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Raphaela Richters just misses podium in finals

Raphaela Richter lands between podium and sandbox at Enduro World Cup number 3

In an interview, Raphaela Richter made her season goal quite clear: The podium in the Enduro World Cup. At the 3rd round of the EDR in Italy, she turned on the gas tap properly and took two stage wins. But a slipping front tire denied her the podium. Why she is happy with fourth place, she reveals in her first “racing is live” blog. Text: Raphaela Richter Images: Niklas Wallner
Raphaela Richter
Mission Podium. Raphaela Richter is Germany’s fastest Enduro rider and wants 2023 again on the podium of the Enduro World Cup.

Our Athletes Blogs

. In our magazine we not only show the most exciting bikes of the season. It’s also where some of the best athletes from around the world tell us about their lives on the track. While Lukas Baum and Georg Egger report in the “Glagow Goals” from their way to the Marathon and Cross Country World Championship, Raphaela Richter blogs from the Enduro World Cup. You can read Raphalela’s back story here in the interview. If you subscribe to the newsletter in the footer, you will not miss any of these reports.

Pizza, Pasta, Gelato

. For me, the trip to the 3rd World Cup in Pietra Ligure began 11 days before the race. All checklists checked off, the car loaded, I got in the car on Wednesday morning. Thankfully I was picked up in Frankfurt by our team photographer Niklas Wallner and then it was 8 hours of road trip. Arriving in the middle of the night, we only had some of the Ligurian sunshine from Thursday on – the next days we used directly with small rides as well as shuttle laps on Finale’s Classic Trails. Pizza, pasta and gelato came of course not too short!
Raphaela Richter
As the only woman enjoys the full professional support of the Ibis Racing Team. Teamcheff Robin Wallner (right) knows what it takes to race fast. He was for years himself on the race tracks of this world on the road.
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Raphaela Richter
Italian flair, even in the pits.
Raphaela Richter
Preparation is everything. No one survives a World Cup week without gels, bars, and powdered drinks.

Test racing to get into a groove

. Since I always struggle a bit with heat and humid temperatures, getting there early definitely paid off in terms of acclimatization. My stress pulse has calmed down a bit from about the third day and so nothing stood in the way of our planned “test race” on Sunday (6 days before the World Cup). We took the time simply with our Suunto pulse watches by hand. The goal was just to get mentally into the race mode. As stages we chose the upper part of the H-Trail, Ingenere top to bottom and Casa Bianca. Comparing the times with my teammate Cole I was very happy with the long downhill. This gave me a little confidence boost for the upcoming real race. As usual, the courses were announced on Sunday evening a week before the race – so race week is officially underway! [Enduro has evolved a lot in the last few years and now the overall times tend to be short and there is only one race day, meaning mistakes will have more severe consequences]. That’s why I decided to run the shorter stages 3-6 at the beginning of the week, in order to be able to ride at about race pace in the one training run per stage on Thursday. Especially since it has rattled almost daily in the evening in the mountains due to the muggy weather and temperatures between 30-35 degrees, I wanted to know how quickly the ground dries.

Training goes according to plan

On Thursday, training was on the agenda in bright sunshine. In the morning the two loamy and gravelly stages 5 and 6 at Monte Grosso, after a very leisurely lunch break we were shuttled, as in the race, to just over 1000hm. From there it was a bit wavy to Stage 1 in the direction of Monte Carmo, where we then still got a few raindrops. Basically, the two long stages were very good to ride on sight and there was actually only one line. So I was able to keep a good flow from top to bottom and increase my speed little by little. Out of the nasty thunderstorm clouds again, I headed for Stage 3 and 4, which were also good to drive on sight and had no line choice options. However, both were a bit tricky because the ground was extremely loose and you had to be prepared for what would be more like a garden dug up by wild pigs for the race run two days later. In the end we had about 1500 self pedaled vertical meters and about 45km on the clock. Since on Friday only the Open classes contested their race, we were allowed to enjoy another rest day. This was filled with a physio appointment, washing clothes, getting things ready for race day and eating and drinking a lot.
Raphaela Richter
Raphaela takes two stage best times in Pietra Ligure and was in the meantime even on the virtual podium.
Raphaela Richter
It was dusty, which was ultimately Raphaela’s undoing.
Raphaela Richter
“What, I won a stage?” At the lunch break, Raphaela was surprised by her own performance.

Virtual podium at lunch time

. After a bit of a restless night from Friday to Saturday, I had a pretty queasy stomach on race day as usual, but I was able to keep my food in. With a few breathing and mindfulness exercises, however, I was able to tame the nervousness quite successfully. Compared to the first two World Cups in Tasmania, I felt much more confident and knew I didn’t have to hide among the world elite anymore. No sooner said than done. I finished Stage 1 with a time of 9:29.210 in fourth place within striking distance of the reigning World Champion Isabeau Courdourier. Stage 2 was the longest with over 10 minutes: again 4th place but only about 2 seconds separated Gloria Scarsi on 2, Isabeau on 3 and me. Untouched leader was still Morgane Charre. But to be honest, I didn’t know all this at all during the race. I just find it fascinating to observe how close the women’s race has become. So it’s worth it to follow along! I continued with Stage 3 and 4, both very short, intense and tough, but I made it down well except for a small mistake on Stage 4. In fact, as I learned afterwards, I was even able to celebrate my first stage win since 2019 on Stage 3 and collect a 5th place on Stage 4. Off to the 20 minute lunch break, where I could eat something other than bars and gels for once and my mechanic Anton could check the bike. I also learned that I was currently in 3rd place. I was happy for a short time, but quickly came to the conclusion that it is still too early for that. As I did all day, I just focused on the moment and the next step. And that was to go as fast as possible again after the lunch break.
Raphaela Richter
There lie the dreams of the podium in dust from Stage 5.

Sandbox instead of podium

. For the most part, I succeeded very well. But just for the most part. On Stage 5, I drove a bit sluggishly into a dusty chicane, then went too acutely into the corner and slid off with the front wheel. And then I lay there and could play with the Italian sand. No matter, get up, continue and find focus again for the last stage. This went perfectly again and boom – best time on Stage 6! Well, but the mistake on the penultimate stage was unfortunately too much to fight for the day’s podium. In the World Cup it’s a tight race. With 10 seconds behind the podium I ended up on rank 4. For a short time I could smell the podium, but it wasn’t meant to be. But all in all I am very happy to have finally reached my potential on the big stage and to have kept my nerves together. The next chance is already knocking on the door on June 15 in Leogang and I’m up for it!

The fastest bikes from the World Cup in Pietra Ligure

. On bike-test.com is actually the full focus on the material. Therefore, we always present you the fastest bikes from the competitions to our blog series. So you can not only dream of the equipment, but also compare the geometry of the bikes one to one. One thing is clear: the pro bikes differ minimally from the equipment. Jesse Mellamed won in the men on a Canyon Strive, Morgane Charre was the fastest woman with her Pivot. If you’re seriously considering getting a new enduro, here’s a complete buying guide with the best 2023 models. Sign up here for our newsletter and never miss another blog in our racing is live series.

About the author

Ludwig

... has spent more than 100,000 kilometers in the saddle of over 1000 different mountain bikes. The essence of many hours on the trail: Mountain bikes are awesome when they match your personal preferences! With this realization, he founded bike-test.com to assist cyclists in finding their very own dream bike.

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