Hattie Harnden takes 2nd in Poland in a razor-tight battle

Just .236 seconds separated Hattie from a second straight World Cup win

Hattie Harnden kicked off the Enduro World Cup with a win, and she very nearly had another Friday, taking second in Bielkso-Biala, Poland, by just .236 seconds behind 2023 overall winner Isabeau Courdurier.

As in Finale Ligure, Harnden won two stages. She was in the overall lead by 2.251 seconds over Courdurier heading into the fifth and final stage, and was only just pipped by the Frenchwoman on one of the most intense and high-speed tracks of the day.

“The race went really well. I started the day pretty good, and then on Stage 2 had a big crash at the top,” Harnden said. “We got loads of rain, so the women that went off earlier in the day had a dry track and we had a wet track, which mixed up the results a lot.”

Hattie on the move in Poland.

The margin between first and second place would have been tight in a Downhill World Cup race. It is downright miniscule in enduro, which features roughly 10 times the amount of timed racing. 

Courdurier took second in Finale, and she and Harnden are now neck-and-neck on the overall World Cup standings, with Courdurier in the lead by just two points. Harnden is in second-place with a 210-point lead over third-place Ella Connolly.

“It was so cool to battle with Isabeau,” Harnden said. “It was so close all the way to the end of the day.”

Hattie's second straight Champagne shower.

Hattie and TFR Enduro staff Sammy Whitters (left) and Andy Lund (right).

Poland featured 36.5 kilometers of racing, and may be the (relatively) flattest and most pedal-y venue that Harnden and company take on this season. Harnden, not far removed from her days as a cross country and cyclocross racer, was up for the challenge, and opted to forego her trusty Slash for the shorter-travel Fuel EX. The bike performed admirably on a day when rain came in and out.

“The bike was amazing. [TFR Enduro support manager] Andy [Lund] and I were super happy with our choice,” Harnden said. “Andy did an amazing job building it up late Wednesday night before practice on Thursday. The team had everything dialed so it was a great day, and a great week.”

Harnden’s new teammate Emily Carrick-Anderson finished fourth overall in the Women’s Under-21 category, taking top five in four of the day’s five stages. The result should give her a big shot of confidence after she was forced to bow out early in Finale.

Emily bounced back from a tough World Cup opener, finishing fourth in Poland.

Harnden and Carrick-Anderson will have a chance to rest up after racing back-to-back World Cup rounds. In three weeks they’ll take on a very different challenge in Leogang, which mixes speedy bike park flow with rough rocks and roots. 

If the racing thus far is any indication, we’re in for another treat. The level is as high as ever in the women’s field, and Harnden and Carrick-Anderson are right in the thick of what’s shaping up to be a memorable battle.