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Melamed guts out seventh-place finish

Whistler rider now 13th in EWS standings after French race

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Jesse Melamed's seventh-place finish in Enduro World Series (EWS) action in France was, as the kids might say, sick.

So was he.

Despite his best efforts to get better before the fifth leg of the eight-stop tour, Melamed never quite got right, but still managed to take a top-10 showing in Millau, placing about 40 seconds behind winner Adrien Dailly and only about 14 seconds off the podium.

"I showed up and got sick from the travel over there and spent those first three days in bed trying to get over that. I didn't, so pretty much my only focus was getting better," he said. "I wasn't really thinking about anything else but eating the right things and trying to kick the cold.

"Practice was just trying to get the run done and get back to resting, and then the race was full-on survival mode and just trying to get through."

Admittedly, Melamed had lowered his expectations going into the race with the illness, but after pulling off the results he did, finishing lower than 13th in only one of the nine stages with his two best stage results on Day 2, he couldn't help but wonder what could have happened had he been healthy.

"I had no energy and I didn't think I'd be in contention, but it speaks to my fitness and where my skills are at to be able to show up for the stages, compose myself and put down good runs in pretty much every stage," he said. "I'm pretty happy with the result, but it's a little frustrating to know that I put so much into the racing and you show up and get sick and have to take what you get."

Melamed acknowledged there were some silver linings to the ailment, as it took all of his attention.

"I wasn't stressed about anything else. I was stressing about doing badly, but nothing else affected me. I just went about my business trying to finish," he said. "What I was thinking about was just getting through, so nothing else affected me."

While the EWS won't resume until July 29 and 30 in Colorado, Melamed will keep busy this week riding closer to home. He'll line up for the BC Bike Race, which begins in Cumberland on July 7 and wraps here in Whistler on July 13. (See related story on Page 36.)

"The BC Bike Race is something I've always wanted to do and I got the invite this year. I couldn't say no and I can't wait," he said. "I hope I can regain some energy because it's going to be a big week of riding."

Though he comes from a cross-country background, Melamed said with his recent heavy focus on enduro, he doesn't anticipate hitting the podium. That said, he'll ride his hardest and see what happens.

"I'm not crazy in thinking that I can do super well, but I just want to have a good time. I'm going to be racing my hardest so we'll see what happens and I'm just looking forward to all the good singletrack and the good times," he said.

Melamed is also eager to see some parts of the province that he's never ridden, noting much of Squamish will be unfamiliar ground, let alone the Sunshine Coast.

"Whistler is pretty much the only one that I'll know," Melamed said. "I'm doing this for the experience and it'll be a whole bunch of new riding for me, so I think that's going to be great."

ILES WINS IN ANDORRADownhill rider Finn Iles continues to burn up the competition.

The 17-year-old celebrated Canada Day with a dominant win in UCI World Cup DH action in Vallnord, Andorra on July 1.

Iles bested Great Britain's Matt Walker by nearly five seconds and got Kade Edwards, also of Great Britain, by roughly nine seconds.

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