Feature by Aidan Roche
The second round of the Enduro World Series is this weekend in Val d'Allos, France, and some of the most talented riders in the world will be battling it out to gain as many points as possible to go towards the series crown. Round 1 was won by Frenchman Fabien Barel, but with a different format of racing this time round (with little practice on the trails allowed), no one can really predict what is going to happen.
Let's have a look at some of the big names in attendance:
Jerome Clementz: One of the most talented bike riders on the circuit, a brilliant ride getting a win on the first stage of round 1. However, he has a lot of work to do if he is to close the 12.5 second gap on the winner from Punta Ala, Fabien Barel.
Jerome Clementz in his own online series - he'll be a likely contender for the podium
Fabien Barel: He’s now the man with the target on his back for the rest of the field. Currently leading the points standings in the series his confidence must be high heading into this weekend with the gap he obtained in Punta Ala.
Dan Atherton: With all the recent news on his new bikes what will we see Dan riding this weekend? The man has some incredible bike skills with experience in almost all disciplines of cycling but will the lack of practice affect his result?
Dan Atherton talking about the discipline and his custom bike which we expect to see him on this weekend
Jared Graves: 4X legend having won multiple World Cups and a background in downhill racing, a not-so-surprising performance put him in third at Punta Ala. As you can tell from Jared’s diary he is incredibly fit and an incredibly diverse rider, having this year raced national level XC, World Cup downhill and international enduro.
Martin Maes: At the beginning of the year it seemed Dan Atherton was to be Martin’s mentor, but when he beat his elder in Punta Ala everyone was, least to say, shocked. The 16-year-old rode a 26inch wheeled bike with flat pedals and downhill tyres at Punta Ala... He clearly has a big future ahead of him, and some are predicting even better than his fourth place from round one this weekend.
Ben Cruz: Running into sixth place in Punta Ala riding on his Cannondale the American has an ideal team mate in the form of Jerome Clementz. Having been racing since 2002 and completing multiple European races such as Trans-provence, he has plenty of experience and is capable of improving on his previous results.
Ben Cruz and friends showing us how it's done
Nico Vouilloz: One of the most successful downhill racers of all time, winning the world championships ten times during his career. Having turned his hand to rally car racing for a number of years he’s now settled into the enduro scene, racing and developing bikes for Lapierre. Having finished 19th (with a flat tyre) at the last round, Nico is surely after a better result in Val d’Allos this weekend.
Nico Vouilloz talks wheels and his impressive history in sport. Will he get the big result he is capable of?
Steve Peat: All round legend Peaty will be racing this weekend on his Santa Cruz Bronson and looking for a good result. Even at nearly 40 it’s unlikely that he’ll be slowing down any time soon, we sure are looking forward to seeing him on form this weekend.
Steve Peat and his Santa Cruz teammates will be looking to perform better than at round 1
Tracy Moseley: having won in Punta Ala by over 15 seconds she is clearly the top women on the circuit. It seems like a monster task for the other ladies to take on, with no Emmeline Ragot (2nd in round 1) in Val d’Allos, the gap to Cecile Ravanel increases to over forty seconds.
Anne-Caroline Chausson... Here is the big upset of the series so far. Olympic BMX gold medalist, downhill World Champion, four cross World Champion, you name it, she’s won it. However, with a big crash in Punta Ala and some broken ribs she most likely won’t be racing this weekend.
To have a constant stream of updates throughout the weekend check the Enduro World Series website.
Who do you think will be up there in the results? Let us know below!