Jesse Melamed had been close to Enduro World Series glory in Whistler in recent years, but always had it wrested away at the last second.
For a moment, it looked like that script was going to play out again in 2017, but Melamed gutted out a sufficient time in the fifth and final stage to hold off Australian Sam Hill and secure his first-ever EWS victory in front of an adoring crowd on Sunday evening.
The 25-year-old got behind Hill early, as the Aussie built up an 18-second advantage right out of the gate. But Melamed won Stage 2 and got much of that time back, pulled to within half-a-second with another victory in Stage 3 before building up a 13-second cushion after winning Stage 4. Even with the wipeout, he edged Hill's time in the final stanza to win by 14.85 seconds.
"It was hard to keep focused all day, I was so nervous. I knew what I had to do, but it was hard to put it together," Melamed said. "I'm happy, and relieved."
Hill was Melamed's only real challenger the whole day as third-place finisher Mark Scott of the United Kingdom was over a minute off the pace. Melamed had plenty of praise for the rider who pushed him hard.
"Sam is an animal. Stage 3 is probably what I've ridden the most and yeah, it was blown out, but I charged that and he was only two seconds behind me. That guy's sick," he said.
Hill, the overall series leader, extended his lead on Adrien Dailly with the runner-up finish.
On the women's side, Cecile Ravanel captured the women's win for the second year in a row, winning all five stages to beat fellow French rider Isabeau Coudurier by 65 seconds.
"It's special to win here because it's the best event of the year for us, for enduro riders and I enjoy that, for sure," she said.
The win extends Ravanel's advantage in the overall standings over Katy Winton, who took third on Sunday.
For more, see Thursday's edition of Pique.