On the second day of the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series in Saalfelden Leogang, the E-Enduro kicks things off.

Saturday, 08.06.2024

On the second day of the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series in Saalfelden Leogang, the E-Enduro kicks things off.

A famous double win for the Orbea Fox Enduro Team’s Florencia Espiñeira Herreros and Martin Maes at round three of the UCI E-Enduro World Cup ahead of downhill qualifying and semi-finals which decide who will race again tomorrow.

A triumphant win for Florencia Espiñeira Herreros and Martin Maes in Leogang
Riders would have a mammoth day ahead of them, taking in the best of Austria’s largest bike-region Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. Nine stages totaling 2,692m of descent including two power stages with 121m of ascent over a total course length of 84.5km.  

Chile’s Florencia Espiñeira Herreros (ORBEA FOX ENDURO TEAM) would take some stopping this weekend as her main rival in Poland, Britain’s Tracy Moseley (T-MO RACING) was not on the start sheet here in Austria. On top of this, Espiñeira Herreros would return as defending champion in Leogang, having taken the win last year too, was now in command of the series. France’s Laura Charles would be her main competition today.

The threat of afternoon thunderstorms would not materialize, and it would be Florencia Espiñeira Herreros who would dominate, winning seven of the nine stages. Laura Charles would cross the line in second, some 51 seconds distant, with third place going to German Sofia Lena Wiedenroth (SPECIALIZED ENDURO TEAM).


Results EDR-E Women Top 5:
1.    Florencia Espiñeira Herreros (CHL | ORBEA FOX ENDURO TEAM) 36:06:201
2.    Laura Charles (FRA) 36:57:261
3.    Sofia Lena Wiedenroth (GER | SPECIALIZED ENDURO TEAM) 37:18:708
4.    Alia Marcellini (ITA | HAIBIKE) 37:19:014
5.    Helen Weber (GER | ROTWILD SCHWALBE GRAVITY TEAM) 38:16:137


Results EDR-E Women Top 5 Overall:
1.    Florencia Espiñeira Herreros (CHL | ORBEA FOX ENDURO TEAM) 1429 Pts.
2.    Laura Charles (FRA) 1119 Pts.
3.    Sofia Lena Wiedenroth (GER | SPECIALIZED ENDURO TEAM) 989 Pts.
4.    Alia Marcellini (ITA | HAIBIKE) 877 Pts.
5.    Tracy Moseley (GBR) 847 Pts.


Speaking after the race, Florencia Espiñeira Herreros said: “I'm very happy about how I've ridden the first three rounds. It hasn't been easy racing enduro and e-bike is very tough to keep the consistency. I'm happy that everything has gone well so far. I hope it keeps going that way for me. I'm happy to make it to the halfway point in the season with good results. I'm staying in Europe for a while now, I will ride a lot with my teammate and prepare for the next races.” 

With Poland’s Slawomir Lukasik (YETI/FOX RACE TEAM) not competing today, the men’s UCI E-Enduro World Cup race was likely to be a two-way shoot-out between Australia’s Ryan Gilchrist (YETI/FOX FACTORY TEAM) and Manuel Soares Jose Borges (CANYON CLLTV ENDURO TEAM) of Portugal. Lukasik had taken the EDR-E win on home soil in Poland, putting his missing out on the EDR win behind him. Gilchrist and Borges would finish first and second in Finale respectively. 

Few, however, could match the pace of Belgian Martin Maes (ORBEA FOX ENDURO TEAM) who would power to the win, taking seven of the nine stage wins, finishing 1 minute and 4 seconds ahead of second place France’s Levy Batista (ROCKY MOUNTAIN GRAVITY RACING) with third going to fellow Frenchman Kevin Miquel (SPECIALIZED ENDURO TEAM). 


Results EDR-E Men Top 5: 
1.    Martin Maes (BEL | ORBEA FOX ENDURO TEAM) 29:12:001
2.    Lèvy Batista (FRA | ROCKY MOUNTAIN GRAVITY RACING) 30:16:550
3.    Kevin Miquel (FRA | SPECIALIZED ENDURO TEAM) 30:18:701
4.    Andrea Garibbo (ITA | HAIBIKE) 30:30:795
5.    Manuel Soares José Borges (POR | CANYON COLLECTIVE FACTORY ENDURO TEAM) 30:32.151


Results EDR-E Men Top 5 Overall: 
1.    Manuel Soares José Borges (POR | CANYON COLLECTIVE FACTORY ENDURO TEAM) 1058 Pts.
2.    Ryan Gilchrist (AUS | YETI / FOX FACTORY RACE TEAM) 965 Pts.
3.    Hugo Pigeon (FRA | SCOT SR SUNTOUR ENDURO TEAM) 744 Pts.
4.    Cecce Camoin (FRA | SPECIALIZED ENDURO TEAM) 714 Pts.
5.    Tiago Ladeira (POR | MIRANDA FACTORY RACING) 706 Pts.


Martin Maes summed up his day for us: “Yesterday I raced the EDR and I didn't have a good day, so it was nice to turn it around. I had high expectations and I'm happy to take the win as well as take the team overall today. I will go full gas for the rest of the season as always, I have a few things to sort out with the bikes I'm riding at the moment to help them go faster but the spirit is good, and the team is good. I'm happy to have a break, regroup and do some training and come swinging into the next race.”
A full day of downhill action as qualifying and semi-finals get underway
It would be the first opportunity to score World Cup points this afternoon as the Elite riders took to a course which had fresh sections that were constantly evolving, making it harder for riders but always producing some spectacular racing. Today’s racing would determine who would race tomorrow. All eyes would be on local heroes Valentina Höll (YT MOB) and Andreas Kolb (CONTINENTAL ATHERTON) to repeat their historic double from 2023.

Valentina Höll would look to back up her fastest timed training result and go fastest in both qualifying and semi-finals. Germany’s Nina Hoffman (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE), Switzerland’s Camille Balanche (DORVAL AM COMMENCAL), France’s Marine Cabirou (SCOTT DOWNHILL FACTORY) and Britain’s Tahnee Seagrave (CANYON CLLCTV FMD) would look to give her a good battle all weekend.  

Valentina Höll would win qualifying in imperious fashion with an 8.008 second margin before going on to take the win in semi-finals by 1.670 seconds. America’s Anna Newkirk (BEYOND RACING) would take second place ahead of Britain’s Tahnee Seagrave (CANYON CLLCTV FMD). 

The lower woods section proved to be the crucial section in the track, causing problems for Switzerland’s Camille Balanche (DORVAL AM COMMENCAL), France’s Marine Cabirou (SCOTT DOWNHILL FACTORY) and Germany’s Nina Hoffman (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE). 

Valentina Höll spoke after the race, saying: "It's very hard at home this year, the track is brutally demanding, the toughest track we've had at Leogang. I didn't expect it to be so hard but it's good for me." 


Results DH Women Top 5:
1.    Vali Höll (AUT | YT MOB) 3:38:913
2.    Anna Newkirk (USA | BYOND RACING) 3:40:584
3.    Tahnee Seagrave (GBR | CANYON CLLCTV FMD) 3:42:217
4.    Jess Blewitt (NZL | CUBE FACTURY RACING) 3:45:37
5.    Eleonora Farina (ITA | MS INTENSE RACING) 3:45:707

With timed training showing that racing would be tight indeed, could Andreas Kolb edge ahead of the competition, or would the likes of current World Champion and World Cup overall leader, France’s Loic Bruni (SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) take the first win of the weekend? Would Ireland’s Ronan Dunne (MONDRAKER FACTORY RACING) carry his momentum from Poland to Austria?
In the semi-finals it would be Loic Bruni who would be top of the heap showing that the final sectors were the crucial element to a fast run. US rider Luca Shaw (CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM) would finish 0.759 seconds back in second with his teammate Australia’s Troy Brosnan (CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM) some 0.986 back in third. 

New Zealand’s Brook MacDonald (FORBIDDEN SYNTHESIS TEAM) would become a centurion by making his 100th World Cup start here in Leogang but would not make the cut in qualifying. Britain’s Laurie Greenland (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) would finish his weekend with a big crash in qualifying. Canada’s Finn Iles (SPECIALIZED GRAVITY REPUBLIC) would DNF in both his runs, whilst South Africa’s Greg Minnaar (NORCO FACTORY RACING) would not have the pace to make finals, with Frenchman Benoit Coulanges (DORVAL AM COMMENCAL) finishing outside the top 30 in semi-finals.

We spoke to Loic Bruni after his semi-finals run: “I feel good. It was quite easy to make mistakes today, but I did two good runs, so I'm happy. It's super unpredictable with the weather so tomorrow will be quite tricky and I'll take it as it comes. I'm really happy with how I ended the day, it didn't start perfect but it kept getting better and better. I can't complain. Tomorrow I am just going to hold it wide open, hopefully stay on the bike and enjoy the crowds. Leogang is one of my favourite stops, so I want to make the most of it.”

Results DH Men Top 5: 
1.    Loic Bruni (FRA | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 3:05:146
2.    Luca Shaw (USA | CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM) 3:05:905
3.    Troy Brosnan (AUS | CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM) 3:06:132
4.    Oisin O’Callaghan (IRL | YT MOB) 3:06:497
5.    Amaury Pierron (FRA | COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF BY RIDING ADDICTION) 3:08:427

Sunday, 9 June:
12:30 UCI Downhill World Cup – Final Women Junior 
13:00 UCI Downhill World Cup – Final Men Junior 
14:15 UCI Downhill World Cup – Final Women Elite
15:00 UCI Downhill World Cup – Final Men Elite

Another treat for will also be presented to the fans on site on Sunday: The Flying Bulls, led by stunt pilot Dario Costa, will provide another highlight with their air show before the Elite Women's final.