The third round of the Enduro World Cup Series took place on the steep, chunky terrain in the hills above Pietra Ligure and the blue waters of the Ligurian Sea. A familiar area for pro enduro racers, the Finale Outdoor Region served up a serious challenge with six stages covering 56km including 3105 meters of descending and 2070 meters of climbing.
“I had a bit of pressure on myself to perform in Europe after the first two rounds,” Deniaud said. “I wanted to be in front and the podium was the target. My strategy was to be strong on the first two stages, which were the longest at around eight minutes.”
Racing on his Reign Advanced Pro team bike, Deniaud started hot with a seventh-place finish in the first of six stages. A crash on stage 2 dropped him down in the standings, forcing him to claw his way back over the course of a long day.
“I had a decent Stage 1 with a P7 finish, but I overrode a technical section on Stage 2 and that crash cost me a lot of time,” said Deniaud. “I had to push harder to come back in the overall, which I did with P2 on Stage 3 and the win on Stage 6. I’m happy with the way I rode the final stage, fully committed. For the next round in Leogang I need to work on staying smoother. The pace is there, I just need to put the pieces together for the podium.”
Carlson Top-10 in E-Enduro
Also representing Giant in Italy was Josh Carlson in the opening race of the E-Enduro World Cup Series. The Australian finished the day seventh overall, his best result yet in E-EDR competition.
“Racing in Italy is always great, and the first E-EDR World Cup in Pietra Ligure was no different,” Carlson said. “Although it’s right next door to Finale Ligure, the trails in Pietra see far less traffic and have a bit more soil.”
Preparing for the loose dirt and technical terrain, Carlson put a longer travel 170mm fork on his Trance X Advanced E+ race bike. “I started the race off with two small crashes on Stage 1, which set me back a little,” he said. “I was able to regroup and race consistently in the top-10, snagging fifth on Stage 4.”
Carlson continued to race well over the final two stages to earn seventh place at the end of the day. “This is my best ever E-EDR result in the World Series,” he said. “It’s a great way to start the season and I hope to carry this momentum through the next two World Cup rounds in Leogang [Austria] and Val di Fassa [Italy].”