The weekend of the 20th and 21st of June 2015 is one that is to be remembered in the sport of Enduro mountain biking. This weekend was the world’s first ever European Enduro Championship race and it was officially overseen by the European Cyclists’ Federation. The event was held in the beautiful Austrian town of Kirchberg but the weather was far from perfect… To find out how the race went for the Radon Factory Team riders, read their official race report below.
After a filthy day of practice with fresh snow falling at the top of the hill the organisers decided, much to the riders’ relief, to cancel the prologue that was scheduled for Saturday night. The team therefore had time to relax in the comfort of a nice warm apartment before the carnage unfolded on Sunday…
Raphaela takes Bronze!
Raphaela was the first team member to leave the pits as she was competing in the Elite womens category. In each of the first 3 stages she was the 2nd fastest lady which meant she was lying in 2nd position before the fourth and final stage.
To add to the excitement of the race, the organisation reseeded the riders in reverse order of their current position from the days racing so that the fastest rider would be the last person to leave to start gate. As with downhill racing, there was live timing for the final run so that the riders and spectators could see who had won the race as soon as everyone had crossed the finish line. The other intriguing feature about the last stage was that it counted for over 50% of the total race time which meant it was very long (15mins+ for the men and over 17mins for the women) and so required a serious amount of physical strength/endurance as well skill to be successful.
At only 17, Raphaela is technically still a junior yet she is competing for the top spots in the Elite Womens category. Unfortunately she lost valuable time with a crash on the last stage which allowed Anita Gehrig to sneak in front by just 3 seconds. Nevertheless, Raphaela still came in 3rd place with a European Bronze medal which is a truly fantastic achievement at such a young age!
Raphaela after she crossed the finishline: “The week running up to the Euro Champs I was fighting a sore throat. Saturday during practice I crashed almost every 20 meters, don’t know if this had something to do with this sore throat.. Sunday the sore throat was back, but it don’t think this effected my racing. The track in Kirchberg just the way I like them, but some how I could get to my normal form, and felt pretty slow on track. At the end it still was enough for 3rd place. All smiles”
Jamesy Boy Shirley Podiums
James was the next team rider to do battle with the course. He rode really well in practice but managed to collect a tree near the bottom of stage 1 which twisted his bars, brake levers and seatpost. After a quick pit-stop and a few deep breathes he was away again to stage 2 where he took the fastest time of the day! Stage 3 was another clean run for James which meant he was the 3rd last rider standing at the top of the hill for the final run. He paced himself well for the climbs and he rode to the limit on the downs but it wasn’t quite good enough to fend off Remy Absalon who managed to claw his way into 2nd position with a gap of only 5 seconds in front of James who had to settle for 4th position. Despite just missing out on a medal, this is another great success for the team.
James: “This is one of my proudest moments and that I am so happy to stand on the podium beside Remy Absalon and Jerome Clementz who took the overall victory”.
Unfortunately Petrik Bruckner is not getting to his normal form this season. Petrik: ”The race went ok for me, I had solid runs with a small crash at stage 3. Somehow this season I am not getting on to speed. I was feeling good on the bike, and also carried good flow. Unfortunately this only brought me to a 26st place overall. I know I need to find the loose ends to get back on the right path.”
Check out some impressions form the race in this short video edit:
The Radon Factory Enduro Team is supported by:
Manitou Suspension, BBB Cycling helmets & glasses, Winterberg Holiday Resort, Magura Brakes, DT Swiss Wheels, Continental Tires, IXS Protection, SRAM, Answer Components, Fizik Sattles, Carbocage Chainguards, Thirty7even Clothing, Acros Headset, RSP Bike Care, Phidra Accountants
Words: Radon Factory Team | Photos: Trev Worsey
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