Yeti Fox Racing’s Bex Baraona and Richie Rude took three stages apiece to emerge as victors in Derby, Tasmania at the second round of the UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup. The pair were pushed hard on the granite slabs and boulders of Derby but their consistency and strength set them apart from the rest of the field on a day when riders pedalled every millimetre of a 44km course high up above this former tin-mining town.
Rain in the week had left Derby’s trademark slabs muddy, slick and unpredictable and in the women’s race it was the Brits that this seemed to suit best. Harriet Harnden (Trek Factory Racing) took first blood on stage one but Baraona was just two seconds behind with Ella Conolly (Cannondale Enduro Team) in fourth and looking to be on the pace.
In the end, every stage would see a British one, two with Harnden and Baraona sharing the honours on three occasions. The pair would go into the final stage with less than a second between them and two stage wins apiece. The final stage - Kamma-Gutza - would be decisive though with Baraona grinding out the win on the day’s longest stage and taking the series lead. Scotland’s Conolly would also take a stage and her consistency would be rewarded with third on the day. France’s Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) struggled to match her Maydena-winning pace at round one after suffering a leg injury in a practice crash earlier in the week but she dug deep and did enough for fourth. Morgane Charre (Pivot Factory Racing) was fifth.
In the men’s race, Yeti/Fox Racing teammates Richie Rude and Slawomir Lukasik traded blows all day. The pair would be one and two in four of the day’s six stages with the US’s Rude only dropping below second place on one stage all day. Only 2022 champ Jesse Melamed (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Enduro Team) managed to wrest a stage from the pair. In the end Rude would drop last and go fastest on the rapidly-drying final stage of the day to take the race win and series lead going into the European rounds in June. Lukasik’s two stage wins were enough for second on the day and Melamed rounded out the podium. YT Mob’s Jack Moir and Orbea Fox Enduro Team’s Martin Maes both improved on their round-one results taking fourth and fifth at Derby.
In the women’s U21 race it was a clean sweep for Kiwi Erice Van Leuven (Commencal Les Orres) who won all six stages. The second-place finisher at round one finished the day more than a minute and a half up on Canadian Elly Hoskin. Aussie Lia Ladbrook was third.
In the men’s U21 race, round-one winner Tasmanian Sascha Kim came out on top again after winning three stages. His compatriot Cooper Lowe was second and France’s Lisandru Bertini (Lapierre Zipp Collective) was third.
The UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup heads to Europe for round three, when the world’s best will be back in action in Finale Ligure, Italy (June 02 - 04).
2023 Enduro World Cup Derby Tasmania Results - Men (full results)
2023 Enduro World Cup Derby Tasmania Results - Women (full results)