There are many untouched regions in this world that you rarely get to see on a bike. It's usually the locals themselves, who are probably just on their way to the next village on their bikes. The Chilean Andes chain is certainly one such region. This is exactly where the multi-day enduro event invited Andes Pacifico by Santa Cruz in the past week. The flora and fauna here is anything but ideal for cycling, so the participants had to be prepared for a particularly demanding race.
In addition to many local riders, Jerome Clementz, last year's Enduro World Series winner, also started. Needless to say, the little Frenchman started the four-day race as a favorite, but on day one the riders took the lift up the first few meters of altitude to La Parva Ski Centre.
The first day was already difficult. Many of the drivers who started fell and had technical defects and flat tires to complain about. But it wasn't just the four demanding timed stages that were tough. After the third stage, a transfer stage with almost 1200 meters of altitude had to be mastered, which pushed the starters to their limits on the first day. The winner of the day was Jerome Clementz. With a time of 45:29 minutes, he took first place in the overall standings. He was followed by Chilean champion Nico Prudencio and Frenchman François Bailly-Maitre.
Even if the organizers predicted a somewhat quieter second day, there was a 25-minute stage to complete right at the beginning. Only Clementz and Bailly-Maitre were able to stay under the 22 minute mark and only showed minor signs of fatigue. Jerome Clementz also won the other two stages, which put him further ahead in the overall classification. Anka Martin imitated him in the women's classification. After successfully completing day one, she took almost two minutes off her closest pursuer Pauline Dieffenthaler on the second day of racing.
The third day started relatively relaxed for the drivers. First, all participants were brought to the starting point of the forthcoming stage in pick-ups. The landscapes became more picturesque, the flora more lush. However, the trails remained very sandy and consistently challenging. The drivers started on the The Oak Hill and had to make their way up to the region the sleeping master where the second and penultimate stage for the day awaited.
Day three should give the Frenchman Bailly-Maitre a little boost. While he was only able to finish second in the previous days, he won two of the three stages driven and secured the day's victory just ahead of Clementz. Anka Martin also won the penultimate day of racing, but was increasingly put under pressure by Dieffenthaler.
The last three stages on the final day were to take place near the coast, so the drivers had to sit in the pick-ups one more time. With a very clear lead in the overall standings, Jerome Clemenzt was able to start the last day relaxed, but he couldn't rest. The first timed stage in Puchuncavi was already off for many local riders Montenbaik Enduro 2013 known. Many switchbacks and blocked, rocky trails awaited the riders.
In the overall classification, it was particularly exciting for places two and three. While Bailly-Maitre crashed on the final stage, Nicolas Prudencio managed to finish three clean runs to relegate the speedy Frenchman to second overall. Clementz once again proved his class and set the best time on the last three stages. With a lead of almost four minutes, he wins ahead of Nicolas Prudencio and François Bailly-Maitre. Anka Martin drove away from the other riders on the last day as well. With another day's win, she won the Andes Pacifico in front of Pauline Dieffenthaler and Julia Hobson.
1. Jerome Clementz - 2:15:22
2. Nicolas Prudencio - 2:19:21
3. Francois Bailly-Maitre - 2:19:27
4. Pedro Ferreira – 2:23:00
5. Lars Sternberg - 2:23:44
1. Anka Martin - 2:55:50
2. Pauline Dieffenthaler—3:02:15
3. Julia Hobson—3:13:27
4. Nadine Sapin—3:13:29
5. Mary-Anne Hunter - 3:52:30
[Photos: Gary Perkin, Sven Martin Dave Trumpore and Claudio Olguin]