Following the Enduro of Nations venue in Italian soil, past weekend was time for some of the best Enduro riders meet in Valloire for the 2nd and final round of Enduro of Nations 2012.
It turns out that French athletes dominated the competitions, nonetheless taking advantage of several DNF situations from major competition especially from British athletes. At the end of the weekend the French team renewed the title as Enduro of Nations champion as Nicolas Lau and Martin Maes (the Belgian “wonder boy”) put down some great runs and proved that Enduro is getting stronger as it can get.
Read below for the Full press release on the Enduro of Nations (as provided by event Organizers Enduro Tribe) and some info on the French cup results.
E – MTN: Team France again!
And yet, the tension was at its maximum after the English hold-up at the first round in Sauze d’Oulx in Italy. We even thought the Elite win would be decided in Valloire or maybe even during the last stage as the rules request it in case of draw. OK but the English stopped dreaming as early as Saturday midday about winning this Trophy of Nations which, year after year, is won by France. Indeed Joe Barnes got a flat tire at the 3rd run and decided not to repair but took the ski-lift to pass the finish line. He was immediately disqualified as well as his team. Such a pity as, would he have repaired, he was still in the race to save the 2nd spot and everything was still to be played for, as he was able to keep the distance with the Italians. Our transalpine colleagues could then comfortably manage their second place, finally logical, as the second best nation in enduro. The friendly Irish team took the 3rd place after solid performances, especially during the wet and rainy Sunday.
For the girls, no surprise for the title after the impressive win from the French. It’s certainly for the girls that the gap is still quite important between the French and the others. The surprise would have come from the Finnish team as they were very closed to steal the second place from the Italians at the last stage of the day.
Finally in the Junior category, it’s a very homogeneous French team that took the win. If the Belgium team was all at the same level than Martin Maes, it would be a very different story. They still easily got the second place, in front of the Italians.
Colorful and cosmopolitan podium, and probably unique in the history of the Trophy as raced over 2 rounds. It seems that the organization want to come back to a one-round event in 2013 with the location to be announced in September.
The E-MTN recognition is getting bigger, the race level is getting stronger, we will probably meet again next year the strongest nations in the enduro world. Some nations are looking forward to take up the challenge once again to finally beat these bloody French!
French Cup: Nicolas Lau in front of an incredible pack
Just like Nico Vouilloz or Jérôme Clémentz, Nicolas Lau is part of the small group who, as luxury guests, came on the Enduro Series to take the win away from Rémy Absalon who finished 3 times second but has a solid grip on the French Cup lead. Rémy’s race management is probably different than these talented one-shooters. But this doesn’t take anything away from Nicolas Lau’s awesome performances in front of the world top enduro riders. Finally the only one who may have had enough speed to battle against Lau was the 15-year-old Belgian (yes, that’s correct…), Martin Maes who scored one scratch time to finish the week-end at the 4th position. On the very long Saturday afternoon stage, big performance as well from François Bailly Maitre, but less surprising as the this trail was nearly made for him. Nicolai and Quéré kept their rank as outsiders for the podium, Quéré climbing on the 3rd step of the podium.
A good thing also to see 18 girls ranked at the end of the race. A competitive race as it’s the DH champion Sabrina Jonnier who took the win in front of these now experienced enduro riders. It could have been a nice test for a future career, who knows…
Valloire kept all its promises in spite of difficult weather conditions on Sunday which forced the organization to take safety measures and to shorten the race. The race equity was preserved and not many riders were asking for more on Sunday 3pm.
We will see you again on the 15th and 16th of September in Font Romeu for the grand finale on a “rally” format this time, with no ski lift.
The top ten individual race standings:
1 – Nicolas Lau
2 – Rémy Absalon
3 – Nicolas Quere
4 – Martin Maes (junior)
5 – François Bailly-Maitre
6 – Florian Golay
7 – Florian Nicolai
8 – Théo Galy
9 – Jérémy Arnould
10 – Jamie Nicoll
Enduro of Nations final (Men) result:
1 – France: 95 points
2 – Italy: 80 points
3 – Ireland: 75 points
4 – Finland: 60 points
5 – United Kindom: 50 points (DNF in Valloire race)
6 – Slovenia: 35 points (DNF in Valloire race)
7 – Portugal: 20 points (DNF in Valloire race)
Official results available here