Round 5 of the Enduro World Series visited a familiar place this past weekend, La Thuile, Italy, which was home to EWS races in both 2014 and 2016. But something new greeted Alchemy Factory Team racers Cody Kelley and Anneke Beerten: super-technical fresh-cut tracks which were made specifically for race day. These new tracks also created a fair bit of controversy.
“We rode the tracks during practice, in the dry, and they seemed very technical, but doable’” said Team Manager Joel Smith. “But with rain on race day, the tracks became downright dangerous. I was honestly nervous to send the riders out on day 1.”
With that, the race started out very difficult for Anneke Beerten. On one of the steep, slippery top sections, Anneke had a hard crash and ended up slicing her front brake line ending her day.
“I was very disappointed to end my race so early,” said Beerten. “I’ve raced La Thuile before and I was super excited to get back there and earn a good result. But sometimes things don’t go as planned, especially in racing.”
Beerten was forced to walk down the majority of the steep stage and the team was unable to repair her bike in time to meet the time cut off for the next stage. That meant Beerten’s EWS race was over.
It was also a tough race for Factory racer Cody Kelley, who spent the early part of the week suffering from food poisoning.
“I am not 100% sure what got me,” said Kelley. “But during the critical time I usually prep for the race, I was stuck in a hotel room trying to recover. Come race day, I had very little energy and the residual effects of being sick were still with me.”
Cody soldiered on through the race, but finished out of the top 100 in each of the 7 stages.
“I realized pretty quickly that it was not going to be my day,” said Kelley. “So I rode very conservatively to avoid riding over my head and injuring myself. It’s been a tough season for me so far, but I am excited about the technical tracks at the next round in Whistler.”