WTB/Cannondale Riders Cruz, Clementz, and Moeschler Dominate in Emerging South American and Asian Mountain Bike Race Scenes

26 November, 2012

It’s the season for giving thanks in the US, and what WTB is thankful for is having a small army of bike racers ready to deploy anywhere in the world for a podium result.

Team WTB’s Ben Cruz led the charge last weekend at the Montenbaik Kona Enduro in Southern Chile, finishing in first place with a time of 3:05:53, three seconds ahead of Cannondale/WTB teammate and reigning French enduro crusher, Jerome Clementz (3:06:30). Following in third and fourth were local heroes Nicolás Prudencio (3:01:21) and Pedro Ferreira Landskron (3:12:52). Fifth was claimed by Claus Plaut Guzman (2:59:11).

Cruz couldn’t have asked for better courses, conditions or people, explaining, “Everyone was rad, and the race really suited me with high speed open descents littered with loose rocks and natural hits—the perfect balance of physical and technical in every stage.”

Clementz agreed, adding that the time between stages was really short so they had to push hard for the full 34km of the race. “It was great to discover the enduro scene in Chile,” Clementz said, explaining that taking the ferry to go to the race, racing with the sea in the background and seeing how enduro is growing in South America was a good experience.

Half way around the world, Jason Moeschler was on a 14-hour flight to Taiwan for Taichung Bike Week (TBW). In addition to racing as part of WTB’s factory team, along with Cruz and Mark Weir, Moeschler is also the company’s global OEM sales manager, making regular trips to Taiwan for business and trade shows.

However, in addition to attending TBW, Moeschler also planned to compete for the second year in the Merida Cup—a tough XC on any day, but especially tough after a four-day trade show. Never the less, Moeschler awoke the morning of the race to pouring rain and ready to do battle in the mud.

“The race was exciting—very tricky conditions and lots of changes in position,” Moeschler explained. He placed second finishing in 46:15.8, in between two talented French XC riders, Maxime Marotte (44:40.2) who is currently 5th in the World Cup Series, and Freddy Betremieux (47:38.9), both racing for BH/Suntour.

With mud in his eyes, Moeschler had no idea that he had passed Betremieux, who flatted, somewhere on the last lap. Sharp rocks buried in the mud like landmines led to tire casualties all over the course. There were plenty of other heavy hitters in the field, who suffered similar difficulties either with the conditions or their equipment.
Not the case for Moeschler, who finished flat free on WTB Nano 2.1 29” TCS tires.

Topping off the day, Moeschler picked up an extra award for WTB with a sixth place in the Merida Cup industry competition reserved for bike industry professionals in the race.

“Thanks to the race organizers of the Merida Cup for another great race,” Moeschler said, explaining how cool it was for them to acknowledge those of us who work in companies that ride. “I couldn’t believe the support from the local crowds even in weather like this,” he added. “It’s a great experience that I keep coming back for.”

Bike Set Ups:

Ben Cruz
Wheels: Stryker All Mountains,
Tires: Prototype 2.3 AM TCS front and Wolverine 2.2 AM TCS rear
Saddle: Custom Volt SLT
Grips: Tech Trail Clamp-On

Jerome Clementz
Tires: Prototype 2.3 AM TCS front and Weirwolf 2.3 AM TCS rear with a
Saddle: Custom Volt SLT
Grips: Moto-X Clamp-On

Jason Moeschler
Rims: Frequency Team i23 29”
Tires: Nano 2.1 29” TCS
Saddle: Volt SLT
Grips: Tech Trail Clamp-On

*Photos credit for South American images: Juan Luis De Heeckeeren
*Photo credit for Asia images: WTB Asia

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