What did we learn: Enduro in Tasmania


What did we learn: Enduro in Tasmania

1 year ago

Tasmania felt like a fittingly beautiful place to kick start a new season of mountain bike racing. Beautiful that is unless you are a race bike. The stages of the opening rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup in Maydena Bike Park and Derby were unforgiving. What Maydena packed in in terms of sheer gnarliness, Derby matched with speed and physicality. The big names (just about) rose to the top and some new heroes stole the spotlight. 

Here’s what we learnt:

Yeti are the real deal in 2023

You have to look back as far as 2014 for the last time a top flight enduro saw riders from the same pit win both elite women and elite men’s categories (Tracy Moseley and Justin Leov, Trek Factory Racing). Yeti / Fox Factory Racing added some additional garnish by another of their riders, Slawomir Lukasik, finishing second at round two behind Richie Rude. Unsurprisingly, they took team of the day and now lead all three title races.

For Rude in particular, Tassie was a big success. He finished seventh in Maydena, not the start he would have wanted but, crucially, much further up the order than the rest of the ‘big four’ - Melamed, Moir and Maes.

Luke Meier-Smith is as good as we all suspected

The elder of the the Meier-Smith brothers has enjoyed a stellar career as an U21 and won a lot of races on both his enduro and downhill bikes. But in mountain biking, the move up to Elite is a slow burn. Some of the fastest in the world have struggled for top 20 results in the premier class during their debuts seasons. That was not the case with the young Australian. 

Freshly signed to Giant Factory Off-Road (alongside brother Remi) and newly crowned Australian DH National Champion, Luke took his debut Elite win at the first ever UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup, writing himself into the history books in the process. The battle was a thriller too between himself and Dan Booker (Nukeproof SRAM). The big question now looms as to which Gravity bike Giant will ask him to concentrate on riding for the rest of the year…

Isabeau Courdurier is doing it the hard way. Again.

Enduro racing is a battle of nerves. Racers can be fastest on a stage but piecing five or more of them together to win a round and then a championship takes guile and a mastering of the craft. Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) spends her time proving that she’s not only the fastest elite woman in the world but also that she sees the bigger picture perhaps better than anyone else. 

Visiting UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Champ Vali Höll lighting up the stages in Maydena? Not a problem. Riding through the pain of a horrible practice crash which saw her leg caught in her frame? Not ideal, but the points for fourth place remain just reward for a tough day in the office. And as we saw last time out, Isabeau is the queen of making it all add up at the end of the year…

Who will prevail come round three and what will we learn? Find out when we go racing once more in the iconic Finale Outdoor Region at the third round of the UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup 02 - 04 June. Want to go racing in Finale? Find out more about Open Racing, here.

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