Cube Action Team’s Greg Callaghan was best of the Irish at the opening round of the Enduro World Series in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Overcoming a heavy hitting crash, Callaghan battled back to an eventual 16th. Suffering from a couple of crashes themselves, Team CRC Mavic’s Kelan Grant placed 50th, while Killian Callaghan was just one second behind in 51st in his Specialiazed debut.
Polygon’s Dan Wolfe was just over 30 seconds adrift to finish 69th – showing how tight things are in the EWS..
After a long winter’s wait, the much-anticipated Enduro World Series finally got underway on New Zealand’s north island in conjunction with Crankworx at Rotorua.
Five stages awaited riders for the 50-kilometre long single-day race, covering 1725 metres of climbing and 1429 metres of descending across two mountains.
#EWSRotorua in 1-minute!What a way to start the season in Rotorua, New Zealand.After five hard fought stages it was Isabeau Courdurier FRA and Martin Maes BEL produced champion performances, to win their battles for Rotorua!Relive the action from race day in this epic edit!Intense-Mavic Collective GT Bicycles Crankworx
Posted by Enduro World Series on Saturday, 23 March 2019
Greg Callaghan – 16th
Determined to kick off his 2019 season strong, Greg was quickly in the hunt and inside the top 10 early on.
Placing seventh and 11th fastest on stages two and three, he had his sights set on a potential top five until a big crash on stage four cost him dear.
Managing to shake it off, he regrouped to claim 16th, finishing less than 14 seconds outside the top seven.
“After a steady stage one I got into the swing of things and was climbing my way up the leaderboard,” told Greg.
“I was up to seventh but knew with some favoured stages to come, fourth or more was possible. But a big slam on stage four knocked the wind clean out of me. I’m gutted with that – I know the pace is there and I’ll live to fight another day.”
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Mixed bag of feelings after yesterday, so good to be back in the race season riding around with a bunch of GC's but damn, these @world_enduro 's ain't easy. Started the day slow but got going and worked my way up to 7th after stage 3, within reach of 4th and feeling good for it. A big slam on S4 took the wind out of the sails and killed my mojo. P16 in the end, some sore ribs and a fire in the belly to show my potential next week in Tasmania, got some redemption to get there from two years ago! 😬 #instaracereports #bikesareclass #becube #givesyouwings 📸 @moonhead_media
Grant & Killian Callaghan 50th & 51st
Behind Greg, Kelan and Killian were neck-and-neck throughout the day, while also tasting their fair share of Rotorua dirt.
Dipping inside the top 30 after stage two, Grant was on for a career-best result. But crashes on stages three and four put him on the back foot.
Bouncing back for 33rd quickest on the final stage five saw him place 50th overall.
“I had some really good stages, running inside the top 30 but a crash or two left me out the back a bit,” said Kelan.
“We’ve Australia next week, so I’m keen to go for that.”
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Some promising stage results yesterday. Happy with how I’m riding and feeling strong. Two crashes upset my overall yesterday but after a bit of reflection I had a sick week on some of the best tracks with some of the best people. Amped up for round 2 this week 🤜 #lifesgood @kikeabelleira 📷 @nukeproofbikes @chainreactioncycles @teamchainreactioncycles @mavic_mtb @srammtb @rockshox @supremelabs @7protection @supremelabs @ride100percent @clifbar @mudhugger2 @mucoff @handupgloves @michelinbicycle
Making his Specialized debut, Killian Callaghan found himself a victim of his own eagerness, with crashes hampering his progress.
Admitting to pushing a little too hard, he wasn’t able to show that clean flow he knows is there.
Less than one second behind Kelan in 51st, he showed form with a stage two best of 31st.
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Seen a lot of the floor today. Put probably a little too much pressure on myself to go for it. Mad having someone working on your bike and not having to worry about anything apart from the stages. A bit different to racing outa the back of the van!! Rode well when I was on the bike just kept tryna push it a bit too much and ending up on the deck. Speed is there Can’t wait for another go next week in Tasmania! Big up @patyyoung @caelab_drummond on the bike fiddling and @benno_willeit for just being an absolute boss sorting everything out 📷Seb Shaka @just_sullivan #iamspecialized_mtb #iamspecialized #htcomponents #cushcore #gopro #magura_official #renthal_cycling #supacaz #ohlinsmtb #rovalcomponents #ethirteencomponents
Dan Wolfe 69th
Knowing how quickly your luck can turn in the EWS, Polygon’s Dan Wolfe was determined to get his first full day of world level racing in over eight months completed without issue.
Placing 76th on stage one, he clicked things up a gear with 62nd on stage two and then 58th on stage four to place a closely fought 69th overall.
GT Bicycles’ Martin Maes was the rider to beat. Sweeping all five stages, he took the win. Interestingly he was also running a 650B rear and a 29” front wheel set.
Martin Maes taking the first win on 29er front wheel and 650b rear.
The Enduro World Series continues with round two in Tasmania, Australia on March 31.
Results: Enduro World Series, Round 1
1. Martin Maes (GT Bicycles)
2. Keegan Wright (Unior Devinci)
3. Florian Nicolai (Canyon)
16. Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team)
50. Kelan Grant (Team CRC Mavic)
51. Killian Callaghan (Specialized)
69. Dan Wolfe (Polygon)
Lead Image: © Cube Action Team