The 2014 EWS has started; Nevados De Chillian, Chile hosted Round 1 of the Enduro World Series, with hot volcanic mountains supplying an amazing backdrop to the season opener. Before any riders had even set rubber to dirt, everyone knew this was going to be one of the most physically demanding races; long stages on tricky terrain, doubled with intense heat, was going to make every stage painful.
Day 1 consisted of stages 1-3, stage 1: Candonga produced some interesting results with last year’s overall winner and race favourite Jerome Clementz sitting in 3rd, and with Jerome’s number one competition Jared Graves in second, 17 year old Martin Maes from GT Factory Racing came out on top, proving the Belgian young gun is right in the elite mix.
Anne Caroline Chausson put down a storming run that left her in the top spot, a massive 11 seconds up on last year’s overall winner Tracey Moseley.
Results aside the biggest news to come from stage one was Fabien Barel’s crash, Barel went down hard on to his back; not one to give up he carried on for the day but realized the next day there was something seriously wrong. Scans have revealed the 8th dorsal vertebrae is badly broken. Healing vibes coming your way Fabien.
With stage one out of the way, the riders headed over to G Del Diablo for stage two; undoubtedly the longest stage of the day. Jared Graves proved to still be one of the world’s top riders, riding his way to 1st place, 12 seconds up on Clementz. Stage one winner Martin Maes having a few difficulties and coming out with 10th place. Once again Chausson proving to be the number one lady in enduro; 13 seconds ahead of Tracy Moseley.
Ending the day was stage three, Dakar, with stage two, the hardest, out of the way all the riders were tired and ready for some recovery time. Cedric Gracia came out on top two seconds up on Rene Wildhaber, both riders riding on top form, Graves not far off the pace in 3rd and Clementz a little bit further back in 6th. Tracely Mosely finished the day off well taking the stage win over Chausson. At the end of day one it was Graves and Chausson on top.
Day two’s morning brought baking temperatures and sore calves. Stage four: Valle Hermoso was Martin Maes second stage win of the first round, closely followed by Jerome Clementz and Jared Graves, once again Anne Caroline Chausson came out on top above Moseley, 10 seconds ahead of the reigning champion.
Martin Maes once again put down an amazing run on stage five: Olimpico; taking the top spot above Justin Leov and Jerome, Graves having a few issues could only get 7th place. Graves was still on top going into the last stage but Clementz was closing the gap, fast. Chausson taking her 4th stage win over fellow country lady Cecile Revanel, Tracely Moseley claiming 3rd.
Candado XL was going to be the hardest stage of the day not only the second longest stage of the six, but also the last, all the riders were fatigued and ready to finish. Nico Lau proved why he is still one of the world’s best, two seconds up on Florian Nicoli, Clementz putting in a solid ride leaving him four seconds behind Lau in 3rd.
Unfortunately for Graves the last stage got him, with a few mistakes Jared knew he had lost it before he had finished, coming in 11th fifteen seconds off the win. This meant Clementz could sneak past Graves into 1st, only 7 seconds separating the two rivals, and I’m sure we will see more close battles between the two all year.
No surprises in the women’s field, after her 5th stage win, Anne Caroline Chausson took the top spot 1 minute 11 seconds up on Tracey Moseley.
Both Graves and Moseley might be a little dissapointed but it’s a solid start to the year.
Peebles, Scotland hosts round two of the EWS in a few months time, will Graves get one back on Clementz? Will Dan Atherton make a storming come back on home soil after breaking his leg, and will Moseley reclaim No.1 status above Chausson?
A thrilling start to the year for the 2014 EWS, Chile hosted an amazing race, with friendly locals and lovely weather I’m sure its not the last time we see Chile on our race calenders.