Sofia Wiedenroth and Jérôme Gilloux got the first win of WES season.
Monaco (P.ty) Saturday, 24 April – Finally, after significant anticipation, the first race of the first round of the UCI E-MTB XC World Cup has concluded. The World E-Bike Series Monaco Round Presented by SMEG showcased a successful event with 46 riders on the start line.
The start area is located below the main race track zone, it is the only WES Round that sees the start and the finish line in two different locations.
With the athletes lined up on the grid according to their Qualification race placement, it was going to be an interesting start, as the riders immediately had a 700m 15% climb to the main track. There was traffic through the Holeshot at the first corner, the track designer’s idea was to allow the riders to spread out a bit as it reduced pressure before the first technical climb.
With the race pace of the top riders being so fast, making up a gap of 30 seconds would have been a tall ask of any rider hoping to challenge for a podium position.
As the racers moved on to the descent section there were some obvious traffic issues as the different styles of racers from different backgrounds played out. With the Cross-Country riders following the trail more closely and the Enduro riders tending to attack and invent straighter lines, it wasn’t clear if either technique had an advantage at this point. The top positions were equally shared by riders from both disciplines.
The track had a lot to say: with each rider having to complete six laps, athletes and bikes were going to be tested to the limit. With both men and women competing on the same circuit, at the same time.
The early battle being balanced with E-XC specialist Jérôme Gilloux (E-Team Moustache), proving his credentials as a double World Championship Silver Medallist and reigning French National Champion in the men. Multiple Enduro World Champion Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) led the Women’s field by a commanding margin.
By lap 4, two of the riders leading the Women’s category, reigning World Champion Mélanie Pugin (BH E-Racing team) and Isabeau Courdurier had some technical problems – the latter notably breaking her chain.
On the men’s side of affairs, the charging Joris Ryf (Bergstrom Werkmannshaft) suffered a mechanical mishap and consequently his challenge to Gilloux’ stronghold of the event. Behind them the duo of Camoin and Pigeon were fighting an electric battle for third place. Corsican Francescu “Cecce” Camoin (Specialized) being pipped to the line with an impressive and superbly timed sprint from Frenchman Hugo Pigeon (Scott SR Suntour Enduro Team).
Women’s podium saw Sofia Wiedenroth (Specialized) winning the race and Kathrin Stirnemann (Thömus RN Swiss Bike Team) getting second ahead of Karen Pepper (Team Pepper Lapierre).
Looking at the overall standings, it is clear that out and out fitness is not going to win you the race on the climbs alone. Here particularly, in Monaco, it is also about the technical descending skills getting riders across the line first.
Saturday, the series leaders have been established, with each rider receiving a brand-new Leader’s Jersey by Gobik. Overnight will be a time of reflection and focus for those who just missed out to process their race and what they can do to challenge for Sunday’s Leader’s Jersey.
Race 1 Results Women:
1st Sofia Wiedenroth (Specialized) GER
2nd Kathrin Stirnemann (Thömus RN Swiss Bike Team) SWI 3rd Karen Pepper (Team Pepper Lapierre) GBR
Race 1 Results Men:
1st Jérôme Gilloux (E-Team Moustache) FRA
2nd Joris Ryf (Bergstrom Werkmannshaft) SWI
3rd Hugo Pigeon (Scott SR Suntour Enduro Team) FRA
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