American Luke Vrouwenvelder won the elite men’s title at the USA Cycling Marathon MTB National Championships, and Josh Carlson defended his title at the E-Enduro National Championship race in Australia.
In another dominating performance for the team at the U.S. Marathon MTB Nationals, Vrouwenvelder and Stephan Davoust took the top two spots in the men’s race, finishing first and second respectively at the 39.2-mile race in Frederick, Maryland.
Vrouwenvelder won with a flawless performance on his Anthem Advanced Pro 29, a bike that was perfectly suited to the technical XC track at Gambrill State Park in Maryland. The North Carolina native, feeling right at home on the East Coast terrain, took the lead early and held off the competition throughout the race.
The 27-year-old posted a finishing time of 3:20:05, about three minutes ahead of Davoust and more than six minutes faster than bronze medalist Carson Beckett.
“My strategy was simple,” said Vrouwenvelder, who wore the Giant Rev Pro helmet and Charge Pro shoes. “I pushed the pace early and didn’t look back. I rode my own pace and let my Anthem Advanced Pro 29, take care of the East Coast rocks and roots.”
The team’s dominant showing ended up being a role reversal of last year’s race, when Davoust won the title and Vrouwenvelder took silver at the same venue.
“Winning a national championship is a killer end to the season,” said Vrouwenvelder. “I’m happy to bookend a great season and share the podium with Stephan one last time this year.”
THREE-PEAT FOR CARLSON
The team’s lone E-bike specialist Josh Carlson came into the Australian E-Enduro Championship as the two-time defending champion. Heavy rain hit the venue in Victoria during the men’s race, and Carlson was able to conquer the wet, slippery conditions on his Reign E+ race bike.
“It was a savage day,” Carlson said after taking the title for the third straight year. “Our E-bike race got caught out with super wet weather, which made for tough race conditions. The stages had a good mix of pedaling, rowdy sections and tight turns.”
The Reign E+ features a flip chip that allows riders to adjust frame geometry to dial in the bike’s performance for the terrain. Carlson chose the “high” position, which gives it a steeper head and seat tube angle for quick handling and a more aggressive climbing position.
“It was a long day out on the battery, so I took advantage of our brand new 800Wh EnergyPak system to navigate through the day’s eight stages,” said the Australian, who wore his Giant Line shoes to take the win. “To finish the 2022 season eighth overall in the EWS-E ranking and defend my E-Enduro Australian championship leaves me feeling stoked.”