The Giant Factory Off-Road Team had a banner weekend at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, scoring multiple podium finishes in various disciplines. Frenchman Youn Deniaud led the way, winning the pro enduro race and finishing third in the downhill.
Competiting at the largest cycling festival in the U.S., Deniaud fought a tight battle with eventual second-place finisher Cody Kelley. Deniaud was down by 2 seconds heading into the final stage before he charged ahead to take the win—a reversal of last year when Deniaud finished second behind Kelley.
“This is my third time racing at Sea Otter and this year I chose to race only the enduro and downhill,” said Deniaud, who contested both races aboard his Reign Advanced Pro. “It was a great Sea Otter for the whole team and I was stoked to share the podium with my teammate."
That teammate was McKay Vezina, who snagged third in the enduro and sixth in DH. The Canadian made a different bike choice but the final results were nearly as impressive. “I decided to race my Trance Advanced Pro 29 for both events because of pedaling efficiency and snappy light feel,” he explained. “Overall the bike was great, the team was great, and I can’t wait for another Sea Otter Classic.”
Meanwhile, Luke Meier-Smith earned the squad’s perseverance award, overcoming a pair of crashes in his opening event to take third in dual slalom and eighth in downhill. “I made it hard for myself in the dual slalom by starting the race with a crash in my first run, followed by a major crash in the semifinals,” said the young Aussie. “My knee was instantly swollen and I wasn’t sure I’d continue, but I rallied. Not what I was hoping for, but all things considered I had a great time.”
In endurance XC racing, Giant-sponsored privateers Cole Patton and Australia XCM champion Brendan Johnston added further booty to the Sea Otter haul with top-10 finishes in the Fuego XL, the opening event of the prestigious Lifetime Grand Prix off-road race series. Patton finished fourth to land the podium, and Johnston was an impressive eighth.
“With Sea Otter being the first stop in the series we had a super stacked field that took off full gas from the start,” said Patton, whose equipment choices included the XtC Advanced SL 29 and Rev Pro helmet. “We quickly established a select group on the first descent, and the pace just never eased up, covering 70 miles in just over 4 hours. I’m really proud of my fourth-place performance and stoked to now sit third in the Lifetime Grand Prix Series. The XtC was an absolute rocket on the hilly, fast trails. It’s insanely light for the climbs and super stiff and nimble to pump over all the high-speed water bars.”
Johnston, who rode the Anthem Advanced Pro 29 and wore a Rev Pro helmet in the 100km race, is now fifth in the overall series after his solid Sea Otter result.