Dopo la prima giornata di gara, che prevedeva due prove speciali, Richie Rude e Sam Hill sono separati da 66 centesimi, con Mitch Ropelato in terza posizione a sei secondi di distacco e Martin Maes, al ritorno dopo la sua squalifica per doping, a sette secondi.
Il comunicato ufficiale:
Saturday saw the racers tackle two rocky, challenging stages under a blazing Californian sun, resulting in Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Racing) leading out Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) by less than one second. Mitch Ropelato came out to race in his home state and was rewarded with a third place finish. In his first race since Madeira, Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) sits in fourth – just one second adrift of Ropelato, with Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Bikes) rounding out the top five.
In the women’s race Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Collective) finishes day one in the same position as she started it – leading the women’s field. Courdurier has a convincing 11 second over second placed Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing), with Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team) in third. Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Racing) is in fourth place – and just four seconds outside the top three. Morgane Charre is also on the chase in fifth place, only one second behind Thoma.
In the Master Men it’s series leader Karim Amour (Miranda Racing Team) who leads the race, with Cedric Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) 15 seconds behind in second position. Dan Krenicki of the USA rounds out the top three. Swiss rider Alba Wunderlin capitalises on her recent wins to lead the Master Women ahead of local legend Tasha Thomas, with the USA’s Heidi Kanayan in third.
Canadian Lucy Shick takes the early lead in the U21 Women ahead of the USA’s Isabella Naughton (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) with Chilean rider Paz Gallo Fuentes in third. Duncan Nason leads the U21 men, followed by series leader Antoine Vidal (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) in second with Kasper Woolley in third.
The race is far from over though – with four stages left to go on Sunday, including the ultra physical Queen Stage which will kick start the final day of racing.