Rounds 3 and 4 of the Enduro World Series was another double header in Italy. At the foot of Monte Bianco, La Thuile has a big mountain feel, with long, fast and steep tracks that would challenge the riders all week.
The whole team was enjoying training, with stages being raced two or three times it was more important than ever to learn the tracks and features. Morgane was really enjoying the lower section of the trails where the terrain steepens up and gets very technical, perfect for her flat pedal riding style.
Racing started well for Morgane and Eddie, taking 3rd and 5th on stage one they were charging hard. Matt was unlucky to get a flat tire half way down the stage. Riding the steeper lower woods on a flat tire was a challenge but Matt limited his losses, and after a quick repair was on his way to stage two.
Stage two was another great ride from Morgane. The stage started by an abandoned mine with some rocky fast singletrack turns where she let off the brake and gained time.
Matt and Eddie swapped luck in the second stage. Eddie had a small mechanical failure towards the end of the stage, losing time on his great start. Matt was pushing hard to make up for the flat tire and an aggressive ride saw him claim 3rd on the stage and claw back a significant amount of time in the overall.
Stages three and four were made all the trickier with a storm rolling through. Wet rocks and roots made the trails even more of a technical challenge with many riders having crashes or mistakes.
Both Matt and Eddie struggled to find the flow on the changing conditions. Matt felt he was riding too tight on the web of wet roots and battled through a bad day to finish 29th. A frustrating ride left Matt ready to reset and go again for the next round.
Eddie was maintaining his top 20 overall positioning through the day, a solid stage three time had him holding the positioning with the longest stage of the day to come. Eddie went out hard to better his overall positioning but a few costly mistakes on the long, wet track saw him slip back. Finishing the day 25th Eddie was also looking for redemption in the next round.
Morgane continued her consistent day. Taking 4th on the final two stages she finished the day 4th overall. Just missing out on the podium, Morgane was happy to have such a consistent ride on a day with mixed conditions and over such challenging terrain.
A much-needed rest day for the team gave everyone time for some bike and body TLC. Bikes were stripped down, cleaned and rebuilt while Eddie and Matt relaxed with a round of golf.
A little extra training and then one run for the Pro stage would start round four. A classic La Thuile stage starting in the alpine with fast open turns soon became steeper and more technical. A punchy and steep climb thrown in would also test the rider’s fitness.
Morgane finished the Pro stage in 7th. Admitting she got too excited and carried away on the top half she made a few mistakes and lost time. Resetting herself she was happy with how she rode the remaining track.
Eddie and Matt both spent some time puzzling over race lines through a really tricky and intimidating rock garden at the end of the stage. Matt finished 10th only a handful of seconds off the sharp end of the race. Eddie was riding hard and taking risks, a fast run saw him post the 4th fastest time, a great start to round four of the at La Thuile.
A repeat of Thursdays stages would be added to the Pro stage times to determine the overall positioning for round four.
Some overnight rain left the top corners on stage one slick. Morgane rode a safe race to make sure she came down the first stage cleanly and posted a 6th fastest time in the Pro Woman. Matt and Eddie were inseparable, finishing in the same second they both lots a little time but were still holding good overall positions.
Stage two was the Queen Stage, with extra championship points available for the winner of the stage; everyone laid it down a little harder. Morgane continued her consistency with a solid ride and maintained her 6th overall.
Eddie was feeling good on the fast open start on the now dry tracks. Taking 15th on the stage, he made time on his rivals in the overall for the day and pushed back into the top 10. Matt also gained time back, finishing the stage 18th he moved himself back into the top 20 for the overall.
Stage three was another steep and technical challenge. Morgane put in her best result of the weekend and finished the stage 2nd fastest, jumping two places in the overall in the process.
Matt struggled to find the flow on an awkward and technical stage, losing a little time he was hovering around the top 20 going into the final stage. Eddie rode a great stage, keeping it calm in the trickier section and pushing hard in the areas he could. Another top 10 stage time kept him in the hunt.
The final stage was a repeat of round three: stage 4 and the pro stage. Morgane went out hard looking to get a podium finish. It was not her day, a few mistakes when pushing hard damaged her chances but she was happy to finish 5th after a long and physical day of racing.
Matt was unfortunate to take a lie down on the final stage, losing some time he dropped just outside the top 20 for an overall finish in 21st. Eddie rode another solid stage, pushing hard but keeping it rubber side down in the final stage he ended the weekend with an 11th overall.
The team was happy with some solid results over a tough and physical weekend riding. Pivot Factory Racing holds onto 2nd in the team overall.
Huge thanks to everyone for all the support for the first half of the season, we will be back fresh, rested and ready to go in August for more World Cup and EWS action.