Enduro World Cup favourites prepare to face off in final showdown

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Enduro World Cup favourites prepare to face off in final showdown

5 months ago

As riders prepare for one more battle in the seven-round UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup series, we take a look at the elite racers likely to take the inaugural titles in Châtel.

Leaders Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Factory Race Team) and Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) are sitting on healthy leads but they still need to finish the finals in decent shape to take the spoils.

Courdurier currently boasts a 212-point lead going into the final round and only second-placed Morgane Charre (Pivot Factory Racing) could possibly deny her the title. If France’s Charre was to win every stage in Châtel and therefore take the race win itself, her compatriot Courdurier would need 335 points to guarantee her the series lead. As an example, that would equate to 5th place in each stage and 4th in the race standings at the end of the day. So far this season, Courdurier has averaged 451 points per round, so providing she rides to form, the inaugural elite women’s crown will be her’s. It would be Courdurier’s third world title having been Enduro World Series champion in 2019 and 2022.

If she is unable to overhaul Courdurier, Charre is guaranteed second place in the overall series standings this year as she’s leading third-place Harriet Harnden (Trek Factory Racing Gravity) by 554 points with a maximum of 540 on offer. That battle for third will be tough though. Harnden, Gloria Scarsi (Canyon CLLCTV Dainese) and Bex Baraona (Yeti/Fox Factory Race Team) are all in contention and go into the final race separated by just 165 points. Mathematically, third place could go to Melanie Pugin (WeRide Fulgur Factory Team), Rae Morrison (Liv Factory Racing) or Raphaela Richter (Ibis Enduro Team) but it would require Harnden, Scarsi and Baraona to all have a shocker.

In the elite men’s category, Richie Rude has a 238-point lead going into Châtel and is clearly favourite to take the title. Alex Rudeau (Commencal Enduro Project) is his closest rival and could potentially overhaul the American but it would require Rude to have an uncharacteristically bad day. If France’s Rudeau won the race and every one of the Chatel stages, Rude would need 303 points. That equates, for example, to finishing fifth place or better in all seven stages, and sixth place or better in the race itself. Rude has averaged 366 points per round so far this season so, whatever another rider does, barring disaster, it’s well within his gift to take the inaugural World Cup title.

With a maximum of 540 points available for a rider in Châtel, seven riders are still in contention for a place on the series podium. Just 84 points separate Rudeau in second, Jesse Melamed (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Enduro Team) in third and his countryman Rhys Verner (Forbidden Synthesis Team) in fourth. There’s a 230-point gap back to Specialized Gravity’s Charlie Murray in fifth meaning the battle for overall podium places will likely play out between Rudeau, Melamed and Verner.

In the team standings,Yeti/Fox Factory Racing are favourite to take the title with a 698-point lead over Lapierre Zipp Collective. A maximum of 1,150 team points are available in Chatel - calculated by combining the points total from the top-three riders in each team. 

Yeti/Fox Factory Racing are guaranteed a podium place this year, but three other teams are theoretically capable of passing Lapierre Zipp Collective and taking their place on the podium, however this would involve both Forbidden Synthesis and Canyon CLLCTV Factory Enduro Team to score 1,000+ points and Lapierre Zipp Collective to score less than 375 points - something which hasn’t happened at any round this season. 

Pivot Factory Racing are currently sitting in third some 554 points behind Lapierre Zipp Collective and just 164 points clear of fourth place. Pivot have averaged 740 points per round and 4th place Forbidden Synthesis have averaged 713 per round, meaning it'll be a tight finish for the last podium spot in France. Behind the favourites for the podium, Giant Factory Off-Road Team, Commencal Enduro Project and Ibis Enduro Race Team are still theoretically capable of a third-place finish this year, but each would need to score approximately double their season-average points-per-round and would require Pivot Factory Racing to score less than 400 points in Châtel which is 340 points less than their average per round this season.

You can catch all of the highlights from the UCI Enduro World Cup on the UCI Mountain Bike World Series YouTube channel.

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