EDR.3 Finale Outdoor Region: Eight hours in the saddle for 30 minutes of racing.
Coming off the 1-1-2 finish from the team at EDR.2: Derby, both Bex Baraona and Richie Rude took home the leader’s jersey for the two-month break until block two of racing. This is the first time in the history of Enduro that UCI leaders’ jerseys have been a part of the series – how racers handle that pressure is still to be determined.
By design, the six-stage race was a slog – back-to-back over 10-minute stages, long liaisons, with sweltering heat and humidity. After eight hours, all six stages boiled down to about 30 minutes of race time. A front-loaded race, Stage One and Two largely determined the outcome, one of which Rude took a hard fall. With the longer stages out of the way, Stages 3-6 were about gaining seconds and stage points.
EDR.4 Leogang: A blank slate and a brand-new venue for Enduro.
The team got a week off between Finale and Leogang, and they were rested and ready to take on the new EDR venue.
Richie Rude claimed 2nd place at the fourth World Cup in Austria. Rude kept consistent pressure on Rhys Verner and finished just 2.7 seconds behind. Rude secured enough points in this round to once again lead the series and reclaim the leader’s jersey that he will race in Italy at ERD.5: Val di Fassa.
Sławek Łukasik was on a heater and had the pace for a potential podium until he lost his derailleur on a rock at the top of Stage Two, finishing last on that stage and racing Stage Three chainless. On the remaining four stages, he had three P2s and one P4 and finished P111 overall.
Bex Baraona had another top-ten finishing, coming in P9 on the day. Two races off her win in Derby, she feels pressure to find the track speed she expects of herself. Racing can be as mental as physical. Check out this post for more insight.
A massive result for the Yeti / Shimano EP Racing Team. Mick Hannah earned himself his first E-EDR podium, claiming second at Leogang. Hannah began the day strong and gained track speed as the day progressed, finishing the day with a stage win.
In his second E-EDR, teammate Ryan Gilchrist secured his second top-ten finish, this time in P9, proving he is properly quick and will be hunting down his first E-EDR podium.
EDR.5 Canazei: A day in the Dolomites.
The final race of this block brought the team back to an iconic and favorite venue — Val di Fassa. The five-stage Italian Dolomite race served up tunnel-vision-inducing climbs, raw and rooty descents, and high alpine exposure. With three prior wins, Rude came into the race as a favorite to win.
Rude took the lead early after the pedal-heavy second stage, only to lose thirty seconds on the 11-minute stage that is Tutti Frutti after a flat midway through. Despite the Stage Four mishap, he was third fastest on the day and earned himself a podium in Canazei.
Misfortune struck Sławek Łukasik once again as he took a massive fall in the first stage of the say. He was quickly bandaged up by event medical staff and continued to the liaison to Stage Two. As the day progressed, the wound only worsened as he continued, but Sławek persisted through to the finish. Pushing through the pain, the Polish rider persevered and secured 7th on the day. After the race, Łukasik learned of his chipped elbow, received four stitches, and will remain in a brace for the next two weeks.
Baraona was noticeably lighter this week and seemed to have let some of the pressures of racing go. “Buzzin to get a solid race under the belt after a rocky block of racing. A few things to go home and work on, but the head was in the right place and felt a lot better on the bike. Delighted with 6th on a comeback race, but keen for more!”
Ryan Gilchrist of the Yeti / Shimano EP Racing team has picked up the pace this week and got some of his best results, coming in P6 overall with a stage win and a P2 and P3 stage finish. Teammate Mick Hannah came in 23rd on the day after a crash but brought it back toward the end of the day with a P5 and P3 on the final two stages.
Five of seven Enduro World Cups are in the books; Richie Rude’s consistency has paid off and is leading the series overall, along with Yeti / FOX leading the team's overall rankings. Bex Baraona and Sławek Łukasik are standing strong in 3rd and 8th respectively in the fight for the Women’s and Men’s Overall.
Two months to go until the third block and the final two races to determine who will take the 2023 Series Overall.