with Moseley s pace today. She finished the day one minute ten seconds behind Moseley.
  Try as she may, ACC just couldn't keep up with Moseley's pace today. She finished the day one minute ten seconds behind Moseley.

Justin Leov burying his Fox 36 legs into a corner midway down stage 3... Leov was amazingly consistent and avoided any mechanicals in taking the first day... Can he hold on and take the first win tomorrow
  Justin Leov burying his Fox 36 legs into a corner midway down stage three... Leov was amazingly consistent and avoided any mechanicals in taking the first day... Can he hold on and take the first win tomorrow?

How much did stage three hurt About this much. All that pain could only net him a fourth on the final stage though.
  How much did stage three hurt? About this much. All that pain could only net him a fourth on the final stage though.

Holding the lead after stage two this dropped chain on stage three took more than a minute off Francois Bailly-Maitre and propelled him back through the classification.
  Holding the lead after stage two, this dropped chain on stage three took more than a minute off Francois Bailly-Maitre and propelled him back through the classification.

Martin Maes hopes of victory ended with this. He clearly wasn t a happy man this evening as he had been within striking distance of the lead but this puncture on stage three was murder she wrote for his hopes of a good result this weekend.
  Martin Maes hopes of victory ended with this. He clearly wasn't a happy man this evening as he had been within striking distance of the lead, but this puncture on stage three was murder she wrote for his hopes of a good result this weekend.

Exhausted bloody and smiling. Ben Cruz has good reason to be cheerful this evening not only is the top American but he is 6th overall and it s the first time this season we ve seen the kind of pace we know he has in him.
  Exhausted, bloody and smiling. Ben Cruz has good reason to be cheerful this evening, not only is the top American, but he is sixth overall and it's the first time this season we've seen the kind of pace we know he has in him.

Fred Horny working over a battered wheel in the Mavic Pits following day one s racing. For sure we saw a few wheels after the racing today...But not too many... maybe 15
  Fred Horny working over a battered wheel in the Mavic Pits following day one's racing. "For sure, we saw a few wheels after the racing today... But not too many... maybe 15?"

Say what you will about wether or not Richie Rude should be racing Enduro today he proved he could hold his own against the big boys.
  Say what you will about whether or not Richie Rude should be racing Enduro, today he proved he could hold his own against the big boys.

Leov and Mosely do a bit of refueling after todays stages. The two are now solidly in first place after day one.
  Leov and Mosely do a bit of refueling after todays stages. The two are now solidly in first place after day one.

That s day one in the books. Until tomorrow from Valloire.
  That's day one in the books. Until tomorrow from Valloire.



51 Comments

  • 12 0
 Yeah.Great coverage. GOOD to see Rene Wildhaber up on 2nd place. Legend. notabad Team trekfactoryenduro
  • 12 0
 Looks like Maes pulled a Gwin today.
  • 8 1
 martinn maes rim looks awkwardly thin, and like it has no bed for thar masive tire.
  • 3 2
 I thought the same. That fail is strictly his mechanics responsability.
  • 4 0
 And running a Mud King up front, all for spikes on some dry courses but seems weird choice for this terrain!
  • 4 0
 A cut down mudking is quite usual on continental teams. Athertons for example do it a lot. They en up being like magic marys or shortys.
  • 3 0
 really Allier, really xD not the rough alp terrain with sharp pointy rocks and loose stones that could destroy any rim/tire combo if hit wrong
  • 2 0
 How is that fail on his mechanic? Maes prolly told him what tire/rim he wanted to run, his mechanic made it happen, and this was the result. It lasted the first two stages...
  • 7 0
 Richie Rude is rocking a Hartford Whalers hat!!!
  • 1 0
 go whalers!
  • 1 0
 Style for miles!
  • 5 0
 Great to see such a strong ride by Ben Cruz. His diagnoses of Lyme Disease earlier this year had me wondering how his racing would be affected.
  • 3 1
 Sic images, such awesome locations, WC UCI DH watch and learn, amazing coverage, racing looks tight and this year is definitely throwing up new riders to the podium which is credit to the event, trails and organisers who live from those places and the EWS. Awesome to see Kiwi Justin Leov finally running where he should be keep it simple, hope ftw on day 2, yeah boi! Jared Graves is a surprise, expectation he would almost run away with this series after Jerome got injured before rd 2, not sure if pressure is getting to him or as usual he has the worst luck of any rider in competition mtb history I think. Come on Gravesy. First stage win for an American too with Ritchie Dude! thought you Yanks would be all over this like a Gwiny!
  • 4 0
 He didn't win a stage. A mechanical on stage 1 saw him finishing in 300th place, followed by a 3rd and 5th on stages 2 and 3. I think Graves will turn it around in the second half of the season. I wouldn't be surprised if the battle for the overall were to come down to between him and Leov.
  • 3 0
 Graves and Leov were teammates at Yeti for a while. Great to see them battling it out. Rude is a force, but I still think his prowess is DH.
  • 5 0
 Great coverage. Keep it coming!
  • 2 0
 Now get these athletes some proper awards and financial support besides recognition because they are super-athletes taking some serious shit, and all the injuries just show how they are risking everything in every race.
  • 6 2
 No Dan Atherton?
  • 3 0
 Francois' chain fell off and he is running a chainguide?
  • 5 0
 Not a very substantial guide...
  • 3 0
 Not a proper chain guide though, mix of trail type guide and a Saint upper guide by the looks and a std Saint DH chain ring, Shimano seems like the only compnay that don't have narrow wide chain ring technology yet!
  • 2 0
 The chain is still on the top like he could just pedal and it would go on. I don't get it. A dropped chain is when it comes off the chain ring. It's still on so why can't he pedal? This must be after he got it back on and there is some other damage?
  • 2 0
 explanations : we ride a proper shimano chain guide which worked pretty well so far. The issue in that case, is that I hit a rock at full speed and the chain ring bent. The saint chain guide has exploded after the first pedal stroke,... obviously the chain was not hold anymore.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the explanation Francois! That makes more sense.
  • 3 0
 What happened to Melamed?
  • 1 0
 Droped chain maybe a bent chairing broke the carbon chain guide and thats it? No NW Chairing or chainguide would hold a chain with a bent ring
  • 1 1
 seriously, have u guys seen gt force 27.5 in ews? and now sanction 27.5? so what is the point creating and buying a new force 27.5? O.o

oh poor force 27.5 ...
  • 2 0
 Last weekend they rode the Force again.

If the trails are fast and rough (Alpine stuff) use the Sanction ( as it is a mini Fury )
If the trails are tight, twisty and pedally, Force is your ' go to ' option.
  • 1 0
 Maes rode the Force X at EWS rnd 2. I think he won a stage, too.
  • 1 0
 So many Fox36 in those pictures.... I'd like to have fun on those trails some day.
  • 1 0
 Seems like Leov get bullkier body. Is this some kind of requirement in enduro races as he started to gain some pace?
  • 7 8
 Its good to see pictures of the xtr dropping a chain, it means this publication doesnt smooth over the failures of companies just to support the bike industry.
  • 15 1
 Eh? Read a lot into that didn't you,'failures of companies' bloody hell it's a dropped chain mate.
  • 7 1
 I've seen a lot of dropped chains on Sram XX1 stuff, so this isn't a Shimano problem. It's a "lack of a proper guide" problem.
  • 5 0
 Running a Saint chain ring too and not a narrow wide chain ring = a fail with that type of chain guide as well, surprised you'd do that on terrain like this, asking for trouble.
  • 2 1
 Yup, Clementz took the overall running XX1 with a chain guide and taco guard last year, nobody else should have any excuse for losing a chain.
  • 1 0
 I think it should be noted that Jerome propably changes his chainring and chain for every race, so the wear doesn't affect the performance. For the regular Joes it would be quite costly to change the drivetrain very often.
  • 1 0
 I think as far as i look anywhere in the web, there's no PRO brave enough to run narrow wide ring without guide. So FD or narrow wide with guide is all worth a race situation.
  • 6 5
 29" first in men's and women's... But they suck eh kids?
  • 4 1
 it's the guy/women, not the bike...
  • 4 3
 Twats on here we're saying a few months back that nobody could win anything at the top level on a 29".
  • 4 1
 But it is still hideous Wink
  • 1 2
 Fuck enduro
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