In a sport as unpredictable as enduro it’s miracular how often we’re seeing Richie Rude and Cecile Ravanel at the top of the standings. They are currently displaying a dominance over the field only previously matched by Tracy Moseley and Whistler was no exception.
Whistler’s unique, one-day format provided an unfamiliar challenge for the racers this year and the brutality of such an intense event meant very few riders escaped without incident. Even Rude and Ravanel were well down the rankings in the morning and forced to fight their way through the field in the afternoon.
First blood went to the downhillers with Sam Blenkinsop and EWS virgin Connor Fearon setting the early pace for the men and Isabeau Courdurier for the women. Stage two could have proven pivotal, with Richie Rude suffering a puncture and losing over 30 seconds to the winner Jesse Melamed. Ravanel also suffered a mechanical here, lost a further chunk of time and only just made it to stage three in time.
Despite the setbacks, from stages three to five the pedigree of the two Rs started to show as they went unbeaten for the rest of the afternoon. The final stage proved to be vital. A 20-minute bruiser, it tested skills, fitness and fortitude as it took riders from the very top of Whistler mountain down to the GLC patio.
Rude pulled out a legendary run to pip Jesse Melamed by seven seconds over the course of the day, while Josh Carlson finished third. Congrats to Justin Leov who returned with a top-ten finish after spending most of the season off with Glandular Fever.
Ravanel also bossed the final stage and ended the day nearly a minute clear of Courdurier with Casey Brown finishing third. It was also great to see Anne Caroline Chausson return to the saddle after her battle with cancer.
Click here for the full results.
Here are some of the best images from the day courtesy of the Enduro World Series: