Jared Graves and Cecile Ravanel were the winners of Sunday's SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized, while Jesse Melamed was once again a factor in his hometown race at Crankworx Whistler.
Graves won the open men's title of the lone Canadian stop of Enduro World Series for the second year in a row, making up a big deficit on the final stage, which started on Top of the World and finished at Skiers Plaza.
"That last stage, I think. It's my boy," Graves laughed when asked what his secret was to earning a repeat victory. "I was having a rough day all today with mechanicals and what not, but I was still sitting within reach. It was just the plan to lay it all down on the last stage."
The Australian rider sat ninth, 37 seconds off the lead, when dropping into the fifth and final stage as the last rider to go. His stage-best time of 21 minutes, 33.89 seconds moved him just 2 1/2 seconds ahead of France's Nico Lau, who settled for the runner-up spot, while American racer Curtis Keene (+15.88) also landed on the podium.
After a career-best sixth-place result in 2013, there was no Cinderella finish for Whistler's Melamed this year, as he was in sixth position heading into the final stage but flatted and fell back to 58th. However, he was one of the riders to beat early in the race, posting the fastest time overall on Crazy Train to take the Stage 2 victory and briefly hold the lead.
"It's frustrating, but it was still a super good day," said Melamed. "I got a stage win, which I'm more than happy about, so I got something positive out of the day. After two stages I was winning; I showed that I can be there.
"The mechanical sucks, but it happens."
Tyler Morland finished as the top Canadian, placing 27th. Whistler's Matt Ryan finished in 30th spot, while fellow locals Nick Geddes (34th), Dylan Wolsky (38th), Shane Gayton (42nd) and Jordan Hodder (46th) were all in the top 50.
Ravanel also trailed heading into the last stage, but surged into first place when leader and defending champ Anne Caro Chausson suffered a flat tire on Stage 5.
"It's the best race in the world, at Crankworx," France's Ravanel said after learning she'd taken the title. "At the beginning of the season, I said, 'If I can win one race, I want to win in Whistler.'"
Ravanel won the opening stage, but Chausson won the next three to lead by 14 seconds heading into the the final leg. However, the flat wound up putting Chausson more than five minutes behind.
Chausson fell back to third place, while U.K. rider Tracey Moseley finished second, making it the same women's top three as in 2013, only with Ravanel switching spots on the podium with countrywoman Chausson.
Whistler's Katrina Strand was the top Canadian finisher, placing 12th.
Full official results are posted at www.crankworx.com. Check Pique on Thursday, Aug. 14 for a full recap.
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