Jesse Melamed stamped his authority on the trails of Pietra Ligure to claim victory on June 3 at the UCI Mountain Bike Enduro World Cup's outdoor region finale.
With two stage wins under his belt last weekend, Melamed was simply too fast and too consistent for his rivals over the duration of six fast, chunky and technical tracks above the azure waters of the Ligurian Sea in Italy. The Whistlerite finished in a total time of 28 minutes, 40.04 seconds, ahead of Squamolian Rhys Verner (28:45.42) and Alex Rudeau of France (28:46.30).
"It was a fun day of racing [on Saturday]," said Melamed on his Instagram account after the event. "I struggled a bit to get into it on Stage One, there was nothing to fire me up, just straight into tight flat turns. Eventually found my flow and managed a decent stage. Stage Two was the beast and I wanted to throw down a good one since it should have had the biggest time gaps. Really stoked I won that one. Three was just a stage to survive.
"By this point the battle was on between Rhys Verner, Alex Rudeau and I, and we were trading stages. I had a bit of a buffer but I knew I couldn’t let off at all as I might risk losing too much time or risk a crash by being less focused. It was full gas to the finish and I’m really happy I was able to keep it together! Good one and onto the next one!"
After Melamed found his pace, he held serve for the rest of what was a massive day in the saddle with more than 2000 metres of climbing and 3100 metres of descent. The Whistlerite's biggest threat came from fellow Sea to Sky athlete Verner, who took the first stage of the day along with the fifth. That meant, at the close of play, he was only five seconds back after nearly 30 minutes against the clock.
Rudeau won a stage and had two second-places to finish less than a second behind Verner.
"Still buzzing from this one and I’m sure I will be for a while!" said the Squamish native. "Days like this make all the hard work so worth it."
Morgane Charre held off all comers on the women's side. After a huge 56-kilometre day, the French rider had a fairly comfortable win margin (32:22.32) of nearly 14 seconds over second-placed local hero Gloria Scarsi (32:35.99). Last year’s champion, Isabeau Courdurier, was third (32:39.08).
Charre came out swinging and won the first two stages of the day: both the longest in the race by some margin. As a result, she led all day despite a strong challenge from Scarsi, who took a later stage and was buoyed by a vocal and partisan local crowd to her best-ever result in world-class competition.
In the U21 women's race, it was a dominating win for Emmy Lan of Vancouver Island. France’s Lily Planquart was second and Elly Hoskin from Squamish wound up third.
Raphael Giambi, another French contestant, prevailed among U21 men. Scotland’s William Brodie was second and Giambi’s compatriot Alexis Icardo crossed the line in third.
Melamed's Canyon CLLCTV emerged as the team of the day, but Yeti/Fox Factory Racing still sits atop the overall EDR team standings with three events in the books.