A rainbow jersey is the landmark achievement in the career of any racing cyclist and that applies to the #EnduraCustom team in Scotland too. They’ve been honoured to handcraft no fewer than three this year for our outstanding tribe of athletes this year.
After a frustrating World Cup campaign, Kade Edwards came into the Worlds with a point to prove and quickly set about his business in Friday’s qualification where he clocked the fastest time. With the benefit of starting last, Kade pulled out a brilliant performance on Sunday to take the win by 4.4 seconds to add a rainbow jersey to the tie-dye one we created for him for Generation K.
Bouncing back from 2017’s injury hit season, Rachel Atherton has shown all year that she is once again the dominant force in women’s downhil. A record breaking World Cup season saw Rachel come into Lenzerheide as a firm favourite and posting the quickest time in qualification reflected her unbelievably good form.
Starting last, Rachel was on it from the very first pedal stroke, carrying vast amounts of speed through each section and lighting up each time split in green. Three seconds up by split one and another three added by split two. When split three was passed with an advantage of nearly nine second, it was clear that she was on a sensational run. In full attack mode, Rachel took on the huge drop into the arena to win by very nearly 10 seconds, a vast margin at World level.
Onto the road Worlds in Austria - Movistar Team’s Alejandro Valverde has been in the thick of the action in so many World Championships throughout his long and storied career, claiming two silvers and four bronzes on the way. After going close so many times, it was great to see the fierce competitor claim his first rainbow jersey in Innsbruck-Tirol.
Valverde’s decisive move came after nearly 250km of racing on the slopes of Höttinger Höll, the brutal final climb which features truly hellish gradients of up to 28% over its 2.3km length. Launching a long sprint, Valverde notched up his 122nd professional victory and arguably the biggest win in a phenomenal career.
From mass participant event played out in front of huge crowds, we move to a relatively low key one, but with equal significance. The Adventure Syndicate’s Jenny Graham set out from Berlin in June with the aim of breaking the female round-the-world record.
Over 124 days, Jenny smashed out over 18,000 km of riding through 16 countries, riding through the night to avoid crazy Siberian truckers, sneaking past Canadaian bears and finally back to Berlin for a celebration of a once in a lifetime achievement. In a year where Endura celebrated the endeavours of our female athlete, Jenny provided the ultimate cherry on the cake for our #AlltribesAllWomen campaign.
The UCI Hour record is the blue ribband event in cycling, which has seen a resurgence since the UCI amended their rules a few years ago. In October 2017, Vittoria Bussi, a doctor of pure mathematics, and a former member of the Servetto Footon UCI squad, came tantalisingly close to bettering the mark of 47.980km established in 2016 by Evelyn Stevens.
After abandoning her first 2018 attempt, due to poor atmospheric conditions, a two day track and timekeeper booking saw the Italian echo of Graeme Obree’s famous 1993 record by returned the following day for second attempt. Bussi showed her mettle by breaking through the 48km barrier to set a new Women’s UCI Hour Record of 48.007m – the third UCI Hour Record taken by an Endura Drag2Zero Speedsuit.
An outstanding performance full of grit and character earned Lucy Charles a second place finish in the fastest ever IRONMAN World Championships.
Racing in an #EnduraCustom QDC DZ2 race suit, Lucy opened by breaking Kona’s swim record in 48:13, leaving her rivals trailing in her wake – all were more than three minutes behind as they exited the water, with chief rival and defending champion Daniela Ryf (Switzerland) a staggering nine minutes back. Lucy pressed on during the bike leg, initially opening up a bigger gap, before being pegged back slowly after the turnaround. In a similar pattern to 2017, Ryf carved into Charles’s lead in the closing miles and overhauled her on the run into T2, but once again Lucy refused to be beaten and hit T2 just 1:40 in arrears.
With Ryf working hard on the opening half of the run, Lucy had dropped to six minutes back by the halfway point in the marathon but again called on her remarkable reserves of mental and physical strength to come home in 8:36:32 – a time 10 minutes faster than the pre-2018 record
It’s difficult to put Tim Don’s remarkable comeback into words. If you don’t know the story, check out The Man with the Halo, but The Comeback Kid arrived in Kona having fully recovered from his 2017 horror injury that saw him break his neck whilst training in Hawai’i for last year’s World Championships. Having battled through months in a HALO device and then pushing hard through recovery, the Boulder based Londoner has amazed us with his fortitude over the past 12 months - to not only race again, but qualify for Kona again and then go on to finish in 26th in 8:45:17.