EWS #6 Sugarloaf

4th Place for Alex Rudeau

The sun shone in Sugarloaf on Friday, but the rainy days that preceded did not spare the track of this 6th EWS round. Thanks to this weather, the trails consisted of flat muddy corners, roots and slippery sections. As for the stages themselves, they were short and pedally and the liaisons were mainly via ski lifts. In addition, this last race of the American block required more technique than physicality.

Saturday was a mixed day for the COMMENCAL Enduro Project. Guillaume Larbeyou, constantly progressing since the start of the year, made two errors on the Pro-Stage which put him in 56th place. Teammate, Louis Jeandel was the next to start, but also made a few mistakes on this track that was made more technical by the weather conditions. Following his Pro-Stage run he was in 26th position. Alex Rudeau, who was the last of the team to start, relied on his trials skills following a rider error on the first part of the run. Despite losing time he put in a good run, finishing 7th.

On the second day of the race there were two things on the agenda; to go up in the overall whilst understanding the changes between practice and the race. Indeed, the fresh tracks suffered from the inclement weather and were therefore going to unveil more during the day. For Guillaume, it was not the best weekend of the season despite an encouraging last EWS. He had several falls and exits off-track on these slippery trails and he lost a lot of time as a consequence. Guillaume still moved up half as many places from the day before to finish 28th.

Louis made top 10 on the first stage but saw the rest of his day turn out to be a little more complicated with several crashes. He was still able to remain constant in his lap times to finish in 16th position.

It was Alex who had the most eventful race. He had several mechanical problems, but like previous races he managed to stay focused and gave the maximum to make up time. Ever a perfectionist, he was rewarded with 4th place! A significant result for Alex who got his best EWS finish! He said afterwards,"I made so many mistakes and it's been such a hectic day that it's hard for me to realise it and be happy! Concerning the bike, the evolutions before these American races were rather conclusive. The possibilities of modifications to the bike allowed me to adjust it to the best for this race.”The COMMENCAL Enduro Project Team finished in 6th following this weekend’s results and they move up a place in the overall to 7th. There was a change for the rider’s individual standings too. Alex moved up three places overall to 13th, and becomes the top French ranked rider. Louis also goes up to 15th, Guillaume 19th, which makes them the 3rd and 4th French riders in the standings.

This second block of racing meant it was possible to highlight other areas of development on the bike and to test the latest modifications. The R&D team and riders will continue to work actively on this project. However, the break will be short... The last two rounds start in three weeks. See you inCrans-Montana, Switzerland for the 7th EWS!

Photos : Sven Martin