The fifth round of the Enduro World Series took place in Millau, France, over the weekend where Team CRC Mavic rider Sam Hill and Team Manager Nigel Page were back in action.
Here’s Nigel’s report:
Millau was a two day race with nine stages in total; five stages for day one and four on day two with stages five and nine, the last of each day being the same track.
Sam’s video highlights:
The Mountains are big and steep here and we were only able to practice all the stages once apart from a couple of runs on stages three and seven which where the steepest stages. The trails were a mixture of very steep tight rocky turns, fast tight singletrack and quite a lot of pedalling at the start of most stages with a few hard lung-busting climbs on some stages in the middle.
Myself and Sam only got chance to walk stage eight as it was very hard to find before all the transition stages were marked out and so it was tough trying to learn all the tracks and especially with how muddy and slippery it was. These were some of the sketchiest trails I have ever ridden and the transitions back to the stage starts were tough with some of them a one hour-plus hike a bike.
Race day rain
Come race day on Friday and it was going to be a wet one with on and off rain scheduled all day, so it was a bit of a gamble on what tyres to choose. Sam opted for dry tyres, Mavic Charge front and rear, and he came:
This put him in ninth overall after day one with the better tracks for him and myself on day two. It seemed pretty unfair here with the limited practice as it was all the French riders that had raced here before and came for practice before the event that were all at the top of the standings, but that’s enduro sometimes I guess.
I managed to battle through to be in second overall in the Master category after day one.
Nigel’s horrible crash
The second day of racing came around and although we were tired after a big first day we both knew the tracks on day two would suit us a little more.
I managed a second place in my category on the first stage and was up for stage seven as it was my favourite one and the one we’d ridden more than once. It was raining pretty hard as I set out of the gate and I pushed hard on the first part which was a bit flat and pedally before you started getting fast on the open grass top section before dropping into the steep downhill track.
I’m not sure exactly what happened but as I hit the road crossing going flat out I got on the pedals hard before there was a small kicker jump into the field. As I was sprinting at the jump I just slipped my pedals and had no time to recover before I hit the jump which resulted in a massive over the bars flying through the air off the jump. I landed super hard on my head and left shoulder and slammed into the ground. I tried to get up quick and grab my bike but I was so winded and the pain in my shoulder and left side was too much. That was unfortunately my race over and a trip to the hospital in the ambulance. I feel like I have been hit by a truck today!
Sam fired up for final stages
Sam Hill was fired up for day two and it really showed in his stage results battling hard with the French riders who were very familiar with the trails. Sam ended up fifth and sixth on stages six and seven, first by five seconds on stage eight and eighth on stage nine moving him up to sixth overall and the highest placed non-French rider!
Sam second overall
This puts Sam in second overall in the Enduro World Series rankings ahead of Greg Callahan who dropped from first to third and French rider Adrien Daily moved up from third to first after winning the race.
The next round goes to Aspen in the USA, then Whistler in Canada with the final in Finale in Italy.
Sam remains in the hunt for his goal of becoming Enduro World Champion! Well done Sam you’re a legend!
A huge thanks to Jacy Schumilak for all his work this week and Mavic and SRAM for looking after us in the pits like kings. Thanks very much guys, really appreciate it.
All images by Sven Martin.