The Enduro World Series is heading to the iconic resort of Whistler and the Crankworx festival for round six, the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized. The famous mountains that flank the resort will be filled with 300 riders this Sunday, as they take to the legendary trails for five stages of racing on some of the area’s finest singletrack. This year’s course will keep riders on their toes, with classic trails getting a new twist and some lesser known routes thrown in for good measure.
In the men’s race, 2015 Whistler and overall series winner Richie Rude (Yeti Fox Shox) leads this year’s series, but a crash in practice during the last round at Aspen-Snowmass left him with an injured shoulder, and saw him finish outside of the top 20. Instead it was Rude’s former team mate and mentor, Jared Graves (Specialized) that triumphed, turning around a bad season to take the win. Graves famously loves the Whistler trails, and he’s definitely a contender for the win in British Columbia.
Damien Oton (Devinci Enduro Racing) sits second in the series points and needs a good result here if he is to hold off third placed Jerome Clementz (Cannondale) who is just 20 points back. And all will be very aware they are being chased down by Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Paypal), who has only raced two EWS events this year but come second in both.
In the women’s race Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro) is the favorite. The Frenchwoman’s won four of the last five rounds and has done so convincingly. But Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) and Anita Gehrig (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race) will be trying their best to stop her getting on the top step of the podium. Watch out for Whistler local Casey Brown (Trek Factory Racing), too. She was on the podium at her first EWS in Argentina and definitely has the potential to upset things on her home trails. The now-retired Tracy Moseley won in Whistler a year ago.
Sebastien Claquin (Rocky Mountain Urge bp) still leads the U21 Men but he faces fierce competition from fellow Frenchman Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic), who sits just 100 points adrift and won in Aspen-Snowmass last weekend. Third placed Pedro Burns (Ibis Cycles Enduro Race) also has the potential to do well here. Brits Martha Gill (Marin Bikes/Stan’s No Tubes) and Kate Whitley have their work cut out in the U21 women, as they face home grown talent in the form of no less than seven Canadian competitors.
Reigning masters world champion Woody Hole (Hope Technology) is the hot favorite in his category, and after missing the last few rounds he’ll be hungry for points.
“Everyone loves coming to Crankworx,” said Chris Ball, director of the Enduro World Series. “The atmosphere, the different events, and the incredible welcome we receive is hard to beat. Whistler is one of the most iconic riding destinations on the planet and is always a real highlight in the EWS calendar.”