Alex Rudeau and Alizée Lassus French Enduro Champions

The French Enduro Championships took place last weekend in Accous, in the Western Pyrenees. Even if the weather did turn out to be milder than expected, the rocky and rooty sections of trail were still very slick on Saturday. A race as technical as it was physical, there was a lot of elevation gain to be had, with some long and varied stages. For the newly formed COMMENCAL Enduro Project, this first race of the season was an important milestone… Were they ready? Ready to overcome the unexpected, and the difficulties of racing?

It’s important to remember that the primary objective of this team project remains the development of new COMMENCAL enduro bikes, the design of a bike for competing, whilst in the race field. But above all, our riders are competitors with great ambitions. Beyond the performance aspect, this race also allowed the team to refine their organisation and perfect preparations before the start of the Enduro World Series.

Alex Rudeau, who pushed the project from the start and invested heavily in its development this winter, is now 100% focused on racing. Winning his first French Championship double in this discipline was a major goal of his, and it was important to him to wear the Tricolour sleeve during the coming EWS season. Alex provided us with a great demonstration of technique and power this weekend by winning 5 stages out of the 7! He had some very encouraging words afterwards.

“The META works wonderfully! It's forgiving, lively and fast. The team has come together and the mechanics are great. I’m very happy with this project which is really on the up.”

Guillaume Larbeyou was back racing close to his childhood home. Like everyone else, he was keen to do well, and the pressure was mounting. On Saturday, he achieved a first stage time close to Alex's, but also rider errors that cost him time and damaged his bike. His real challenge was to be precise with the rhythm, the lines and to pace himself well. After that difficult first day, he was able to concentrate on Sunday and approach it in a more methodical fashion. This mental strength was rewarded with a bronze medal!

Two young riders from the COMMENCAL Les Orres Team, Alizés Lassus and Jack Piercy, were also representing at these French Championships. They won in both the Junior Women and Junior Men’s categories! Like Alex, Alizés leaves with the Tricolour sleeve. With Jack being British, this race was more of a practice race for the season ahead, and he is perfectly placed!

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Louis Jeandel, a force of nature and the team's youngest rider, had a troubled winter prep season which was plagued by several injuries, and he was not up to ‘full speed’ coming into this race. He placed 3rd after the first day but Sunday was more difficult with the particularly technical stage 6 and the pain preventing him from competing at his full potential. Battling until the end, he didn’t give up and took 10th place in the overall standings.

Mathieu Ruffray, an e-biker, adventurer, and content producer who has just returned from a trip to South America with Kilian Bron. It's a tough call to do everything but his goal is to race well this season. Having missed most of winter testing, the aim of this event was to work on settings and integrate with the team. Unfortunately, he was forced to pull out quickly after a mechanical. We’re confident he’ll know how to use his experience and reverse the trend going forward.

For the COMMENCAL Enduro Project as a whole, this was a first conclusive test in a real race environment. This event will be remembered and will be a new starting point for more work and development!

Photos : Mathieu Ruffray / Paul Humbert