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Round 4 of enduro world series took place in Canazei valley in the Italian Dolomites. Canazei was a one day race, so it looked to be a more mellow race for the riders with five stages and about 3500m of descending. Joe is still recovering from his elbow injury and Matti decided to take his spot in the race for the show, although Matti hasn’t raced nearly two years. Arriving in Canazei on Tuesday, the first thing we noticed was the heat, most hours of the day were above 30 degrees with no sign of easing up. Regardless of this, we got to work setting bikes up ready for practice to start Thursday morning. Leigh thought it would be more beneficial not to walk some stages this time because of the heat and by the looks of the course maps, there were some long stages to be found, the longest being stage 5 at 6.8km.

We began practice Thursday morning, we started on stage 1, then stage 4. After lunch, we then rode stage 2 and 3. This was a pretty chilled day as all, but stage 2 were accessible by ski lift. Practice went well for both Leigh and Matti, with plenty of time to get key lines dialed in on the stages. The night spent watching video footage of the stages and recovering for the next day of practice. Friday was another practice day, but only one stage to practice; however, this was the longest one. This went well again for both riders, and they felt good for racing on Saturday. With a midday start for Leigh and Matti, it was set to be a relaxed race day, but the heat was still savage and five stages to complete.

Stage 1 was a physical one, tight corners, fast rough rocky sections, and some sprints; Leigh had a stormer with his best stage result of 7th.
Stage 2 was the only stage which had no lift access, but only a little climb, this was the shortest stage of the race, mostly a loamy track with tight switchbacks, Leigh placed 14th on this stage, keeping him 9th overall.
Stage 3 was Leigh’s favorite, this was a freshly built track, not much to pedal but a challenge to hold on with the ever-changing conditions with big holes and ruts appearing in the loam. Leigh 9th on this stage.
Stage 4 was a mix of fresh and hardpack trail, lots of pumping and carrying speed — Leigh 15th on this one.
Stage 5, last but not least was the monster, 1000m drop. This was a physical one, lots of pedaling, and fast sections. Leigh had a clean stage but completely ran out of energy, placing 38th.

Overall a good weekend for both riders, Leigh managed to bag 11th overall and Matti happy for a clean race and to complete the race in 93rd. Our bikes were dialed all week, with only a tire change needed for race day. Back on the road now, heading to Round 5 in Les Orres, France.

Be sure to keep an eye on the team’s progress throughout the week on their Instagram profiles –

@Polebicycles
@Leighjohnson237
@Mattilehikoinen


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