Riders from the Giant Factory Off-Road Team had a busy weekend, collecting race wins and podiums in various mountain bike disciplines and events around the world. From World Cup cross-country racing to marathon XC and enduro, it was a successful weekend for the team’s diverse range of racers.
Canadian enduro racer McKay Vezina scored the top result for the squad, winning the first round of the Enduro World Series North American Continental Series in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It was the first of three events on the new series for 2019.
Riding his Reign Advanced team bike, Vezina finished the first of two days in second place overall by just .03 seconds. He turned up the speed on day two and was able to separate himself from the field on the short stages and rugged Arkansas terrain.
“The race couldn’t have gone better for me personally,” said Vezina, who wore the Giant Line shoes to take the win. “On day two I rode every stage as hard as I could, taking some big chances, but it paid off and I was able to take the overall win by 17 seconds.”
Several of Vezina’s XC teammates were also in the U.S. for the second round of the Epic Rides marathon XC series in Grand Junction, Colorado. Stephan Davoust kept his 2019 podium streak alive, finishing third on a technical 43-mile course with 6,000 feet of climbing. The Colorado resident also finished on the podium at last week's USA Cycling Marathon MTB National Championships. Davoust's teammate Tristan Uhl also scored a podium in Grand Junction, finishing fourth in the day one criterium event.
“This is the first time I’ve been on the podium for an Epic Rides backcountry event, and I’m super pumped,” said Davoust, who rode his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 and wore the new Giant Charge Pro shoes. “Grand Junction is by far the roughest course on the U.S. circuit and my bike handling skills paid off today. I was able to find flow in the rough singletrack with the help of my Anthem Advanced Pro 29 bike.”
Meanwhile, the team’s two Under-23 cross-country racers were in Europe for the first round of the UCI XC World Cup Series in Albstadt, Germany. American Cole Paton and Australian Cameron Wright both lined up for their first World Cup races of the year, and both had solid performances in a deep, talented field of U23 men. Paton finished 22nd, and Wright was 33rd.
“It’s a big relief to get the pressure of the first World Cup off the shoulders,” said Paton, who rode well with his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 bike and Rev helmet. “My early season campaign of UCI racing [in the U.S.] helped me get a much better starting position than years past and I was stoked to finish in 22nd place. The result was a confidence booster and a good start to the season. I’ll be hungry to improve that with our next chance in just one week.”
Next week Paton and Wright travel to the Czech Republic for Round 2 of the XC World Cup series in Nove Mesto.