Words By : Mike Janney
Photos By: Boris Beyer
The busy second half of the season continued as Matt and Morgane headed to Switzerland for the Crans-Montana EWS. Both riders were coming off good results at the previous round and couldn’t wait to take on a new venue.
Training was a fun affair. Learning new tracks and exploring new places is what enduro racing is all about and Crans-Montana did not disappoint. Using a mixture of bike park trails, freshly cut steep and technical loamy sections and even some urban sections, the course had everything.
Matt was enjoying the bike park section and getting some air time on the jumps, something not many EWS venues offer. With dry conditions all the trails were running perfectly. Morgane came back from training smiling ear to ear. The fresh loam and the steeper technical section were her favorite and suited her flat pedal riding style.
A return to a more familiar race format saw the Pro Stage on Saturday followed by 4 more stages on Sunday. The Pro Stage was split into 3 distinct sections, a fast and flat-out bike park section followed by some steep natural riding. The final minute of the Pro Stage carved its way through town and over roads with some urban features into a busy finish area.
Morgane had been feeling good in training and this translated into her race run. Pushing hard in the steep technical middle section and fully committing to the steep shots that had been catching riders out during practice, Morgane finished a brilliant 2nd.
Matt attacked the 1.8 km stage from the start. Pumping the jumps and berms in the upper sections and flying across the line in town he started his weekend off with a great 5th place. Both riders were well in the hunt going into the second day of racing.
4 more stages with a mix of lift assisted and pedal access liaisons was going to be a big day out on the bike for all racers. The first stage started on an open single track traversing a ridge line with some epic views. Matt and Morgane started the day as they meant to go on, a great ride from Matt put him in 7th while another fantastic 2nd for Morgane kept her close to the race lead.
After a long liaison stage 2 headed back to town for some bike and body TLC in the tech zone. A reoccurring injury played up for Matt on the stage. Popping his shoulder out and back in mid stage led to some time loss but Matt’s a hard man and fought on.
Morgane made a few mistakes in the stage. Finishing 6th, she lost time to the leader but held her 2nd overall. She came out of the tech area all guns blazing for the final two stages. Stage 3 was her favorite of the weekend and the natural rough and choppy track suited her flat pedal riding style perfectly. Winning the stage and having fun at the same time she clawed time back in the fight for the overall win. Stage 3 was also the Queen Stage, the longest and hardest of the event and also rewarded the winner with additional championship points.
Matt handled the pain from his shoulder well, but the soreness just took the edge off his riding. 13th on the stage was a brilliant ride and pushed him up the overall order and in fighting chance of a top 10 finish.
The final stage was a lengthened version of the Pro Stage that started the weekend. Another ridge line start lead to the already raced bike park sections and urban finish in town. Morgane continued her roll, winning another stage with an impressive ride. This wasn’t quite enough for the win this time. Taking a well-deserved 2nd overall and two stage wins from a great race.
Matt similarly finished strongly. Enjoying the high speed bike park section he pushed hard and a great stage saw him finish inside the top 10 in the overall with 8th.
Two great results from both riders on a course with such variety of riding was great to see. Team Pivot remain second in the 2021 team championship. Even more impressive considering we have been a rider down for a few rounds!
The Enduro team head to the classic EWS venue of Finale Ligure while Bernard, Sam and Emile are already in Snowshoe preparing for the final rounds of the 2021 Downhill World Cup.