It looks like Laia Sanz is officially the Women’s Enduro X golden girl…
Despite tangling with other riders right out of the gate, the 27-year-old Spanish rider managed to make up for lost ground in Sunday’s Women’s Enduro X to claim her third gold medal of the year.
By the second lap, Sanz had passed everyone but Tarah Gieger. A slip-up in the rocks in Lap 4 tossed Gieger off her bike, leaving Sanz and Maria Forsberg to battle it out up front.
“I had a really bad start,” said Sanz. “Tarah was jumping a lot and I’m not good at jumping. At the end, I didn’t make mistakes today and I feel super pumped for that because in Munich it was a disaster. The race was good and the bike was much better than it was in Munich.”
Racing out front is more familiar territory for Sanz than chasing down the pack, and by the time she crossed the checkered flag she’d extended her lead, beating silver medalist Forsberg by 37.189 seconds — an enormous interval in a six-lap race — and bronze medalist Gieger by nearly a minute.
Forsberg dominated Women’s Enduro X in its first two years at X Games but she’s had her hands full since Sanz, the 2012 FIM Enduro World Champion and a 12-time FIM Trials World Champion, arrived on the scene. The two riders have held the top two spots at every global X Games event in 2013, with Sanz on top in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and Barcelona, and now Los Angeles, and Forsberg with the win in Munich.
“It’s funny that everyone calls it a rivalry because we’re friends,” says Forsberg. “We haven’t really gone back and forth because I’ve beat her once and she’s beat me three or four times. It’s been an honor riding with her and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from her. We both obviously want to win in the end, but she rode an awesome race and it’s well deserved.”