UCI E-MOUNTAIN BIKE CROSS-COUNTRY WORLD CUP and WES Gravity races from Monaco
The WES Monaco Round Presented by SMEG sees first wins for Jérôme Gilloux, Nathalie Schneitter, José Borges and Mélanie Pugin
Monaco (P.ty) Monday 9 March 2020 – The opening round of the 2020 series, in the challenging hills around the spectacular Principality of Monaco, brought close-fought racing in both the UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup and the WES Gravity race at the WES Monaco Round Presented by SMEG.|
In light of the current travel restrictions, Italian riders Marco Fontana and Jessica Bormolini, 2019 WES XC Men Champion and WES Enduro Women Champion, respectively, made the decision not to participate in the first round, but there was no shortage of top-class riders to make the breathless action a great spectacle.
WES saw first ever UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup wins for Jérôme Gilloux (E-Team Moustache) and World Champion Nathalie Schneitter (Trek) – and victories for José Borges (Miranda Factory Team) and Mélanie Pugin (BH E-Racing Team) in the WES Gravity.
UCI E-MTB XC World Cup race report
The very first UCI E-Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Cup brought lots of entertainment. Winner of the WES XC race at Monaco last year, Frenchman Jérôme Gilloux (E-Team Moustache), got the meeting off to the perfect start, heading the qualifying leaderboard by less than 0.5sec from his countryman and series newcomer Francescu-Maria Camoin, and his Specialized team-mate Jaroen van Eck, the flying Dutchman who won the final race of 2019.
Former UCI XC World Champion Jose Antonio Hermida qualified 9th and Jean-Pierre Bruni (father of four-time DH World Champion Löic) in 12th, closely followed by the fastest female qualifier, Nathalie Schneitter (Trek). The Swiss rider was followed by Frenchwoman Charlotte Rey (Tribe SG / Rocky E Team), Estonia’s Maaris Meier (Miranda Factory Team) and the French duo of Mathilde Sahuguet (Team Lapierre) and Mélanie Pugin (BH E-Racing Team. UCI E-MTB XC World Cup Men’s race
After Jérôme Gilloux took the Holeshot, the men’s race chase was underway. By Lap 4 (10.29km) the two fastest qualifiers had made it look like a battle for the first ever UCI E-MTB World Cup win was between the two of them – Francescu-Maria Camoin (Specialized) led from 2019 E-MTB World Championships runner-up Jérôme Gilloux (E-Team Moustache) by 8sec. Switzerland’s Joris Ryf (Bergstrom Werksmannschaft) trailing by almost 2 minutes and with a cushion over Dutchman Jaroen van Eck (Specialized) and Frenchman Alexandre Cure (BH E-Racing Team).But by the end of lap 5 Gilloux had taken back the marginal lead from Camoin, who finished second in the WES Gravity race earlier in the day, with the chasing three in the same order. And just as he did the 2019’s first WES Cross-Country race in Monaco, Gilloux went on to take the win, with Ryf coming through to claim an impressive third place in his first WES race. Van Eck – winner at the final round of 2019’s inaugural WES series in Barcelona – glad to be in the action but disappointed to miss out on the podium at the start of 2020’s campaign. “That’s great! I won last year’s WES first edition and I’m glad to get the race win of the very first World Cup in the history of E-MTB on such a technical course like the one of WES Monaco”, said 2020 UCI E-Mountain Bike World Cup Round 1 men’s winner Jérôme Gilloux (E-Team Moustache).
“It’s really exciting to get a second place in both races today on my E-MTB racing debut. This is a very challenging format and again, we did great teamwork to get the double podium”, said 2020 UCI E-Mountain Bike World Cup Round 1 men’s runner-up Francescu-Maria Camoin (Specialized).
The final standings:
UCI E-MTB XC World Cup Men top-3
1st – Jérôme Gilloux (FRA), E-Team Moustache 49’252nd – Francescu-Maria Camoin (FRA) Specialized +103rd – Joris Ryf (SUI), Bergstrom Werksmannschaft +2:19
UCI E-MTB XC World Cup Women’s race
At half distance World Champion Nathalie Schneitter (Trek) held a narrow lead over Switzerland’s Alba Wunderlin (Bergstrom Werksmannschaft) with Mélanie Pugin (BH E-Racing Team) still in close contention and gaps building to Maaris Meier (Miranda Factory Team) and Mathilde Sahuguet (Team Lapierre).
And as the small gaps between the leading three riders stabilised the tension rose, with just 20 seconds covering the top three riders after the sixth and final lap.
There will be tired legs and minds in the principality, not least from Wunderlin, Camoin and Pugin who all raced to double podiums on the day.
“It is an important day today, not only for me, but for the sport. It is a special feeling to race wearing my rainbow jersey, the first-ever in E-MTB and to do so in the first World Cup event in this discipline”, said 2020 UCI E-Mountain Bike World Cup Round 1 women’s winner Nathalie Schneitter (Trek). “Great racing, tough fight: this XC trail is amazing and it’s super challenging to battle against Nathalie (Schneitter), Mélanie (Pugin) and the other girls in the field. I always have a lot of fun riding at WES Monaco! Just looking forward to the Swiss Round!”, said 2020 UCI E-Mountain Bike World Cup Round 1 women’s runner-up Alba Wunderlin (Bergstrom Werksmannschaft)
The final standings:
UCI E-MTB XC World Cup Women top-3
1st – Nathalie Schneitter (SUI), Trek 56.27
2nd – Alba Wunderlin (SUI), Bergstrom Werksmannschaft +12
3rd – Mélanie Pugin (FRA), BH E-Racing Team +20
The brand-new 2020 award “Magneti Marelli Checkstar Power Lap” went to new WES entry Francescu-Maria Camoin (FRA) Specialized on XC race lap 1.
WES Gravity race report
The first round WES Gravity race featured four-stages, covering 26km with 1250m climbing: a test for man, woman and machine. Alongside some established names in Enduro we have new faces including former motorcycling 250cc World Champion Marco Melandri (Rock Racing) who propped up the qualifying table as he learns the intricacies of Cross-Country E-MTB, elbow to elbow with the best in the business! Here’s how the action played out. WES Gravity – men’s race
In the men’s race, Frenchman Francescu-Maria Camoin (Specialized) got off to the best possible start, fastest over the first stage, by 7sec from his countrymen Alexandre Cure (BH E-Racing Team) and Maxime Chapuis (Specialized).
If the first stage was a France 1-2-3, the second was the Portuguese show… multiple Portuguese National Enduro Champion José Borges (Miranda Factory Team) had put 10sec on everyone else in the field, ahead of his compatriot and team-mate Emanuela Pombo, and another solid section from Cure.On stage 3 it was time for Giant France’s 30-year-old reigning WES Champion Nicolas Quéré to show his mettle – he was quickest from Borges and Camoin. But the fourth and final stage saw Borges quickest again, this time by 2sec over Camoin, with the pair’s consistency putting them 1-2 overall, as Borges claimed the first race win for Miranda Factory Team in their second year in WES. Pombo’s third place on the stage almost got him a podium position, but Quéré did enough to hold him off by 2.6sec.With Pombo classified fourth, followed by Kenny Muller and Tiago Ladeira the top six places were won by French and Portuguese riders.
“I’m glad to get the second podium for Miranda and the first victory in WES Gravity, even more on this rocky and technical course,” said 2020 WES Round 1 Gravity race men’s winner José Borges (Miranda Factory Team).“I’m glad to get on the second step of the podium in my first E-Bike race participation,” said 2020 WES Round 1 Gravity race men’s runner-up, Francescu-Maria Camoin (Specialized). “The team did a great job and I’m confident we can achieve even better results in the next races”.
The final standings:
WES Gravity Men top-3
1st – José Borges (POR), Miranda Factory Team 19’04.202nd – Francescu-Maria Camoin (FRA), Specialized +6.783rd – Nicolas Quéré (FRA), Giant France +27.00
WES Gravity – women’s race
In the women’s race, Estonia’s 37-year-old all-rounder Maaris Meier (Miranda Factory Team) got off to a great start, pushing a 9sec lead ahead of the experienced downhill and enduro rider Mélanie Pugin, (BH E-Racing Team).But by stage 2 the order flipped, with Pugin, in her first ever e-bike race, managing to claim the stage by a margin of 20 seconds from the Swiss rider Alba Wunderlin (Bergstrom Werkmannschaft) ahead of Meier.
The French rider Pugin maintained her form, quickest over the remaining stages to cement victory in her first race.
“I’m really happy I won my first WES race and, considering it was just my third day on an e-bike and the trails here are very demanding, I’m pretty much satisfied,” said 2020 WES Round 1 Gravity race women’s winner Mélanie Pugin, (BH E-Racing Team).
Wunderlin stepped up to the second spot on the podium at Monaco after her third place on the same course last year – and third place overall in 2019 – and will be looking forward to the next races.“It was tough early in the morning, as climbing uphill is not my best skill, but I love this trail! Mélanie [Pugin] is a very good rider and as soon as she familiarises with e-biking, she will be one of the contenders for the first step of the podium,” said 2020 WES Round 1 Gravity race women’s runner-up Alba Wunderlin (Bergstrom Werkmannschaft).
The final standings:
WES Gravity Women top-3
1st – Mélanie Pugin (FRA), BH E-Racing Team 23’12.072nd – Alba Wunderlin (SUI), Bergstrom Werksmannschaft +1:31.623rd – Maaris Meier (EST), Miranda Factory Team +3:09.27
With a thrilling day’s racing concluded and the public looking forward to their day riding the courses, testing the E-MTBs and mingling with the pros, we’ll sign off from the 2020 WES Monaco Round Presented by SMEG with the impressions of his first WES Gravity race from Italian motorcycling champion Marco Melandri:
“The track was awesome. I need to learn some more technique and train some more. I don’t have enough power – at the first climb I was losing too much. For me, I was here just for fun and that was my goal.”