Damien Oton arrives at the top in the Enduro World Series Round 4!
The young breakthrough rider of the season, Damien Oton follows up his second place in the Enduro World Series in Valloire, with his maiden victory in La Thuile, Italy. - Photo by Sven Martin
Hailing from a strong Enduro motocross background and honing his world-class skills on a bicycle for little over four years, Damien Oton has made short work in proving himself to stand toe-to-toe with the some of the biggest names in the cycling world. Throughout the 2013 Enduro World Series, Oton regularly positioned himself in the top 10 in many rounds, and finally finished 15th overall, his previous best finish prior to his second place finish in Vallorie. With fierce competition building within the series it’s a fight to hold onto positions, let alone improve your ranking. But, seemingly not for Oton.
Shadowed by the enormity of Mont Blanc (the highest peak in the Alps), the resort of La Thuile is subjected to the variable mountain weather patterns that ravage Europe’s highest peaks. At this time of year the resort can be equally drenched in sun or whipped with high winds and punishing storms. Unfortunately for the world’s best Enduro riders, it would be the latter. Over two days of racing the riders battled it out over six stages testing all the strength they had. Equipment, planning and fitness were put to the test.
Here, Oton pushes the limits though the variable conditions over the weekend. - Photo by Sven Martin
The most notable aspect of the race in Le Thuile was the quality of the tracks. Riders unanimously agreeing that they were the best that the series has seen since its beginning - high Alpine rock descents over testing slabs and steeps, to flowing switchbacks through loamy forests, interjected with lung-busting sprints. This course would test everything the riders had in fitness and skill.
Here, Rene Wildhaber opens up one of the many swith back corners to carry his blistering speed through the stages. - Photo by Sven Martin
Day one saw the longest ever stage of any Enduro World Series at 10km, followed by steep and technical descents to mix the game up. Maintaining composure and putting everything he had on the line gave Oton the win in the first two stages, although hot on Oton’s heels was our hyper experienced racer, Rene Wildhaber. Wildhaber later secured the fastest time on stage three of day one to lead the overall standings heading into day two. Riders faced much of the same relentless riding throughout day two, with the top three riders, all of different styles and strengths, within 4 seconds of one another. Joe Barnes wrapped up the top three with his highest and most proud finish of the series so far, giving him hope to step up a couple of places in the coming rounds. - Photo by Victor Lucas
Ann Caroline Chausson could easily be considered the most decorated women’s cyclist of all time would continues to hold her ground in the women’s field finishing in second overall. Cecile Ravanel and Anneke Beerten followed up closely in the standings. Beerten’s consistency throughout the events is definitely something to watch.
Here, Beerten puts the blistering cold and high winds to the back of her mind and focuses on the task in hand - making another consistent finish in the series. - Photo by Sven Martin
1st - Damien Oton - Devinci All-Tricks - SRAM XX1 | SRAM Guide RSC | RockShox Pike | Monarch Plus Debonair | Reverb Stealth
3rd - Joe Barnes - Canyon Factory Enduro - SRAM XX1 | SRAM Guide RSC | RockShox Reverb Stealth
4th - Rene Wildhaber - Trek Factory Racing – SRAM XX1 | SRAM Guide RSC | RockShox Pike | Monarch Plus Debonair | Reverb Stealth | Truvativ BlackBox Clementz Bar
2nd - Anne Caroline Chausson - Ibis - SRAM XX1 | RockShox Reverb Stealth
3rd - Cecile Ravanel - GT - SRAM XX1
4th - Anneke Beerten - Specialized Factory Racing – SRAM XX1 | SRAM Guide RSC | RockShox Pike | Monarch Plus Debonair | Reverb Stealth | Truvativ BlackBox Clementz Bar
5th - Ines Thoma - Canyon Factory Enduro - SRAM XX1 | SRAM Guide RSC | RockShox Reverb Stealth
Round five of the EWS will see the riders arrive in Colorado for the Colorado Freeride Festival where a base height of 2500m adds another level of difficulty to the series. We wish all of our riders the best of luck and look forward to updating you with their progress soon.