From the Enduro World Series:
If last year's round of the Enduro World Series was a fairytale, then this year's event was a dream come true for Greg Callaghan.
The Emerald Enduro presented by Biking.ie was almost a complete rerun of last year's incredible race, with sunshine, huge crowds and Greg Callaghan and Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) walking away with the top honors.
In a race that changed direction with each of the seven stages, Wicklow once more proved that a little hill can create big dramas. It was business as usual at the start of the day with Richie Rude leading out Martin Maes until everything changed on stage two. Both Rude and Maes suffered punctures, along with Josh Carlson, Nico Vouilloz, Anneke Beerten and Toni Ferreiro. The issue forced all of them out the points–except one man.
In one of the most stunning comebacks the series has ever seen, Rude was able to pull it back from 34th place after stage two to finish the race in 3rd place. And in another surprise, Sam Hill finished the day in second.
Speaking after the race, Callaghan said: "It feels amazing. The crowd was just pushing me on and to be honest I felt like the result almost didn't matter because just having that level of support and having so many people willing me on was kind of a win on its own. So I just focused on riding as well as I could–and it worked!"
In the women's race it was like Tracy had never left, taking a clean sweep of the stages apart from the final one of the day, which she lost to Isabeau Courdurier. Current series leader Cecile Ravanel was forced to settle for second place.
Tracy said: "I was excited to come back and race here after last year because it's such a fun race with such amazing crowds and the tracks are really fun to ride. To come back and have it sunny, to have even better crowds and then to win–it doesn't really get much better."
In the Under 21 Women's competition, Irish rider Leah Maunsell triumphed, whilst her fellow countryman Robin Seymour took the Master's competition. And the luck of the Irish continued into the Men's Under 21 field, as Killian Callaghan, cousin of Greg, took to the top step of the podium. In the team competition, Rocky Mountain Urge bp were team of the day, and now lead the series heading into round four in La Thuile.
Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: "There's just something special about this venue. Once again Niall and his team have worked so hard and it shows. What an incredible race. The Emerald Enduro is a real gem in the Enduro World Series calendar. Two years in a row now we've had a magical weekend with amazing racing, astounding crowds and an incredible welcome from Niall and his team. Thanks to everyone for all of the support and congratulations to all the riders for an great race”
The series now takes a break before returning in July for round four in La Thuile, Italy. Full results from Wicklow can be viewed here.