Australian Josh Carlson led the way for the team, riding the new Reign Advanced Pro 29 to an impressive sixth-place finish, his second-best result ever on the EWS circuit.
Round 6 of the EWS offered a serious test for riders and their machines, covering 56km of steep, rocky and rooty trails over two days of racing. The action kicked off Saturday afternoon with close to 700 riders tackling the longest EWS stage of the year, an 11km track that dropped more than 5000 vertical feet from Top of the World to the Whistler base area.
Carlson got off to a strong start on the physically demanding stage, piloting his new Reign Advanced Pro 29 to his best stage result so far this year.
“Whistler always delivers a brutal race and this year was no different,” said Carlson, who wore the new Giant Line shoes throughout the weekend. “We started the weekend with the longest stage from Top of the World, which was a great mix up to the classic Whistler format. I finished that stage, the queen stage, in third, which really boosted my confidence for day two.”
Rain, wind and colder temperatures made for tough conditions on Sunday. Carlson continued to ride well, staying near the top of the standings throughout the long day of five stages. The conditions took a toll on many riders, as it turned into a race of attrition.
“Having the new Reign 29er here to race on was especially awesome,” said Carlson, who ended up finishing less than half a second off the podium in fifth. “To debut the new bike with my second best ever result added to how stoked I am with coming away in sixth overall."
Carlson was joined by teammates Mckay Vezina and Youn Deniaud. Vezina, who has been focusing more on North American events this year, had a strong showing, finishing sixth on the Top of the World stage and 20thoverall.
“I was super nervous coming into this race because I haven’t been at the EWS much this year, and to jump back in at Whistler was a lot of pressure,” said the Canadian. “I am super proud of my results this weekend. Starting the race off with a sixth on Stage 1, and finishing in the top 20 overall.”
For Deniaud, it was a disappointing weekend following an early flat tire on the opening stage. The Frenchman lost more than 8 minutes in Stage 1, and even though he was frustrated with the result he said he’s looking forward to Round 7 at Northstar resort later this month in Lake Tahoe, California.